More times than not, when the word translated saved is used in the Bible, it means deliverance not salvation. The nation or a person would become trapped in a situation with another nation or group, cry out to God for Him to free them from their circumstances and they would be delivered. Only a few understood the spiritual implications of their need for personal deliverance or salvation, most simply wanted God to fix the problem of oppression.
The same goes for the word HEAL. By definition, Rapha, which is the most used word for healing, means to make whole. Healing may be the answer in making someone whole, but rapha means much more than just physical healing. That’s an important distinction. The word can mean: cure, cause to heal, physician, repair thoroughly, make whole.
Typically, when we ask for healing, we mean FIX. We pray, “God heal my condition, my illness, my cancer, my broken heart, my child’s rebellion, my past.” What we mean is fix it so I’m no longer affected by it. Remove it. Replace it with wellness, deliverance, hope, solution. We want whatever is afflicting us to go away and never come back. Which makes healing, like deliverance, getting rid of a problem. I had cancer. I no longer have cancer. I have been healed. I had a heart condition. I no longer have a heart condition. I have been healed. And there are plenty of stories to support that as our definition of healing. But some give us greater understanding.
Mark 5:25-34 A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse—after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak. For she thought, "If I just touch His garments, I will get well." Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, "Who touched My garments?" And His disciples said to Him, "You see the crowd pressing in on You, and You say, 'Who touched Me?'" And He looked around to see the woman who had done this. But the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction."
Mark 5:35-42 But Jesus,
Jesus did not heal the daughter, she died. What had originally called for healing now needed something more. The situation changed. Something was taken away and to restore it would require a different solution: raising her from the dead. Question: did Jesus bring the young girl back for her benefit or for her father’s? She was gone, unaware of any need. So, the one in the room who bore the need was Jairus. She was only 12 years old but the suffering now would be carried by her dad. To heal his broken heart would take something more than physical healing to be made whole.
In the other part of the story was a woman who had suffered for the same 12 years with a blood disorder. She personally carried the pain of what that disease had taken away. She needed physical healing to be made whole.
If we limit healing to removing illness only, Jesus couldn’t have helped Jairus. But the pathway to wholeness gave Him freedom to meet both needs.
Isaiah saw this pathway going through the same person. It was packaged inside the sufferings Jesus would experience in crucifixion. He wrote: by His scourging we are healed.
Isa 53:4-5, 10-11
Jesus didn’t die for physical healing. He died to make us whole. Healing is only a small portion of what Isaiah was talking about. Because healing predated the crucifixion. Jesus didn’t have to die to heal but He did have to die to make us whole. There are stories of healing in the OT as well as Gospel accounts full of healings. Jesus healed because He was God. The power to heal was resident within Him. That was true before and after the cross.
Since the promise of Isaiah 53 was larger than physical healing, what Jesus offers today is greater than just physical healing. It is the promise of being made whole – rapha. To be made whole includes: physical healing, emotional healing, relational healing, separation healing, spiritual healing.
The word rapha has been used when someone purified polluted water, repaired the altar, restored the temple, removed a disease and the curse associated with it,
Who are the brokenhearted? What are their wounds? Pain caused by emotional distress, relational damage, separation anxiety from losing a loved one.
He also wrote: Ps 103:2-5
These are not promises David prophesized toward some future event like the cross. They were present tense realities. They meant something that very day when David wrote them. What are they connected to? Why can David say this? Isaiah hadn’t even been born yet.
Ex 15:26 And He said, "If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I am the LORD who heals."
Jehovah-Rapha: The Lord Who Heals
David knew what God called Himself was not only Who He was but what He would do.
Elijah knew the same thing. On at least two recorded occasions, Elijah was God’s conduit for healing. How did he know God did such things? What made him think healing was possible? He had read what God had told Moses. He knew what God called Himself was not only Who He was but what He could do. Elijah accepted what God could do because He accepted what God said about Himself.
