A look at healing in the Gospels and what it could mean today
Below are the show notes for this weeks episode:
Well, hello, it’s nice to have you with us for this month’s instalment of the journey and faithfully podcast. I’m Josh. And I’m Ashleigh, you know I nearly said I was actually Ashleigh
Well it is a girl’s and a boy’s name is indeed you. All right.
Well, thank you for joining us in today’s podcast. Today, we’re going to look at healing discipleship. We’re actually we look at the Gospels as well, suppose in healing art, we actually better we are a little bit yeah. So I’m not sure we planned to make this podcast every other month. But that seems to have become the pattern, doesn’t it? Really? Yeah. It seems a bit odd that we’re recording this podcast, actually, two months after we discussed whole life discipleship. I know how’s your discipleship journey been since then? Well, it’s, it’s been locked down. And up and down. It’s really hard to find those small spaces start small, like quiet spaces. When you live in a house with both a puppy and a four year old. Yeah, definitely. So there’s one exciting thing that our discipleship includes, isn’t that it is about our whole life. And I know that you have made some small changes in your life, which I’d love to think of our ways of discipleship. Have I? Yeah,
we gave a couple of things. We became vegetarian. We did. Yeah. I thought about our ecology, you know, how we cared for the environment? No way to do that. And I gave up caffeine. That was fun for a few weeks. Fun for her.
But also, we are something didn’t we? We did actually, we added exercise in a way.
It’s hard, isn’t it? Because in some ways, it doesn’t feel like discipleship, though, does what? But our health is intrinsically linked to our discipleship. Do you remember the retreat? We went on in Chicago? Yeah, the one with a really good food. And that amazing pizza? If I remember, right, it was so okay, I’m getting Yeah, you are definitely getting off topic. But yeah, it was the one with the good food, and the good hospitality as well. Well, at the heart of that retreat was a whole life discipleship model, which was based on health. The Trailer’s who had put together this congregational wellness model, as they called it understood that the heart of our faith is a call to look after ourselves, body, mind and soul. You are so right. And I think we should really give out a shout out to living compass. And you should be able to check out their Facebook page. I’m sure they do some amazing work. So I’m guessing that the focus of this podcast impart Yes, but we’re also going to focus on one specific area of faith, which is often difficult to understand and grapple with, and what’s that healing? Yeah, even as a pharmacist or x pharmacist, I can really still struggle with the link between that health and faith. It’s something I’m really passionate about. But yeah, it’s you, not me here that has the experience. So it’s you that that’s really going to be offering the explanations, isn’t it today? Yeah, I’m sure you’re gonna chip in a little bit. Of course I am. This is a conversation after all. And if the listeners wants to contribute, if they want to get involved in this conversation, how could they go about doing that ash? Well, they can go to our website or a Facebook page, or they could even email us. Yeah, we want them to be a part of the conversation as well. And at the end of these episodes, there’ll be a specific question that we would love them to answer for was, isn’t there? There is I think we got a little bit ahead of ourselves. I tend to do that though. I want to go back a little bit and talk about health. Now, there are many different aspects to health. Is that like, physical, mental, that kind of thing? Yeah, exactly that, although some experts actually say there are even more than just those two categories. It can encompass everything from physical to financial, emotional, and mental health, and some experts split it down even further. Wow. Well, well, we’re going to start then, let’s take physical health. physical health includes everything from physical fitness. Let’s just say that I’m glad that these are podcasts and not videos. Okay, and overall well being according to Jeff at ease. Now, here in the UK, it is said that 93% of the population have at least one risk factor of ill health from smoking to low fruit and veg consumption. That that’s actually a quite scary statistic when you think about it. It really is and therefore
physical health is a massive area, and is probably the one we can relate the most to, because we can see it. It makes me think of Doubting Thomas in that because we can see it and have it personally feel it, it becomes a bit more real, probably why we so often forget all those people with hidden illness. That really is true. But I reckon we could have a whole separate podcast on just that issue alone. True. When it comes to physical manifestations of disease, we can relate that really easily to healing. But there’s also mental health that we have to think about. This is probably the secondary isn’t it that we think of when it comes to our health? Yeah, mental health, according to the World Health Organisation, is a state of well being that allows individuals to realise their own potential, cope with normal stresses of life can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to their community. And now for another scary statistic, about a quarter of the population will experience a mental health problem over the course of one year, just one year, just one year. You can see why physical and mental health are what we first think of them when it comes to healing, can’t you? Definitely if they seem obvious, because these are the kinds of things that we would go see a medical professional, about from pharmacist to a doctor. Now, as I have said, there are other forms of health. But I know that we’re going to touch on at least one other in this podcast, so I think it might be best to move on then. Sounds good to me.
