One of the most amazing and simultaneously depressing stories in the Bible (from a worldly perspective) is the resurrection of Lazarus in John 11. Amazing, because we see the miracle-working power of Jesus! Lazarus was dead and buried! He was in the grave for 4 days! That guy was dead! And Jesus restored his life! Amazing!
Amazing because we see a demonstration of what Jesus will do for all of us someday: He will call forth our names, and the grave will not be able to hold us back! John 11:43 says that after the stone was removed, Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth”. The great evangelist of the 19th century, D. L. Moody, said the reason Jesus called Lazarus by name was because if He did not, everybody in the whole cemetery would have come forth! Amazing!
But I also find this story depressing. Why? Because, like all mortals, Lazarus would have eventually died again. Think of that: his sisters had to bury him twice. They had to watch him get sick – and die – twice. They had to mourn the loss of their beloved brother – twice! That’s depressing!
So what was the point? Why raise Lazarus at all if he would eventually die again someday? I’ll pose the same question to you – to myself – to all us, collectively: what’s the point? Why devote our lives to healthcare, if the patients we treat are all going to die someday anyway?
All Healing Comes From God
Okay, now that I have you thoroughly depressed(!), let me see if I can bring some redemption to this message: Healing – physical healing – is a sign. It signifies something greater. It points to, it advertises, something greater than itself. Healthcare improves the quality of our earthly lives, and points us to the eternal wholeness offered to us in Jesus. Healing transforms our lives in the here-&-now, and reminds us of our ultimate transformation in eternity in the Presence of God. Healthcare is a resource that points us to THE Source of all life & healing.
All healing comes from God. God is the Source of all healing. All health has its origins in Him; all wholeness is fulfilled in Him. So all earthly healthcare – surgeries, medicine, rehabilitation, infection control, disease prevention – ALL healthcare – everything we connect to physical healing on earth – is a resource. Surgery does not exist by its own power. Medicine is not self-created. All earthly healthcare is derived from some higher, infinite, eternal Source of healing.
That’s the difference between a resource and THE Source. Resources originate from the Source. Resources are finite; The Source is infinite. Resources run out over time and must eventually be replenished. The Source is unlimited – it never runs out! – and it replenishes all of our limited resources.
A Resource and THE Source
Let’s look at this from another point-of-view: have you ever wondered where water comes from? You might think water comes from lakes and rivers – and rain, snow, wells, glaciers – right? (Me, too!) But those are all resources. They are all finite, they will all run dry unless replenished. They are all dependent on an infinite Source of water.
Psalm 24 tells us that God “founded it [the earth] upon the seas and established it upon the waters”. This isn’t just poetic language from the Psalms, it is verifiable science: God has provided great cisterns of water underneath the earth’s surface which emerge as springs to feed many of the earth’s lakes and rivers. And up above the earth’s surface, God has created an entire water cycle of evaporation, condensation(clouds), and precipitation(rain/snow) to replenish the earth’s surface water supply. God is The Source of water!
The same is true of rest. Have you ever wondered where rest comes from? We think rest comes from sleep, but sleep is a resource. Sleep only lasts us a few hours before we tire again and need more sleep. The true, unlimited Source of rest is Jesus.
In Matthew 11, Jesus says, “Come to Me, all of you, and I will give you rest.” Note that He doesn’t say, “Go to sleep, all of you, and sleep will give you rest.” In Mark 6, Jesus says, “Come away with Me, by yourselves, and get some rest.” Note again, Jesus doesn’t say, “Take a nap, by yourselves, and get some rest.” Sleep is certainly one of God’s primary resources for replenishing our rest, but true rest originates in and comes from Jesus – He is The Source of real rest.
God’s Divine Purpose for HealthcareSo… why does God care about healthcare so much? If we are all mortal, if all of our physical bodies are going to deteriorate and die eventually, no matter what we do – no matter how we intervene – then why intervene at all? Why would God be so pleased to call so many people to devote their lives to professions in healthcare? Why would He allow hundreds of millions of dollars in Kingdom resources to be spent in providing healthcare to those in need?
Because it is a sign. A lake is a sign: it points to the ultimate Source of water. Sleep is a sign: it points to the ultimate Source of rest. Physical healing is a sign: it signifies something. Something greater, something bigger, truer, infinite, eternal. Physical healing here reminds us that there is a place where we are fully healed, where we are made completely whole – and that is in God’s holy (and wholly!) Presence. Again, this is no poetic metaphor. It is reality! – ultimate reality.
We can also note that a lake serves another very important immediate function: it’s a lake! There’s water in there, and we need water! Sleep fulfills a very important immediate need by giving rest to our tired bodies and minds. Likewise, healthcare has immense value for its immediate effects: people are suffering, right now, and physical healing brings relief and transformation to their lives, right now.
God is not only the Source of life – He is Life itself. So it’s no wonder the grave couldn’t hold Jesus: He IS Life itself! It’s no wonder people could be touched by His hand, or even just brush past His robe and receive healing: Life itself emanates from Jesus! Jesus is the Source of all Life – everything was made in Him, and by Him, and through Him, and He holds everything together (see John 1, Colossians 1, Revelation 4).
So – all that I have said up to this point has been the introduction, now here comes the punchline of this message (and I promise to keep it short): If God is the Source of all Life and healing, and if He has called us into healthcare ministry, then we are His resources of Life and healing.
We Are His Resources of Life and Healing
Let that sink in for a moment. You and I are now the hands of Jesus, offering His healing touch. You and I are the extensions of His garment, brushing past people every day, His healing power flowing out through us.
We are the evidence. We are the sign, pointing people to Life! We are the demonstration of ultimate healing – eternal wholeness – in the Presence of Jesus!
And you know what’s really cool? It’s contagious. Every patient healed becomes a sign as well:
- Every blinded eye that now sees.
- Every crooked leg now straightened.
- Every abscessed tooth that is removed.
- Every healthcare training course graduate.
- Every surgeon and nurse and anesthetist mentored.
- Every incontinent woman who is now dry.
- Every neck and jaw that is no longer filled with a life-depleting tumor.
- Every palette closed, every cleft lip now healed is a sign pointing people to Life.
For you healthcare workers: Thank you for saying yes to God. Thank you for obeying His call. Thank you for giving your professional lives to help provide high-quality healthcare in the Name & Nature of Jesus to the world’s ill and injured. Thank you for joining Him in the transformational work of physical healing. Thank you for being the hands of Jesus, through which His healing power now flows. Thank you for transforming lives in the here-&-now. Thank you for being a sign, pointing people to The Source of all Life and healing.