In moments of desperation, we tend to focus on what is causing the desperation. We give into its downward press. We forget that the answer isn’t in the cause or in what’s wrong but in what we know is true. Our God is The Lord Who Heals You.
Someone once said: never doubt in the darkness what God has shown you in the light.
· If we have found God has meet our needs in the past, we are encouraged to trust Him with our present struggles.
· If we know Him in a capacity of power over whatever we face, we are confident to rely on Him in our current circumstances.
· If we are told He can do even more than we ask or think regarding our issues, we are drawn to give Him our burdens.
Rapha – being made whole – begins with the realization that God is able. Rapha includes whatever qualifies as make us whole. The word literally means to mend by stitching back together. To take whatever seems undone or unraveled in your life and put pieces back together again. Stitches promote proper healing, so wounds will heal better when stitched. Do stitches ever make it as though the wound never happened? No, a wound will still leave a scar but the cut is healed. Why not make the scar go away? Why did Jesus still have scars after the resurrection? So we wouldn’t forget the price He paid to make us whole.
Does it mean my sick husband won’t die? No. It does mean God can walk with you through your emptiness and someday make your empty heart full again.
Does it mean my wife won’t divorce me? No. It does mean God can walk with you through the darkness and help you risk loving again.
Does it mean my children won’t break my heart? No. It does mean God can put the pieces back together and hold you when it happens again.
Does it mean my past will haunt me no longer? No. It does mean God can strengthen you to not be oppressed when the thoughts return.
How? By being your God who heals.
Why don’t we believe that? Because we have tried to define the word HEAL to satisfy us. We think God has to straighten everything out to fix the problems. No. Kit Marie came by this past week and told me something his mother, Dani, said: God writes so straight with crooked lines. God can take whatever we give Him and draw from it a line straight through to wholeness. It may not match our definition of fixing it, but the result is what we need to be made whole.
Locate the problem, cry out to the healer and then leave the decision of how He implements wholeness to Him.
- If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator;
- If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist;
- If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist;
- If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer;
- But since our greatest need was wholeness, God sent us a Healer.
Right before the stories of Jairus’ daughter and the woman, Jesus had met the man in the tombs, cast the demons out and healed him. Imagine him going home that evening. His children looked out the window and cried, "Mommy, Daddy is coming!" She ran over and locked the door. She told the children, "Don't be afraid, the door is locked, He can't hurt you!" The children trembled as they looked out the window. "Mommy, that doesn’t look like Daddy. He isn't running and yelling and screaming. He's calm. He's walking slowly. He's very quiet. He has his clothes on.” "Keep still!" their mother whispered. As hearts beat faster, they heard his hand take the latch. The door was locked. They waited for the pounding but instead, the man knocked gently. His wife didn’t answer the door. She remained still, hoping he would go away. Then he said, "Mary, open the door. I am all right. I met Jesus today and I am a changed man." She slowly opened the door while the children cowered in the corner. The man said, "Don't be afraid children. I met Jesus today, and I am different." His smile was something new, so they approached timidly. He put his arms around them and loved them. He spoke kindly to his wife and with a prayer of thanksgiving she prepared supper. When they sat down at the table he bowed his head and said a blessing. They talked and laughed until bedtime then he gathered them around him and thanked God for the miracle that happened. With the children in bed, he sat with his wife beside the fireplace. He took her hand and said, "Thank God Mary, the old life is over. I met Jesus today and I'm whole again." Mary looked into his eyes and said, “So am I.” (rewitten from Chuck Swindoll)
- Whenever we sense something missing from our life, we feel we are incomplete.
- When we feel we are incomplete we often look for what we can find to make us complete.
- God uses that feeling of incompletion to get us to look to Him as Savior.
- When we feel empty after something has been taken away: our health, our marriage, our family, our peace, our love, our concern for someone else, God will use that emptiness to get us to look to Him as Healer.
- He may not fix the problem as though it never happened, but He will make us whole again.