Arminian Today

A Jesus-Centered Arminian Blog

Intercession and Physical Healing

In Mark 7:31-37 we read the following:

31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32 And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33 And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. 34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

In this text I wish you to show you three truths about prayer and physical healing.  I believe we can pray for the sick to be healed.  This is not a debate over whether healing is the in atonement as a guarantee (which all true Christians believe it is if you believe in heaven (1 Corinthians 15:49-57).  I know that God is sovereign in healing and that He has not always healed the way that we might want Him to heal.  I had a friend once who was diagnosed with cancer on his spine.  We prayed and he prayed earnestly for healing.  He truly wanted to be healed for the glory of God and he was earnest in his prayers for his atheist doctor to see the power of God manifested in his life.  He would preach on healing, write about healing, and pray healing passages but in the end, he died.  I don’t have answers other than to say that God did heal Jonathan but not as we thought.

Isaiah 55:8 reads, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.”  God’s ways are always holy and just.  We can rest in that but we don’t always know why He doesn’t act the way that we want Him to act.  He is God.  We are but flesh.  We need to trust Him even when we don’t understand (Hebrews 11:1).  That is true faith, trusting God when hope seems to fail (Romans 4:18-21).

However, this should not deter us from praying for the sick to be healed and truly believing that God can and does heal.  The ultimate healing is salvation.  Salvation is complete deliverance.  A.W. Pink writes that salvation is four-fold.  It is the deliverance from the penalty, power, presence, and pleasure of sin.  If this is true, the power of sickness will be broken by the power of God whether here or in eternity.  God will deliver His people just as He did for the Israelites from the hand of the Egyptians and even from their diseases (Exodus 15:26).

In Mark 7:31-37 we read of three main points about praying for someone else to be healed.  That is:

1.  The Man’s Impediment (v.32)

2.  The People’s Intercession (v.32)

3.  The Lord’s Involvement (vv.33-37)

Let us look at each point briefly.

1.  The Man’s Impediment.

It is easy to see this man’s impediment.  According to Mark 7:32 this man was deaf and had a speech impediment.  His condition was something that these people could not help him with.  The doctors of his day would have nothing for him.  This man needed a touch from Jesus.  That was his only hope.  Many in our day are the same.  This world can only do so much and often very little for us.  We need Jesus.  We need His touch.

2.  The People’s Intercession.

The people beg Jesus to lay His hand on this sick man.  The word beg here is the same Greek word found in Romans 8:26 where we read of the Holy Spirit interceding for us.  The word intercession is found here.  The people are interceding for this man.

This is the heart of my post.  We are the intercessors often for others.  We have the honor to come before the Lord and beseech Him for others.  What an honor!  We know the promise of Hebrews 4:14-16 which reads:

14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

We can come boldly into God’s presence because of Christ and we can intercede for others.  While others may be in their impediment, we can intercede for them.  We have the honor of coming into the Lord’s presence and asking Him to touch them.  This is just what the people did.  And the Lord heard their cries and He answered them.

1 Timothy 2:1-2 tells us to pray for everyone, to intercede for all and in context to pray for their salvation.  Daniel 9 is a picture of intercession as we find Daniel praying for his own people and asking God to forgive their sins.  John 17 is another picture of the intercession from the lips of our Lord.  Praise God for Hebrews 7:25 that Jesus intercedes for us!  What an honor for us to be able to join in with Jesus and pray for others.  How sad that we often waste too much time on ourselves instead of seeking God for others.  These people in Mark 7:32 were interceding for this poor man.

3.  The Lord’s Involvement.

After the people cried out to Jesus for Him to touch this deaf man, Jesus heard their cries and He came to the man.  We have a God who is not far from us.  He hears our cries.  Just as He heard the cries of the Israelites in Exodus 2:24-25, so Jesus heard these.  Jesus taught His disciples in John 14:12-14 that they would do greater works than He because they would be able to pray.  Prayer opens the heavens and brings the glory of God.  The purpose of God even answering our cries is because He loves us but also because He wants to exalt His name.

Jesus came to hear the cries of the people and He came to heal this man but He did so because of verse 37.  This miracle (and all miracles and all answers to prayer) were for the glory of God.  The miracles of Jesus pointed to His being the true Messiah.  In Matthew 8:14-17 we read of Jesus healing Peter’s mother-in-law and many others.  Matthew records in verse 17 that this was to fulfill Isaiah 53:4.  Miracles pointed to the authority of Jesus and demonstrated that God was with Him (John 3:2) and were given to exalt the Messiah (John 2:11).

The Lord hears our cries and He answers our prayers because of His glory.  Jesus said that our faith in Him can move mountains (Mark 11:22-24).  It is not faith in faith that can move the hand and heart of God but faith in His power, faith in His person.  1 John 5:14-15 tells us how we are to pray:

14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

An amazing promise!  We must pray however according to the will of God.  What is the will of God?  We find God’s will firmly in the Scriptures.  For example, we can pray 1 Thessalonians 4:3 for both ourselves and others.  We can pray 1 Timothy 2:4 for the lost.  We can pray for healing based on James 5:16.  We can pray for discernment according to Proverbs 2:3.  There are so many promises that God has given us in His Word.  As we meditate upon His Word (Psalm 1:2), the Lord will use His Word to teach us to pray.  Yet when the Lord hears our cries, it is because of His passion for His glory.  The glory of the Lord will reign supreme in eternity (Revelation 4:11).

Prayer is focused on the glory of God.  This is true of all true praying.  True praying earnestly wants to exalt the Lord God.  True praying is not focused on the flesh.  True praying is always focused on the will of the Spirit.  Further, even praying for the healing of the sick must focus not upon us, the intercessors, or the sick but the glory of God.  We want to see God heal not because we want to see a miracle but we want to see Him exalted.  We are passionate about what God is passionate about: His glory!

Conclusion

I do believe we should be like these people here in Mark 7:32 and bring the sick to the Lord but our focus must be on verse 37 and the glory of God.  God answers prayer not merely because He is good and loving but also because He wants to glorify His name.  As God answers our prayers, He does so for His honor and fame.  This healing, and all healings, focuses on the glory of God (John 9:1-3).  God desires to hear our cries and He will answer our prayers but His fame is what He is about.  We too must pray for this.  Intercessory prayer brings glory to God because God moves through us and in us to exalt His Son.

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Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/16/2013 at 10:17 AM

2 Responses

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  1. Good word. Thank you for your posts, they are much appreciated.

    markblock

    06/16/2013 at 6:20 PM


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