So if I seem to remember right, we did a lot of on wellness at the retreat. Although being in the throes of morning sickness means that some of that time is a little hazy now. Yeah, the whole process was about wellness. The facilitator spoke about wellness, as coming in four different ways.
Yeah, they did they talk about wellness, being in heart, soul, mind and strength, if I seem to remember right, and in the good story of the good,
the good story, the good sorry. Well, the Bible is full of good stories are we talking about in particular, that the good story of the Good Samaritan, a lot of gods, I just love, love the word good. When Jesus was asked by an expert in the law, how he could inherit eternal life, Jesus replied with a question, didn’t he, he asked the expert of the law, what he thought he did, and the expert of the law report, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your strength and with all your mind and love your neighbour as yourself.
And Jesus responded, you have answered correctly, Jesus replied, do this, and you will live.
Often when we approach healing in a medical or scientific way, we forget that we need to focus on the whole person, that healing is not just physical is not simply praying and getting healed, but about a whole person wellness. In fact, until really, very recently, wellness has been focused primarily on the physical dimension of our healing. If you think back to our discussion a moment ago, I have taken up physical exercise to help but not found time to focus on the other areas of my life. That’s why the story from Luke 10, the good good good samaritan is if you put it is so interesting. It shows that Jesus and the Bible is interested in the whole person. After when Jesus heals, as we will come to see all we’ll talk about. He heals the whole person, not just the illness, but often he’ll forgive as well. And I suppose for us and this podcast, it’s interesting to think about your profession. Why is that? Well, I don’t think many people are coming to you to ask for a cure for cancer, are they? No, they tend to seek me out when they have a crisis of faith, a moment of doubt, like Thomas, you mentioned a few moments ago. Yes. And they wanted some form of spiritual or emotional healing. And that is something that I think the church can offer, but often misses. Interesting.
Maybe we should explore some of the examples of Jesus, Jesus, healing others and look at healing in the gospels, and then discuss how we could maybe structure our lives in a better way. maybe think about whole life, discipleship, and healing.
So let’s think about healing and Jesus. Jesus, as we’ve already said, was all about healing and not just physical healing. No, not at all he was about wholeness.
When I was looking through the Gospels in preparation for this podcast, I was surprised about how many times when healing someone, Jesus would say your sins are forgiven. Yes. And then when healing people Jesus seemed far more interested in making them whole, and forgiving their sins, then simply curing them of a recent ailment. Actually, it may be even more simple than wholeness. I think. Christopher Gower, a previous Rector and prebendary writes that the heart of Jesus’s message is the preaching of the kingdom of God. The kingdom is not around, but a rain, the dynamic reign and rule of God. By healing others, Jesus was bringing about the kingdom of God. So yeah, that’s all really fascinating, Josh, but I think what some of our listeners are going to focus on like I am.
What was it a bender? prebendary prebendary? Probably is an honorary canon. No, no, no, not like a cannon on a pirate ship. Not something you shoot a cannon ball out of but a member of a cathedral?
Does that answer that question? And you think, yeah, but I’m not gonna lie. I’m a bit disappointed that the cathedral doesn’t have real cannons. Well, okay. And I’m sure you can take that with a cathedral at some point in your in your life. But today, can we return to Our discussing about Jesus? I think that sounds good to me. I think actually, we’re about to have a bit of a fact of looking at our notes, cuz I think we might have read the same material. I think so. So, I’m going to begin and I’ll maybe I’ll sound wiser than you. And then you can, you can come come in with the same facts. But I know, in listener, our listener will be really interested, I think, in the fact that over 38% of the narrative verses in our gospel, that somewhere near 484 verse, I didn’t count them personally. But that was formed in April versus I are devoted to describing the healings, miracles of Jesus. I’m interested. But did you know that 40% of the Gospel of Mark is made up of healing stories? I’m fairly sure we’ve read the same book, mainly because we live in the same house and we have access to the same books.
