Chapter 54

 

Healing for All Who Need It

 

“Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him: and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead; And of some, that Elias had appeared; and of others, that one of the old prophets was risen again. And Herod said, John have I beheaded: but who is this, of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see him. And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done. And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida. And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing.”

(Luke 9:7-11)

 

A Guilty Conscience

 

Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him: and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead” (v. 7). — It is hard to live with a guilty conscience. The wise man tells us, “The way of the transgressor is hard” (Proverbs 13:15). Nothing on earth is more persistently tormenting to a man than a guilty conscience. This is what Herod discovered.

 

            Herod was a powerful, wealthy, influential man; but the news of our Lord’s ministry and the great power of God he demonstrated caused that “great” man to tremble like a child. His guilty conscience caused him to imagine things that terrified him. His numerous guards and fortified palace could not secure him from the fears stirred in his soul by a tormenting conscience.

 

            Though he was surrounded by everything the world thinks will make life easy and enjoyable, Herod was a miserable man. The report of a preacher of righteousness reminded him of that great Prophet’s forerunner and filled him with terror. The remembrance of his sin in murdering John the Baptist was a burning fire in his soul that he could not quench. He saw the Baptist’s head on a charger day and night; and he could not get it out of his sight. He could not put it out of his mind.

 

Herod’s sin found him out. The prison and the sword had silenced the Baptist’s tongue; but they could not silence his voice. It kept ringing in Herod’s ears, reverberating through his soul and screaming in his conscience. At this very hour, in hell Herod is still tormented by the memory of that preacher of righteousness whom he refused to hear, whom he beheaded. Here are three mighty, instructive lessons to be learned from this single verse of Holy Scripture.

 

1.    God’s truth can never be bound or silenced.

 

The preaching of the Gospel will either bring forth fruit unto life eternal in your soul, or it will be the fire of hell in your soul forever. It will be to you either a savor of life unto life or of death unto death; but you will not silence God’s Word (2 Corinthians 2:14-16).

 

2.    Your conscience is the undying echo of God’s holy law in your soul.

 

Mock and laugh if you dare; but you know that is the truth. You may never acknowledge it this side of eternity; but you do not even question that fact. You know it is so. Your conscience is the undying echo of God’s holy law in your soul.

 

            If I am not mistaken, conscience is the most powerful part of our constitution as moral creatures. Conscience cannot save anyone. Conscience can never bring anyone to Christ. Every man’s conscience is, by reason of sin, blind, ignorant and misdirected. Yet, the conscience raises a loud testimony and protest in the soul against sin. It makes the guilty soul uneasy. It causes the transgressor to tremble. It is the consciousness of guilt and sin that causes all men to fear death, judgment and eternity.

 

            Untold millions will testify in the last day that Herod’s experience is their own. Their consciences will call their old sins out of their graves, parade them around in their hearts, and cause them to burn as unquenchable fire in their souls and gnaw as undying death worms upon their hearts!

 

3.    There is only one cure for a guilty conscience: The Blood of Christ!

 

Nothing can satisfy my conscience except that which satisfies the law and justice of God. Nothing can quieten my screaming conscience but the perfect righteousness and blood atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. But, blessed be God, his blood satisfies and silences the screams of my guilty conscience. Indeed, his blood compels my conscience to declare me justified (Hebrews 9:11-14).

 

And of some, that Elias had appeared; and of others, that one of the old prophets was risen again” (v. 8). — Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Malachi had all been dead for hundreds of years; but they being dead continued to speak. Their voices could not be silenced. Though Herod was a pagan, though the Jews did not believe them, though the Gentiles held them in utter contempt, those prophets still troubled those who lived as rebels against God.

 

That old heathen, Herod, when his guard was down, acknowledged as matters of fact that he could not deny the resurrection of the dead and the everlasting immortality of his soul. Eternal life and eternal death are things inscribed upon every soul. You may pretend it is all fiction; but when guilt rises in your soul and your conscience screams at the prospect of death, try as you may, you will never convince yourself that eternity is a myth.

 

And Herod said, John have I beheaded: but who is this, of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see him” (v. 9). — He whom John the Baptist had declared to be the Lamb of God, the Messiah, the Christ, the King of Israel, now began to make himself known as the incarnate God, of whom all the prophets spoke; and Herod was terrified. The Lord Jesus verified John’s ministry so plainly that Herod trembled when he heard of Christ’s doctrine, his miracles and his divine authority.

 

An Accounting

 

And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done” (v. 10). — The Master had sent these men out to preach the Gospel. When their work was done, they returned to him and gave an account of all that they had done in his name: the doctrine they preached, the methods they employed, the people who received their word and those who received them not. — Soon, we shall do the same. The hour is coming when we shall return to him who sent us out to serve in his kingdom and give an account.

 

“And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida” (v. 10). — Let us learn what is set before us here. Those who labor for the glory of Christ, the interests of his kingdom, the furtherance of his Gospel and the souls of men must be careful that they make time to be alone with God themselves. This is essential to our spiritual health and well being. If we neglect our own souls, we will soon be compelled to weep with bitter sorrow, “They made me keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard have I not kept” (Song of Solomon 1:6).

