Devotion and Prayer for Week of September 14, 2014

Meditation for the Week of September 14, 2014

  

And they brought to [Jesus] a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged Him to lay His hand on him. (Mark 7:32)

 

People in the Gospels are constantly bringing their sick to Jesus that He might heal them. And of course they are! Where else would they go? Wherever He went, crowds followed. The religious and the wealthy had little use for Jesus, but He was exceedingly popular with the sick and poor. Earlier in Mark 7, Jesus went away to the Gentile region of Tyre and Sidon, perhaps wanting to get away from all of the commotion. We’re even told that He entered a house and didn’t want anyone to know; yet He could not be hidden (Mark 7:24).

So Jesus is immediately put to work, casting out the demon of a Gentile woman’s daughter. No sooner does He leave that region, this man who is deaf and has a speech impediment is brought to Him, “and they begged Him to lay His hand on Him.” And where else would they turn? After all, they, like us, knew that Jesus is the Great Physician. They saw Him cast out demons and heal the sick. So when they found themselves in need, it was only natural that they should turn to Jesus.

But that’s not always the way it is with us, is it? When you find yourself in trouble or sick, to what do you turn? Sure, we can solve some problems with hard work and medicine can often make us feel better. But where we look to those things above our Lord for help and healing, they become an idol. It might sound surprising that even good things like hard work and medicine can become idols, but then again, that’s often the way it is with idols. An idol doesn’t have to be a statue that we bow down and pray to. For most of us, that is probably the last thing we would ever do. Idols are more commonly corruptions of good things. God values the one who works hard, even as He entrusted the Garden of Eden into the care of Adam to “work it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). Oil was commonly used in a medicinal way to anoint wounds, as we hear in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:34).

But when thoughts of work and money and success dominate our thoughts, we turn work from a blessing into a curse. When we seek healing from medicine above our Lord, that which is meant to bring healing becomes poison. All good gifts come from God, but our sinful flesh is a master at misusing and abusing God’s good gifts, turning them into an idol.

Mercifully, our Lord doesn’t wait for us to turn to Him to bring us healing, or we never would. Even when Adam sinned, God sought him out in the Garden, calling out, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9), and shortly after giving Him the promise of a Savior from his sin (Genesis 3:15). Christ, our Good Samaritan, our Great Physician, turns to us, dying for us while we were still His enemies, bringing us to life when we were dead in sin. In Holy Baptism, He has put His hand on you that you might no longer be deaf to His Word and blind to His love, but that you might call upon His name in every trouble, pray, praise and give thanks.

 

Our Weekly Prayer          

Great Physician, we give you thanks that on the cross you did not heal Yourself, but suffered and died, that by Your stripes we might be healed. Forgive us of our idolatry, for looking to people and things other than You for healing and satisfaction. Open our ears to Your Word and our eyes to Your grace, that we might receive Your healing love, now and forever. Amen.