And it goes back to the honorary canon again, doesn’t it to Christopher Gower. And Christopher goes on to know that the Gospels we called 38 incidents of healing 26 of those are healings of individuals. But I was fascinated to see that 12 of them are healings of groups of individuals. Yeah, it was a really fascinating book. And what I really liked was, the premise, much like I spoke about a moment ago, was not simply about healing, but about giving a message. Jesus wanted people to know about the kingdom of God. Yes. And an older chattering report all about healing now, it was called the time to heal. Well, that report argues that the healing ministry is one of the greatest opportunities the church has today, for sharing the gospel for doing just that, for sharing the kingdom of God. It really does. But I don’t want us to get ahead of ourselves. So we love a bit more about the importance of healing before we move on to thinking about how we could live those principles out in our Christian faith in life, that seems to make sense. Should we look a bit about healing salvation.
So as you said, we’re now going to look a little bit about healing and salvation. And one of the crucial messages that I want people to understand is that health is deeply biblical, that Jesus was not just performing some neat little parlour tricks, but his message of healing was something much more important. Absolutely. When Jesus healed, he was interested in the person salvation.
Often we come to these stories, as sceptical.
We either dismiss or distort our biblical understanding of healing, we either seem to put too much of an emphasis on the need and the expectation of being healed. And therefore dismiss and people who have not been healed, or don’t have faith like we talked about those hidden disabilities often
or we begin to doubt the messages of healing we begin to doubt their their if they were true at all.
And then we question the biblical understanding, don’t we? That is so true. And someone when we were out in America that we found heard a lot about was an American scholar and theologian, Kate bowler, who
herself suffers from cancer and writes this for some Christians. People wanted salvation from bleak medical diagnosis. They wanted to see God rescue their broken teenagers or their misfiring marriages. They wanted talismans to ward off things that go bump in the night. They wanted a modicum of power over things that ripped their lives apart at the seams. In the face of difficulty these people wanted answers. Kate’s book is a beautiful exploration of what it means when we do not get the answers. Kate found in her suffering not some extra special outcome but a deep rooted ordinary ordinary, can’t say this word. Oh,
how on earth do I say that ordinary ordinary, to have a, she found a hope that did not offer healing straightaway, but gave her faith to in the resurrection. And she she also offers a quote from the prayer of Saint Teresa of Avila. We can only learn to know ourselves and do what we can, namely surrender our well and fulfil God’s will in us. That is one of the hardest things to do, though, don’t you think?
When it comes to healing, to self doubt to hardship, it’s just impossible to let go. Let it go.
Sorry. I live with a four year old.
Yes, it is. But it seems to be the advice of most saints let it go. Think about it. How often in the Gospel? Did Jesus ask people to let go?
I didn’t think to give up on belief and pay off something else. In fact, often healing came when people chose to give up on one thing and choose to believe Kate reminds is that the first thing we need to let go of when it comes to healing his pride. If we think back to league 10 that is what Jesus was telling the religious expert to do, wasn’t it? He was commanding the religious expert to let go believe, to love God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength. And in doing so believe that he will be set free that he will be healed. And that’s just as relevant to the religious activated league. tenza is to to us today. Exactly. It is such a rich narrative of what it means to be healed. Not just to be healed, though, but to be a part of the kingdom of God. If we return to the prevalently Christopher Graham canon, yes, the Canon but not the pirate canon. He writes that healing is inherent in Christianity. We see it throughout the ministry of Jesus. More than this, however, Gower goes on to argue that we see it in the promises of the resurrection. We’re writing this while recording this, I suppose. Just after Easter, we’ve just celebrated the promises of the resurrection. And in the hope of the resurrection, we are promised eternal life. We offer the time in the future we don’t know when that will be, which will be free of sickness, free of suffering, free of mortality, a time when all shall be well. And that is what the healing ministry of Jesus offers us a foretaste of the kingdom of God. So just before we move on, could we offer the reader three simple points to summarise the conversation we just had? Do you think? Potentially we’ve covered quite a lot of ground, haven’t we up to this point? Well, number one, healing is at the heart of our faith. It’s at the heart of what we believe and it’s crucial to our faith is about more than physical healing, and incorporates a whole life healing, which focuses on our heart, on our mind, on our soul and on our strength. Yeah, definitely. And I think our second one is that healing is actually at the heart of our gospel. And if we go back to the factor of
45, it makes up over 30% 38% of the narrative verse in the cost of time well bear these facts in you. I would have known it was 38.
