A friend asked, “Does Jesus own the healing power? He’s the one dispensing it.”
It’s a legitimate question – even if limited to the theoretical, but especially if it’s about real life, because it’s a question of who can access God’s power to heal (or to harm). This matters.
I thought for a moment about what i think God is like, and said, “No, Jesus doesn’t own it.”
We had just looked at Luke 8, where two stories – one about a church president’s daughter and one about a bleeding woman – are sandwiched together. Jesus is helping people and there’s a big crowd. In the middle of the crowd, a church president lies down at Jesus’ feet and begs Jesus to heal his daughter. On the way to the church president’s house, a woman sneaks up and touches the bottom of Jesus’ cloak, and she’s healed. Jesus stops and says, “Who touched me?” because he can feel that somebody just accessed the power that flows through him. The woman confesses, terrified; but Jesus is happy. He tells her, “You found the power you needed! I’m so glad! That’s what healed you.” Then he goes to the church leader’s house and wakes up the little girl.
So here’s what my friend is asking: If that lady could just touch his clothes and be healed, is Jesus even in control of this power? And, Do I have to bow before him or pray to him just the right way – whatever that is – to get it?
These questions might come from someone who wants to find healing and can’t.
These questions might come from someone who distrusts power and feels shut out.
These questions might come from someone hopeful about being able to get close to the good thing.
When I said to my friend that I don’t think Jesus owns the healing power, my friend said, “Yeah – but – if this woman can just get it without Jesus even knowing about it, who DOES own it?”
And I saw something in my head, and I said:
“Imagine a banquet table that can never run out of wonderful food. Jesus knows where the food is. He’s tasted it. He goes around, carrying the food, telling people about it. If someone says they want it, he hands it to them, whatever he can carry that day. He tells everybody who’ll listen where the room with the table with the food is. He hands out maps. He wants everyone to have the good thing. He gets discouraged because not many people will be open – hungry – enough to go find it, but he doesn’t stop.”
And my friend said, “Yeah, but, not anybody can just get to it, right?”
Orthodoxy flashed through my head. And exclusivism. And freedom.
And I said, “No, I think anybody can. I mean, why not?”
Jesus’ disciples once were angry because a man who wasn’t part of Jesus’ school was throwing out harmful spirits by using Jesus’ name. Jesus said, “Don’t stop them. They’re not against us; they’re giving people the good thing.” His “name” was just another map. Jesus wants everybody to have one. “You found what you needed! I’m so glad! That’s what healed you.”
I mean, the room’s unlocked anyway. There’s plenty. I don’t think Jesus gives a shit how I got there, what key I thought I had to have, what I brought with me. Jesus just knows where the table is and is trying to get everybody there.
This is my son. Listen to him. He’s got a map.