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When a Step of Faith Results in Healing

The author of the Gospel of Luke writes with a Greek style. Based upon first century historians, Luke was a physician who accompanied the apostle Paul on several missionary trips. It’s unclear if Luke served as Paul’s personal doctor like a modern-day nurse, but he does notice and reflect upon Jesus’ unusual healing methods. On two different occasions, a step of faith results in miraculous healings.

And they raised up their voices and called, Jesus, Master, take pity and have mercy on us! 14 And when He saw them, He said to them, Go [at once] and show yourselves to the priests. And as they went, they were cured and made clean, Luke 17:13-14.

Modern self-help gurus often refer to the power of human minds. This is where you can go down a slippery slope theologically where some use faith as a force to bring about healing. This is not what Luke is referring to based upon the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 21:20-22. When people in desperate need of a miracle exchange their doubts with belief in the God of miracles, a step of faith can result in healing.

And Jesus went with them. But when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent [some] friends to Him, saying, Lord, do not trouble [Yourself], for I am not [a]sufficiently worthy to have You come under my roof; Neither did I consider myself worthy to come to You. But [just] speak a word, and my servant boy will be healed. For I also am a man [daily] subject to authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my bond servant, Do this, and he does it. Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and He turned and said to the crowd that followed Him, I tell you, not even in [all] Israel have I found such great faith [as this], Luke 7:6-9.

An event that takes place earlier in the gospel of Luke proves this point. The centurion in biblical times is a non-com officer in the Roman Army who oversaw 100 men. Using his experience with the chain of command, the centurion didn’t want to waste Jesus’ precious time. All this man needed was for Jesus to give a command, to say the word. When belief replaces doubt, a step of faith results in healing.

by Jay Mankus

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The Value of a Statue

Ancient Greece memorialized their heroes by erecting statues of gods and goddesses throughout cities like Athens.  When visitors passed through the streets, these monuments served as a reminder of their importance within the Greek culture.  During a first century mission trip to this region, the apostle Paul took some time to explore before Silas and Timothy arrived.  While waiting for his friends, Paul became overwhelmed by the images he observed.  Despite being offended, Paul desperately sought to engage the citizens of Greece, searching for something, anything they shared in common.

While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols, Acts 17:16.

Although Paul does not give an actual number of statues that he witnessed, it appears to be in the hundreds.  As a former Pharisee, the zealot within him immediately thinks of these statues as idols, breaking the second commandment within the Torah, You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them,” Exodus 20:4.  However, the teaching of Jesus moved Paul to put a positive spin on what he saw, calling a crowd of Greeks religious.  This compliment opens the door to allow Paul to introduce philosophers to the unknown God based upon an altar erected by a former citizen.

Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious.  For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you,” Acts 17:22-23.

Sure, every culture possesses something that is offensive.  Whether this is a document, religious background or statue, history is meant to educate individuals, not divide citizens.  The United States of America was founded on the principle of free speech earning the nickname back in the 1970’s as the great American melting pot.  The first amendment of the Bill of Rights declares Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.  This is what makes America great.  However, if the citizens of this country allow government officials to destroy or remove historic statues of the past, there were will nothing to warn us from making the same mistakes.  May the events of Charlottesville in August of 2017 help people see the real value of a statue.

by Jay Mankus

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