We would love to hear from you guys on who you think’s better at the funky factor.
And so and what did we all say to 38% of the narrative versus in the gospels, which equals somewhere near 484 verses in which are devoted to healing miracles of Jesus. Yeah, and
Third, I think if we’re going to have a third, healing is linked to our salvation, Jesus healed to give people a taste a foretaste of the kingdom of God. In the resurrection, we are promised eternal life, a life where there will be no more pain, suffering, or sickness, I really want to be a part of. So when it comes to faith, we’ve already demonstrated that healing is crucial. But I wonder what you’d say to someone who is suffering today?
Do you mean somebody who is suffering, or someone who’s suffering and needs healing? Because I think there’s a difference there?
Yeah, that is a difference. I suppose someone who is suffering and needs healing, so is coming to that Becker. Because they either have a physical or a mental
condition that they want to ask God, for healing for. Okay. Well, I think I’d encourage them to believe I mean, this is a really hard area. And I do not profess that I’ve got this right yet, or that I have got to a point in my faith journey where I am, absolutely bang on. I don’t think I ever will be. But I think to begin with, I would definitely encourage them to believe, to not be discouraged, and to know that they are loved.
Often we can feel like a failure when things don’t happen the way we expect. Others seem to be happy and healthy. And we are now. Yeah, our Bible is full of misfits and rock tags. People who are not perfect, who often had what the world would define as issues or problems.
But God still use them. In fact, often God used them because they were misfits or rock tags. That explains a lot about us.
And think about think about Paul, think about St. Paul. He grappled his whole life with a thorn in his side, and we have no clue what that Thorn was. I mean, some people say that he might have been blind, or others have said he was crippled. Some have said like me, he was probably below average in height.
Whatever it was, though, God’s still used him. And God didn’t take that thought away ever in Paul’s ministry. He, he grappled with that right until the end. But he was he felt a mightily powerful ministry, he still was a real preacher of the Gospels, showing people this kingdom of God, wasn’t he?
Yeah, definitely, I think we, what we can learn is that healing can happen in many ways, or not at all. Yeah, I think that’s really important to stress actually, that God has good intentions for us. That even if we are not healed in the way we expect, God still loves us, and wants good for us. And if we go back to Kate bola, who the Theologian with cancer, who was spoke about earlier, she’s not been healed from cancer, or at least not yet. And she may never be. But she still believes.
