healing, heaven

The Sigh of Jesus

Mike and I are reading the One Year Bible. Once in awhile the boys get a whiff of it when they happen to eat their cereal during our reading time. I’ve always been afraid to force my kids to read the Bible, so I don’t. I’ve always hoped they would do it on their own because they want to do so.

After I bought one of these Bibles, Lauren (age 19) decided she wanted one. So of course, I bought it the next day! It has been fun sharing our thoughts about the daily readings- truly a blessing I didn’t expect. If you would’ve told me two years ago this sweet communion would be happening, I would’ve kissed your feet for that prophecy. She didn’t even want to listen to Christian music at that time.

It’s always fun when a scripture or particular word jumps out at us. This week the word was “sigh.”

Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. There some people brought to Him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Him to place His hands on the man. After they took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put His fingers in the man’s ears. Then He spit and touched the man’s tongue. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, ‘Ephphatha!’ (which means ‘Be opened!’) At this the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly” (Mark 7:31-35).

I looked up the original word translated as deep sigh. It doesn’t mean that Jesus was tired, out of breath, or frustrated. The word is Stanazo (Sten-ad’-zo). The Vine words (Vine is a dictionary that gives expanded definitions of the original words) associated with this type of sigh are: grief and groan.

What caused this groan? Did Jesus grieve the pain of the people he healed? Did all of the suffering of the people around him begging His touch cause deep emotions of sorrow within our Savior?

I’ve been struggling lately with the concept of healing. Some faith movements are adamant that we have the gift and authority to heal people through Jesus right here and now. I know people have received healing on this side of heaven though I’ve not personally been apart of something like that. I’ve not seen a deaf man’s hearing restored and tongue loosed in front of my eyes. I don’t discount the chance, but it is rare these days in our part of the world. Disease and death are continually affecting the people around me.

The lack of healing indicates two things to me:

1. Either we are missing the boat in faith and prayer or…

2. The scriptures that speak of Christ taking our sin and infirmities on the cross and healing us are meant for heaven. (Though once in awhile we get glimpses of heaven here on earth.)

Randy Alcorn writes in his book called Heaven, “The New Earth will be a place of healing (Revelations 22:2) Christ’s healing ministry was thus a foretaste of Heaven, the place where all hurts are healed, all suffering forever eclipsed by joy. Whenever Jesus healed people, the act spoke of wholeness and health, the original perfection of resurrected bodies and spirits. Every healing was a memorial to the Eden that was and a signpost to the New Earth that will be” (p. 248).

Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds, we are healed. Isaiah 53:4,5

What if Jesus’ death had only brought us the hope of salvation but not healing to our bodies? Can we imagine a heaven where multitudes of broken bodies kneel before God? NO WAY! We so want to experience the healing in this life, but may we not forget the amazing sacrifice that will allow us to be 100% physically restored for an eternity.

A friend wrote in her blog the other day the heart-wrenching story of her twin sister’s battle with MS. The doctor’s have tried every thing possible. But their last playing card (an experimental drug) is threatening one of its dangerous side-effects. She can no longer take it. My friend was devastated with this news. When she asked her sister what they were going to do, her sister said to her, “I know that God has saved my life. We’re going to celebrate.” So they got cupcakes and celebrated the end of treatment, love of family, her healing despite medical reports, and the fact that they know the end of the story.

I wailed all the way to the gym the morning I read her post. I think Jesus let out a deep sigh with me.

Perhaps His sigh (groan) when He healed the deaf man was a foreshadow of the pain He would suffer to pay the price for our sin and the ultimate healing of our bodies.

I don’t know friends. Just thinkin’ out loud.

I am thankful for hope. Hope that my kids will read their Bible on their own, and hope that we will one day not know suffering. It will no longer exist.

Much love,

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