Thursday, January 30, 2014

"Discipling the Sick"

Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic 
Lesson 5: "Discipling the Sick"

"Discipling the sick" is a wonderful lesson of humbleness in reaching out to those who are hurting and suffering. It is also a great "lesson on faith."
When we read God's Word and the Gospel, we see the miraculous healing touch of Jesus in the New Testament; and in the Old Testament there is the miraculous healing power through His instrument of servants who love His Word. It's amazing that people were healed by just the power of His Word.
I want to share with you my favorite story (or you can say, Mary's favorite gospel of faith), about His spoken Word alone in Matthew 8:5-13. We read about the centurion's faith as he approached Jesus about his dearest servant "lying paralyzed, in terrible agony!" The centurion poured out his faith saying, "I am not worthy to have You come under my roof. But only say the Word, and my servant will be healed."
Do you see this amazing testimony of the centurion? Not many would come up to Jesus and expect healing automatically with just His spoken Word. Oh, just be there with the centurion who gave his heart of faith to Him to have his servant healed. He was not able to bring the sick servant to the Lord, but was able to approach the Lord and present his case that he is an officer of the Roman army who commanded soldiers under him, and was willing to just listen to the Lord's command with His Word alone. Let's read verse 13 of Matthew 8: Then Jesus told the centurion, "Go. As you have believed, let it be done for you." And his servant was healed that very moment.
This story illustrates one of the great truths of the 1888 message, righteousness by faith. On the first page of the Review of October 18, 1898, Ellen G. White wrote: "The knowledge of what the Scripture means when urging upon us the necessity of cultivating faith, is more essential than any other knowledge that can be acquired."
A. T. Jones then wrote in the Review of November 29: "And for this cause we shall hereafter, in this place in each number of the Reviewgive a Scripture lesson on faith,--what it is, how it comes, how to exercise it,--that every reader of this paper may have this knowledge that 'is more essential than any other knowledge that can be acquired.'"
Jones, in this first "lesson on faith," wrote, "the definition will not be touched now, but, rather, there will be cited and studied an illustration of faith,--an instance which makes it stand out so plainly that all can see the very thing itself."
The "instance" was the story of the centurion. Jones continues: "One day a centurion came to Jesus, and said to him: 'Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof, butspeak the word only, and my servant shall be healed ... When Jesus heard it, he marveled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel'" (Matt. 8:6-10).
"There is what Jesus pronounces faith. When we find what that is, we have found faith. To know what that is, is to know what faith is. There can be no sort of doubt about this; for Christ is 'the Author ... of faith,' and He says that that which the centurion manifested was 'faith'--yes, even 'great faith.'
"Where, then, in this is the faith? The centurion wanted a certain thing done. He wanted the Lord to do it. But when the Lord said, 'I will come' and do it, the centurion checked Him, saying, 'Speak the word only,' and it shall be done.
"Now, what did the centurion expect would do the work? 'The word ONLY.' Upon what did he depend for the healing of his servant?--Upon 'the word ONLY.'
"And the Lord Jesus says that that is faith" (Lessons on Faith, pp. 15, 16).
This Gentile military officer believed that Jesus could just say the word and his mortally sick servant would be healed. Jesus "marveled, ... and said ... I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel." Now what was that faith? The belief that Jesus had the power to heal by simply saying a word? If you say yes, then you get yourself into trouble for the devils also believe that Jesus can heal by just saying a word. Such confidence comes short of a true definition of faith, if the devils also have it! The Bible says that "the devils believe also, and tremble" (James 2:19).
But as we read the story in its context, we begin to see that the Roman soldier's faith was more than that. He had begun to understand his sinfulness in the light of Christ's righteousness, for he said two things--"I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof" and "neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee." Now, the devils have no such feelings of humility and grace! The centurion's faith was not a mere mental trust, but a heart-appreciation. The 1888 message helps us to see this. An unusual love had filled this Roman soldier's heart for he was concerned for his servant, and not for himself. The faith he had already had transformed him and delivered him from selfishness. And that is not the experience of the devils!
And so this story does help us understand the essential ingredient of all true miracle healing: faith is a heart-appreciation for the sacrifice of Christ. And as soon as I say that, I realize anew how weak and childish my little faith is, how much I need to grow. Do you realize it too?
Never in my nursing career have I heard our cardiologist say to his patient, "go and be heart attack free or chest pain free, and eat no more greasy fast foods." The patient, still enjoying his regular routines of life, would look at the doctor and say, "What, aren't you going to give me any medicine?"
My friends, we need the very Lord and Saviour as our centurion friend; even the faith of the mustard seed brings healing. Embrace yourself with His grace and mercy in surviving the world you live in. Sing the hymn, "Take The World, But Give Me Jesus," reflecting on the words:
"Take the world, but give me Jesus; all its joys are but a name, but His love abideth ever, through eternal years the same. Oh, the height and depth of mercy! Oh, the length and breadth of love! Oh, the fullness of redemption, pledge of endless life above."
May you be blessed with the treasures of healing through His matchless Word and the hidden treasures of the Gospel of life and hope, with His amazing love. Go and bring this healing joy to others.
--Mary Chun

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