Because I’m because of her cancer, her faith has actually deepened. She’s come to appreciate the messiness of life and the importance of suffering. And it’s become a huge beacon for many, I would go to say a million, probably millions of people across the world. Definitely, she has such a strong example, isn’t she of, of how we can we can deepen our faith in the midst of suffering. And I think that’s really important, actually. And as a vicar, I don’t think it’s easy to things for me to tell people, that sometimes God leaves us in our suffering. As we want answers, aren’t those fairytale Lego frozen answers, don’t we, but often, God, God, God’s still with us in our suffering, and God may never take that suffering from us. And that’s the thing I think, if I go back to a book where that I used to that I’d read a long time ago, Philip Yancey, his book, he talks about where is God when it hurts? And he does link that, you know, he shows that different people healing meant different things. And that doesn’t have to have always a physical manifestation of no healing, healing may actually be a foretaste of the kingdom of God. But it’s only a foretaste, isn’t it? It doesn’t mean we have to be healed. So it may feel that that foretaste of heaven, but others might know. I’m not I’m that’s really hard to hear, I know. But it can often be the hope for us
that this is only a foretaste,
that God wants a deeper relationship with us that there’s a promise of eternal life that goes long beyond and goes far beyond our suffering. So Josh, how do we make this all about our discipleship? Well, that that’s really the question we were getting to, wasn’t it? I mean, we’ve had our funky facts. We’ve had our really fascinating stuff, and I’ve actually loved this week. It’s helped me think about
About my my faith journey and how I approach healing, but when it comes down to healing, and our discipleship, I think it’s about, it’s about a deepening of our relationship with God. I think that’s what you spoke about, with Kate bolas story, that as we we’ve explored, as we’ve seen in the Gospel, Jesus uses healing to demonstrate the kingdom of God. And when we see people heal today, that’s a foretaste of that it’s a foretaste of those promises God has given us. And as we see that, and as we suffer, it’s all about deepening of our relationship, deepening of our trust. So it’s all about relationship. Yeah. As as should be. And so have you got any ideas on how we could maybe delete or deepen our relationship with God? Well, let’s return to Luke 10. It feels like we’ve used Luke 10. I was gonna use other examples today. But But I think actually, that speaks quite, quite beautifully. This idea of whole life, design, whole life, wellness, whole life health. If we look at Luke 10, to begin with, we can love God. That’s what that’s what the expert says, Jesus love Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength, strength, even when it’s hard to do so. I think especially when it’s hard, I think they’re the times that we really need
to dig deep and focus. Yeah, definitely. Just like when we get on a treadmill and want to lose weight, we can also begin to put practices into our faith, that deepen our spiritual resilience. And we can put those practices in our daily lives that make us spiritually healthy. And maybe in the next episode, we will look at some practical examples of those kinds of practices. That sounds like an amazing idea. So Josh, I think one thing that we haven’t explored is that Jesus body post resurrection hadn’t actually been healed. Yeah, we definitely probably could look more at that. But I think we’ve we’ve talked a lot today. And we’ve kind of we’ve covered a lot of ground. Maybe in our next podcast, when we’re going to look at different ways of discipleship, different ways of healing can relate to our life. Maybe we could look at it then. And especially when we’re looking at the Eucharist, and receiving Jesus body. What do you think? Absolutely. I think we have covered a lot of ground. There is a lot been a lot of facts, a lot of things for people to absorb from this week. And I think we should leave them to maybe ponder. Those three points we offered earlier. Yeah, definitely. What What were they get forgotten?
Well, Josh, they are number one, that healing is at the heart of our faith. Yep. Number two, that healing is at the heart of our gospel. Yep. And number three, that healing is linked to our salvation. That seems like an amazing place to stop actually today, doesn’t it? It does. And I hope you’ve got those three. Yeah, I’m, I’m right now. And I’m right now, actually, before we wrap up our recording, though, when we had to ask people to join us in this conversation? Yes, definitely. And how can they do that? Well, if they have any ways that they could link their health, emotional memories, they are linking health and discipleship. Not Oh, we’d love to hear about them. That can be physical that could be I don’t like running and pray. Although I’ve heard that if you run with your eyes closed, you went into things, not training myself. You don’t have to pray with your eyes closed, you know this, right.
But anyway, that they they link their health with their discipleship, we’d love to hear from them. But how could we hear from them? Well, we’d love to include them in the next podcast. And so you could leave us a voice recording, you could email that to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Yeah. So I
put that in the I’ll put all this in the podcast blurb so that people can find the links. So yeah, so they can either send us a voice recording, or they could send that on via Facebook. Or you could just send us a written message, either to email@example.com. Or, again through Facebook, and we will read that out in the next podcast. That would be that would be really cool idea, wouldn’t it? But for now, should we offer a prayer about health and life and salvation? I think that’d be a really cool idea. Shall I pray for us? That would be amazing. So the prayer we’re going to use comes from the Iona community and it’s a prayer for anyone really who’s suffering today could say, I think,
shall we pray?
spirits of the living God, present with us now enter me body, mind and spirit and heal me of all that harms me in Jesus’s name.
And may God bless all those who listened today and always. Amen. People said Amen. Amen. Thank you for listening to us today. Yeah, definitely. Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you