 

            Laziness is an abominable thing. It is utterly reprehensible for men and women to spend their lives in idleness and leisure. Gospel preachers, particularly, ought to devote themselves to the work of the ministry, to study, to prayer, to preaching, to the furtherance of the Gospel. But, we must not neglect our own souls; and we must be careful not to neglect God’s appointed means of grace: public worship, the preaching of the Gospel, personal reading and study of the Scriptures, private meditation, prayer and communion with our God

 

At times, I find it necessary to put my books and my pen down, push back from my desk, perhaps go for a drive, take a walk, or even get away from things for a day or two, to make earnest inquiries of my heart. — “Where are you?” — “What are you doing?” — “Why are you doing this?” Blessed are those Christ Jesus takes “privately into a desert place,” that he might minister to their souls’ needs.

 

The Kingdom of God

 

And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing” (v. 11). — What a tender, gracious Man our Savior was as he walked on this earth. He was tired. He had labored feverishly. He had now come aside with his disciples for some much needed rest. Yet, when the people followed him, pouring out their hearts’ needs, waiting to hear his word, “he received them.” May God give me grace to imitate my Master!

 

            “He spake unto them of the kingdom of God.” — If you read through the four gospels again and read them with care, you cannot fail to see that this was always the subject of our Lord’s ministry in public and in private. He spoke of the spiritual nature of the kingdom of God. He proclaimed the Gospel of the kingdom of God. He declared salvation to be nothing less than the establishment of God’s rule in our hearts. Faith in Christ is nothing less than the voluntary surrender of ourselves to his dominion as our Lord and King. It is the willing surrender of our lives to him (Luke 9:24).

 

Healing for all Who Need Healing

 

Next we read that the Son of God graciously “healed them that had need of healing.” It is true, he will neither break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax. But this text says more. Our Savior “healed them that had need of healing.” I take that to mean this: — The Son of God is gracious to all who need grace, heals all who need healing and saves all who need saving.

 

            On this occasion, there was not a single soul in the presence of Christ who needed that healing which he alone could give who was not healed by him. The extremity of the cases did not baffle him. The multitude of needs did not diminish his supply of grace. The weakness and inabilities of the multitude to assist in their healing did not prevent them from being healed. Be sure you understand the meaning of this: — There is still healing for all who need it in Christ!

 

“Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood

Shall never lose its power

‘Til all the ransomed Church of God

Be saved to sin no more.”

 

Our Savior’s name is Jehovah-rapha – “The Lord that healeth thee!” There is no lack of saving power and grace in him. There is no want of ability with the Almighty. Do you need healing in your soul? Many like you have been healed by the Lord Jesus. Somewhere in the Word of God you will find another just like you who was healed by the Son of God. Are you full of great, horrible wickedness? Did not the Lord Jesus cast seven devils out of Magdalene? Perhaps your wickedness seems to be greater than even seven devils. Did he not drive a whole legion of devils out of the demoniac of the Gadarene? You may find that you cannot pray, but he healed one possessed of a dumb devil. Are you hardened and insensible? He cast out a deaf devil. Maybe you think you cannot believe. I assure you that you cannot. Neither could that man with the withered arm stretch out his arm, but he did it when the Son of God said, “Stretch forth thy hand.” He can give you faith. Though you are dead in sin, the Lord Jesus can heal still. He raises the dead! — Your case is no match for his grace. The Lord Jesus has conquered the like before many times.

 

I know that the Lord Jesus can heal you, because in all the history of the world there is no record of a solitary soul who came to him for healing who was not healed. His promise is sure. —”Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.

 

There is no question that he can heal you, for this Man is himself God almighty. He is God come to save. He came here specifically to bind up the broken hearted. – Pause and consider all that he has done for the healing of sinners. He earned the authority to exercise almighty grace by his Mediatoral accomplishments (John 17:2).

 

I know that the Lord Jesus can heal you. I have no question about that, because he has healed and is healing me. The only question to be answered is this: — Do you need healing? If you do, if you need healing, he will heal you. If you need grace, he will give it. If you need mercy, he will bestow it. If you need saving, he will save you.

 

“To understand these things aright, this grand distinction should be known:

Though all are sinners in God’s sight, there are but few so in their own.

To such as these our Lord was sent; they’re only sinners who repent.]

 

What comfort can a Savior bring to those who never felt their woe?

A sinner is a sacred thing; the Holy Ghost hath made him so.

New life from Him we must receive, before for sin we rightly grieve.

 

This faithful saying let us own, well worthy ‘tis to be believed,

That Christ into the world came down, that sinners might by Him be saved.

Sinners are high in His esteem, and sinners highly value Him.”

Joseph Hart             

 

The Lord Jesus still heals all that need healing. If you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, your faith in him is the gift of his grace to you and in you. He has healed you of your soul’s disease. You are born of God. You cannot perish.

            I once read the story of a man who had been condemned to die by a Spanish court. In the first week of September in 1869 he stood before a firing squad. All appeals on his behalf had been denied. The United States government declared that the Spanish courts had no power to try him, much less execute him. But the Spanish were determined to carry out their sentence. On the day he was to die, the Ambassador of the United States walked out onto the field between the condemned man and his executioners. He wrapped the condemned man in an American flag and defiantly said to the marksmen, “Fire if you dare. If you defy the nation represented by that flag, you will bring all the fury and power of the United States of America upon you.” There stood the man. Before him were the executioners of death. A single shot would have been his death. But wrapped in the stars and stripes, he was as completely invulnerable as if he had been wrapped in a coat of steel.

            So it is with every believer. The Lord Jesus Christ has wrapped us in the blood red flag of Calvary, and before God’s holy law can pierce that flag, it must declare the blood of Christ null and void; and that shall never be! There is healing for all who need it in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

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