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Service of Prayer for Healing

St. Luke 4.18-21/James 5.13-16

KWeise

Service of Prayer for Healing
Lutheran Senior Services at Meramec Bluffs  
Ballwin, Missouri

Thu, Jan 13, 2011 

Soli Deo Gloria. Amen.

Invocation In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

1 Christ our Lord, stands in his hometown synagogue and reads from the prophet Isaiah:

[St. Luke 4.18-21]

18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. 20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

In the sight of people who have known him his entire life, Jesus proclaims himself the Messiah.  As the Messiah he will preach the gospel of salvation to those who are poor.  He will heal those whose hearts are broken; proclaim deliverance to everyone held captive, restore the sight of those who do not see, and set free all who bear the bruises of suffering.  Put it all together, and Jesus' presence, preaching, and public ministry can mean only one thing: The acceptable year of the Lord has arrived, and is here.  So Jesus says, at the very beginning of his sermon:

[St. Luke 4.21]

. . . This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

2 This day, at Meramec Bluffs, is this scripture fulfilled in our ears as well.  Our Lord Jesus Christ, who proclaimed such great blessings to the people of Nazareth, by the Holy Spirit proclaims them to us today.  Are you poor in spirit?  Today Christ preaches the good news of the gospel to you.  Are you brokenhearted?  Today Christ proclaims healing for your pain.  Does regret or sin or anything else hold you captive?  Today Christ brings deliverance from it all.  Today, the blind see, the bruised are set free, and the acceptable year of the Lord is at hand.  That's what our gathering here today is all about: Right here, right now Christ is lavishly bestowing upon us these precious gifts, and we by faith receive them.

3 A word of caution is in order, though.  To those who have not been blessed with the Spirit of God, there may seem to be no miraculous healings during this service.  Those of you who arrived in your wheelchairs will likely leave just the same way.  Those who came in unable to see will likely depart with the same difficulty you had when you arrived.  The brokenhearted will still contemplate relationships that are broken.  The downhearted and poor in spirit will most likely continue to face emotional struggle and challenge.  Most likely, there will be no miracles in this place today.  At least it will seem that way to those who see with only physical eyes.

4 But to those of us who have been granted the Spirit of God, we know we will leave here different than we came.  And the cause of that difference in our lives is the Lord Jesus Christ.  By his word, spoken to us by the Holy Spirit through Scriptures, we will be changed.  This change been happening since our worship started.  After we confessed our sins, we heard these words:

Almighty God in his mercy has given his Son to die for you and for His sake forgives you all your sins. 

This word of forgiveness is the gospel that Jesus proclaims us poor, miserable sinners.  This word of grace is God's word of deliverance to those held captive in the bonds of sin.  This word of heaven is Christ's proclamation of sight to the blind and liberty to the bruised and beaten down.  Forgiveness of our sins is our ultimate healing.  Unlike the latest medicine, the effects of forgiveness will not go away.  Unlike the latest approach in therapy, the promise of forgiveness will never fade and its power will not lessen over time.  God's forgiveness in Christ Jesus is eternal, just as our Lord is eternal.  When Jesus proclaims the gospel to us; when he forgives our sins, we are indeed forgiven.  We are saved from sin, death, and hell.  And we are made well: from sin, from sickness, from heartache, you name it.  Christ's word of forgiveness is our invitation into the acceptable year of the LORD and the unending blessings of his presence.  There, in God's eternal presence he

[Revelation 21.4]

shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away.

6 And yet, while we live in this world; while we await the great and glorious day of the Lord when we shall be taken bodily into everlasting life, we still know our share of suffering.  So St. James, the brother of our Lord exhorts us:

[James 5.13-16]

13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. 14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. 16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Through St. James, God reveals our greatest and most powerful weapons against all our present, earthly afflictions: prayer and confession.

[James 5.13-16]

Is any among you afflicted?  (St. James, asks) Let him pray.

Pray for what?  For faith that believes and receives the blessings of Christ.  For faithful ears to hear the Word of God and hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.  For faithful souls to heed God's promises and welcome the acceptable year of the Lord: Even when we cannot see it.  Even when we cannot feel it.  Even when it seems that we leave here just the same as when we came in.  This kind of prayer saves the sick, for the Lord raises up those who believe in him.

7 In addition to prayer, we make use of confession.  Confession of our sins to God, and to one another.

[James 5.16]

Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another, that ye may be healed.  The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

The prayer of confession is always answered by our God with healing.  Healing of our souls now.  And the promise of everlasting healing for our bodies at the consummation of the age.  When in our prayers we not only ask for God's blessing, but confess our sins, God responds with his gracious promise:

[Revelation 21.5]

Behold, I make all things new.

8 With Spirit-given faith in this promise of our Lord, we cherish the words he first spoke in the synagogue and Nazareth:

[St. Luke 4.18-20, 21b]

18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. 20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 . . . This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

For by these words Christ promises that we will leave here with souls that have been made well by his grace, and bodies that will certainly be restored on the day of his glorious return.  For

[Isaiah 53.4-5]

4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Invocation In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.



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