Why is it Easier?

Matthew 9:5-7  NIV  5 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. . . .” Then he said to the paralytic, “Get up, take your mat and go home.”  7 And the man got up and went home.

Jesus asked the teachers of the law – who came not to learn, but to accuse – if forgiving or healing is easier for Him, knowing neither was the single right answer.  Instead, there was no difference to Him.  The question I ask myself, as a believer, is why I find it easier to believe in Jesus’ forgiveness than in His healing.

In the early days of being born again, it was easy to doubt salvation, because I based it on thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors – and they looked the same as before Jesus. The “symptoms” of my life were my guide.  Through renewing my mind with the Word Christ, I grew to understand that God forgave all sins (mine and everyone else’s) forever in Christ when He was on the cross.  That meant He had already covered any current “symptoms” to the contrary.  My confidence was transferred gradually to what Christ did, instead of what I was doing.  Today, some of those “symptoms” of unsaved remain, but they no longer throw me into a tailspin concerning whether or not I am forgiven.

Jesus’ healing is no different than His forgiving, according to the above passage.  Both are included in the work of salvation He finished on the cross.  Following this to its logical conclusion, then, once we are in Christ, physical “symptoms” do not determine whether we are healed any more than unsaved “symptoms” determine whether we’re forgiven.  That’s so simple and so clear.  So why do I still rely on my physical “symptoms” to determine my state of health?

camera lensOnly as I worked on this blog post did the answer begin to come into focus.  In fact, my focus has been the problem all along.  I have allowed “symptoms” to determine whether Jesus healed me.  I focused on “symptoms” and missed Jesus, the One Who already completed the work of healing.

Concerning forgiveness, only as the Lord adjusted my focus by His Word and His Spirit was I able to rest in His finished work.   Likewise, I believe He has begun His work of adjusting my focus once again, this time in the area of healing.  He wants me fully in His rest.  And He started it all with the simple question, “Why is it easier?”

2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Hebrews 12:2 NIV  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus . . .


A Feast Awaits

I want to consider a well-known story of Jesus’ life found in Matthew 14.  Jesus had just heard about the murder of John the Baptist.  Feeling the pain, as any of us would, He went away by Himself in a boat to be in the Presence of His Father while mourning the loss of His beloved friend.  Because He ministered as a man filled with the Holy Spirit, not as God, Jesus understood His need to be refueled and refreshed before continuing to minister all the Father had for Him.  It’s a good thing He did, too, for He was no longer alone when He landed the boat (v. 14).  Many people had followed Him and were waiting there for His return and ministry.  Contrary to what we might have done in similar circumstances, Jesus didn’t ask them to leave Him alone to tend to His personal need.  He had compassion and pity on the people, seeing them through the eyes of His Father.  It was from that place He ministered to them, healing all their sick.

Certainly, this lesson of my Lord’s dying to His fleshly needs challenges me to do likewise, but the impact of what I saw as I continued reading is the main point of this blog post.  Think about the people who have come to Jesus in this place.  From what I can gather, they only followed Him because they wanted a specific thing from Him, a healing.  It appears, though, that they remained with Him even after receiving their healings.  Why?  There was something about being with Jesus that made them willing to remain in His Presence, even after receiving that for which they came.  What was the result of their lingering with Him?  Jesus took the opportunity to give them more than they expected, meeting their physical hunger with a miraculous feast of fish and bread!  As if that weren’t enough, He not only gave them enough merely to stave off their hunger, but they all ate until satisfied, with twelve baskets full to spare!  (v. 20)

Now think about this from Jesus’ perspective.  He came to earth to do the will of His Father, and to do it completely.  (John 4:34)  Even though He came from heaven, He spent much time in the Father’s Presence while here among us.  He needed to seek the Father’s will for each day, and also needed to be re-filled with the Holy Spirit so He would be anointed to do all that the Father’s will required.  If He hadn’t stayed out on that boat alone with the Lord as long as He did, perhaps He wouldn’t have been in position, spiritually and emotionally, to have heard and obeyed every detail of the Father’s plan in this remote place.  He might have sent the people away without the food, and the lesson of God’s abundant provision for those who trust Him!  But He didn’t.  He lingered with His Father, and He received all He needed to give to and for us!

If Jesus found this the only way to live fully the life He was here to live, why do we think we can live any other way?  The people in the wilderness, not even having the benefit of being born again, were willing to stay in the Presence of Jesus beyond making their immediate needs known, and without expecting anything more.  If we’ll only learn to wait, enjoying those precious moments in His presence, how much more of Him will He be able to impart to us!  How much more fully will we know, and be able to do, the will of our heavenly Father – just because we have waited on and with Him!  As those in the wilderness found, so we will find there is a feast that is more than enough for us!    

Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)  “But they that wait upon the Lord  shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”