I will be speaking at a small, quiet healing service this Sunday night; friends will come with broken hearts and broken bodies, hoping for a touch from Jesus.
Why can we hold a healing service with hope that Jesus will heal?
I will try to bless my friends in their hope by reminding them about the larger story we live.
Our story began in a Garden, where no one needed healing.
Then, a Fall. Our enemy tempted Adam and Eve to leave the protective authority of God and come under his destructive rule: Enter death, mourning, crying and pain, and the need for services of healing.
Everything we might bring to Jesus at healing service entered the world at the Fall.
C.S. Lewis allegorizes our state under this painful rule in “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” where Narnia is frozen under the spell of the White Witch; in Narnia it is “always winter and never Christmas,” (p.20).
Isaiah and Matthew call this oppression darkness: they say we live “in a land of great darkness” and “in the shadow of death,” (Is 9:2; Matt 4:16). But these writers quickly declare “a light has dawned.” Christmas has come; Jesus has come.
And at the cross where Jesus died God drove His stake into the ground, declaring His intention to reclaim this place for Himself. As Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God is at hand,” (Mk 1:15).
Lewis’ allegory is apt because the Bible paints a picture of the clash of two kingdoms. Jesus’ life on earth was the arrival of the Kingdom of God and the beginning of the end of the kingdom of His enemy and ours.
In Narnia, Lewis pictures the arrival of Jesus (Aslan) through images of winter melting: flowers bloom through the snow; frozen rivers gush with water and ice; the air turns warm. The animals see the signs and know what is happening: “Aslan (the lion-king) is on the move!” they cry (p. 84).
In our world the signs accompanying the arrival of Jesus were healings: “the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them,” (Lk 7:22). “The Kingdom of God is at hand!” Jesus cried (Mk 1:15).
In Narnia, Aslan gives himself to the witch and her mob of demons. They humiliate and butcher him with glee. BUT, the next morning the table under him cracks and he appears, shaking a glorious mane and roaring terrible roar. To the astonished children with him he explains a deep magic decreeing that “when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backward,” (p. 179).
This is the image I want to leave with my friends on Sunday evening: Healing is Jesus’ ministry of rolling back the death that entered the world at the Fall, each healing pointing to the arrival of the rightful King and his intention to return this world to a condition where services of healing will be unnecessary. When death works backward in our lives our experiences look like this:
* spiritual healing – the movement from spiritual death to spiritual life (Eph 2:1,4)
* emotional healing – the restoration of our broken hearts (Is 61:1)
* physical healing – – the temporary reversal of physical death (Mt 11:5)
* deliverance – transfer back under the protective authority of God (Col 1:13)
These healings point to God’s good intention to return things to his original design.
Listen to the words describing the victory of God’s Kingdom: “God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away,” (Rev 21:3-5). This is God’s heart, friends.
In Narnia, after Aslan returns from death, he tears through the land breathing on the creatures the Witch has turned to stone. His breath, like a flame, causes life to spark through marble; soon each animal is ablaze with color and LIFE (p. 184). Death works backward.
So, we hope for healing because we live in this larger story: a kingdom of oppression is losing its grip; the rightful King is “on the move,” beginning to role death backward; and we have the unquenchable joy that we are on our way to a place where there will never be a service of healing again.
On Sunday, I will end my meditation with this prayer and with this great hope: “May Jesus breath on each of us tonight, and may death work backward.”
May it also be true for you.
Further reading: Col 2:14-15; Jn 14:30; 1 Jn 3:8; Eze 37:1-10; Eze 36:26-27; Gen 2:7; Jn 20:22