It was after the first night of enjoying VBS with my son that I realized I was quickly coming down with cold symptoms. I apparently got it from both our kids, who likely got it from playing around with other kids at the library last week. I laughed to myself and thought how ironic it was based on what I’d be preaching this Sabbath. By night fall and the next day I was feeling completely miserable. Yet thankfully, as quickly as it came was as quickly as it left, for by the following day I was much better. And don’t we wish this was always the case whenever we or a loved one suffer from sickness, illness or disease. I wished this was the case for the Vega family.
It was just last week that Elder Bob Boardman and I had the honor to respond to the invitation from Victor Vega to anoint and pray for the healing of his wife Sandra and their daughter Alina before they move. Before we prayed and anointed, we sat and just listened to their story. Our hearts were deeply moved particularly as Sandra shared her story. She had been blind twice due to cancer in her eye and told by her doctor, at one point, that she only had 4 months to live. She calmly responded to the doctor that she trusted in Jesus to heal her, but if not, she still trusted Him, since all of us will die at some point. He was concerned about her getting her hopes up, yet she continued to trust in Jesus. Well that was over 15 years ago and she’s still here! There where tears as she shared her story of suffering and painful memories, yet she carried in her an assured faith in Jesus and a peace that was palpable. She still suffers from a tumor in her brain, a hip that goes out on her and pain in her bones. Her daughter at one point was experiencing four to five hundred seizures a day as well as psychotic episodes, yet she praised God for her daughter’s improved speech. The only thing that impressed me more than her steadfast faith through suffering, was the steadfast love and support of her husband Victor throughout all their suffering. In my estimation the man is a hero! I found my heart longing for their healing in that moment. Bob and I poured out our hearts in prayer for their healing and anointed them with fragrant spikenard. I could tangibly feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in the room as we prayed for them. When I saw her faith in suffering, I forgot whatever was bothering me that day and got a swift perspective check. It was then that the Lord revealed what I needed to preach about.
This is the church building built over it where I prayed.
It was the summer of 2013 and I was in a church building, lying on my back looking up at the ceiling, holding my stomach, because I was feeling very sick. The last few people had just left the building and as I was there alone, I began to lift up my request to the Lord for healing. The ironic thing was that I was in a church building in Capernaum of Galilee, in Israel, that was built over the house of the Apostle Peter where an amazing story of healing took place over 2000 years ago, that I want invite you into today in Luke 5:17.
Wherever Jesus went He drew large crowds. And on this day, Jesus packed out the house… Peter’s house that is. We enter the house and there we see Him teaching, with Pharisees and Scribes, or teachers of the Law, coming from Galilee, Judea and Jerusalem, sitting in close proximity to Jesus. You see, whenever Jesus taught the Gospel of the Kingdom, it painted such a vivid, compelling picture of God’s character of love, that hearts where drawn and aroused to faith in Him. As we witness the scene, the Bible records…
Now though there were many people pressing in to be close to Jesus both inside and outside the house, the immediate context of Luke 5:17 is telling us that, actually, the power of the Lord was present to heal the Pharisees and Scribes! Ellen White says…
They were in close proximity to Jesus, but were resisting His healing power. You see, some of the hardest people for Jesus to heal, are those who think they’re well! Just because you’re in close proximity to Jesus, doesn’t mean you’re in close relationship with Jesus! And as we sit in Peter’s house, we are in holy awe as we watch Jesus stand there, with a longing expression, just waiting to release the healing power that was so tangibly brooding over the people.
So how do we avoid missing this type of move of God? How do we not harden our hearts to the point that we’re close to Jesus and the things of God, but miss the healing He longs to give us right now? What happens when we actually recognize that the power of the Lord is present to heal? Well, let’s find out as we continue in verse 18…
Follower of Jesus, Husband, Father and Associate Pastor for Younger Generations at Vienna SDA Church.