Mark 1 v 40 – 45; 2 Kings 5 v 9 – 19.
Believe it or Not
A couple of weeks ago I joined two or three hundred other people at four thirty in the afternoon, to descend on Derby Arena, a sports centre and music venue on the outskirts of Derby.
Just to make it clear, we were not attending an illegal, ‘Rave’, and it was in compliance with COVID restrictions.
We were all gradually making our way, in 2m intervals, towards having our COVID vaccination.
As I was moving slowly but steadily towards the appointed chair, I began to realise that I actually knew very little about the substance that was shortly to be injected into my arm.
I knew nothing about its chemical content, I knew nothing about how it will circulate around my body, and I didn’t even know what it looked like.
So why did I believe that this act of vaccination could save my life and perhaps more importantly, save the lives of other people?
Many years ago, I was involved in MAYC, (Methodist Association of Youth Clubs) and helped to organise Youth Weekends and workshops for young Christians. During some of the workshops we played a game which involved having one minute to explain to others why we passionately believed in something. This varied from football, and pop music, to fashion and food, but the most difficult one for our young people to explain, was why they believed in Jesus.
After all everything we believe in Jesus is humanly impossible.
Jesus died on the cross, was buried, and on the third day he was raised from the dead, left the tomb and met with his disciples. He met them, not as a ghostly vision, but as flesh and blood. He ate and drank with the disciples.
There is no wonder the young Christians had a problem in explaining their belief.
We advised our young people to look at the evidence.
The Bible gives all the evidence we need, from different people at different times, and from different perspectives, but all giving the same message, that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the Son of God and through belief in him we are saved.
The indisputable facts are what Jesus has done for each one of us on a personal level. Jesus has changed lives, given strength when we were weak, given hope when despair had taken hope away.
Everything that Jesus has done for us is evidence that cannot be disputed.
In Marks Gospel, (Mark 1 v 40 to 45) we learn about a man with a dreaded skin disease who came to Jesus and begged him to make him clean, to heal him of the dreaded disease.
He was probably a Leper so would have been isolated from society so his visit to Jesus is surprising in itself.
We don’t know if the man had met with Jesus before, or heard Jesus preaching, or just heard from other people about Jesus, but we know that this man believed that Jesus could and would heal him.
There was no doubt in his mind, he knew because he believed, and because he believed he was healed.
The man believed that Jesus was the Son of God with the power to heal and the power to end the man’s misery.
He approached Jesus with reverence, kneeling before him, he was desperate imploring Jesus to make him clean but he was humble by saying, ‘If you are willing to heal me’. It was a personal request to Jesus and Jesus made a personal response.
Jesus reached out his hand; – just think – the hand of God reaching out to answer a believer’s prayer.
Jesus told the man not to publicize how he had been healed but to go directly to the Priest who was the only person who could declare the man healed.
Unfortunately as so often is the case, the man was so excited over meeting with Jesus and being healed that he shouted from the rooftops.
Naaman in Kings, (2 Kings 5 v 9 to 19) on the other hand was not so sure, and I’m not convinced that that he really believed that Elisha could heal him, but he thought it was worth a try.
He was even less convinced when Elisha didn’t even come out of his tent to see Naaman. He just sent a servant with a message, and it took considerable persuasion to get Naaman to bathe seven times in the Jorden. But when he did, he was healed and then he believed.
Unlike the man in Marks Gospel, Naaman needed the evidence before he believed.
Blessed are those who believe.
I can confirm that I had my vaccination and contrary to popular belief, my arm did not drop off, neither did I suffer from any of the multitude of side effects that other people had warned me about.
I just have to wait until April for the second instalment.