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WEEK 3 • JULY 18-24

LESSON 7

HEALING VIRTUE

LESSON TEXT:

MARK 5:25-34; LUKE 6:17-19


MEMORY VERSE
"And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all." Luke 6:19, KJV


KEY TERMS
Atonement — Preparation for an offense or injury; God and humankind's reconcilia­tion through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.
Hemorrhage — A profuse escape of blood from a ruptured blood vessel.


SUGGESTED EMPHASIS

Sometimes in discussing the healing ministry of Jesus, we refer to him as a "healer." There are many accounts when Jesus was called upon to lay hands on a sufferer and deliver him from his affliction. But Christ was also a vessel of healing virtue. He trans­ferred healing power through his teaching ministry. He sheds healing grace from this person like Typhoid Mary and sheds the contagion that ignited typhoid fever outbreaks in New York a century ago. Luke recorded that the crowds of people following Jesus expected that healing could be communicated to them by their mere proximity to the Master. The whole multitude "sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all" (Luke 6:19).

Emphasis 1: A Confidence in Incidental Healing

A perfect example of Jesus' healing virtue is the woman's story with an issue of blood. The unnamed protagonist of the story co-opted the healing mission Christ had em­barked upon for a synagogue official. Jesus had consented to follow the religious lead­er back to his home to minister to his dying daughter. Although they were in haste, a multitude of people appeared around them that suddenly hindered their progress. At that point, a woman in the crowd who had a hemorrhage for twelve long years realized this was an opportunity. Physicians had failed her, and she had wasted a fortune trying to find a remedy for her condition. Seeing Jesus stuck in the crowd, she pressed her way to him, intending to touch his garment and avail herself of incidental healing power.

The woman shared a common belief on that day. She expected that a holy man would radiate supernatural power. The same assumptions led people to lay their sick in the path of the Apostle Peter, hoping his shadow would pass over them and heal them (Acts 5:15). It was the same reasoning that led folks to steal Paul's handkerchiefs and apply them to the bodies of their diseased neighbors (Acts 9:12). The wisdom of the crowd was that divine power emanated from the sincere servants of God, for she said, "If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole" (Mark 5:28). She had faith in the moral cleanness, goodness, and righteousness of Jesus.

Emphasis 2: Healing Is on the Basis of the Atonement

What the woman may not have understood was the innate depth of power within the person of Jesus. He was the embodiment of healing. Like the apostles in Acts, other holy men could reflect the power of God (similar to how the moon can reflect the light of the sun). However, Jesus had that power within himself. Healing is made possible by the atoning work of Christ on the cross. In the Old Testament, healing miracles were available on the promise of the atonement, and healing today is facilitated by the atonement's historical fact.

Emphasis 3: Healing Is Accessed by Faith

Jesus insisted that the withdrawal from his reserve of power be acknowledged. He perplexed the disciples by asking who had touched him, but He intentionally publicized this miracle. Jesus wanted the woman's testimony to be known and wanted her to understand more perfectly that her cure came through her faith in him. "Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole" (Mark 5:34), he explained. Jesus wanted to relieve her of misconception; physical contact with either his clothes or person had accomplished this feat. Yes, he exuded healing grace, but she only accessed it through the medium of her faith.
Even today, we may find ourselves attaching more significance to externals as a chan­nel for grace. When facing some stiff challenges to our well-being, we may reach for articles and items we use as "a point of contact" to God's power. We may pray over Grandpa's dog-eared bible, or apply the special anointing oil gifted to us by a beloved evangelist, or seek out that church mother that is known to have a gift of healing in her hands. However, the lesson learned by the woman with the issue of blood must inform our actions. Whatever point of contact we use—whatever person or object we rely on to help us "get a prayer through "—will only be productive to the extent it helps us focus on Christ. Our faith in the Messiah (and his finished work on the cross) is the avenue that will bring us to the fulness of blessings promised in the atonement.

MISSION APPLICATION QUESTIONS

Why did the woman seek to touch him secretly?
Explain the danger of having faith in a "point of contact," like anointing oil.


PRAYER POINTS


Let us pray that the sick appeal to Jesus for healing because of his atoning sacrifice.
Let us pray for a revival of the gift of healing in our churches.
Let us pray that faith in Christ remains at the center of our healing ministries.