Sunday August 10, 2008 | Greg Boyd
On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a
woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent
over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and
said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her,
and immediately she straightened up and praised God.
Our passage this week shows Jesus healing a crippled woman. Jesus and his disciples regularly healed the sick and the lame and cast out demons by taking authority over the situation “in Jesus' name.” This challenges us to consider the power and authority our own words and actions have in our daily lives.
Greg began by pointing out that the woman was crippled by a spirit and was not
crippled by any fault of her own. He reminded us that this world is under the
authority of Satan and the spirits that are loyal to Satan oppress all of creation,
including folks like this woman. The reason Jesus came was to break this
bondage and bring freedom and life back to creation. As the church—the Body of
Christ—we too have the same mission. We are to bring freedom and life to the
world around us. One way Jesus did that is through physical healings as we have
seen in our passage today.
Greg spent some time showing that Jesus didn’t actually ask God to heal the sick
or cast out demons. Jesus did these things on his own authority. What was
perhaps surprising is that this authority is not related to Jesus being God, but
rather the perfect human being. God intended humanity to have dominion over all
creation. We were designed to be stewards and caretakers, but we forfeited our
authority to do this when we sinned. Jesus corrects this situation and is the first
human to walk in truly right relationship to God. But he is not supposed to be the
last! We too are to walk in the way Jesus did. We see that Jesus’ disciples did
this and they cast out demons and healed the sick. Greg pointed out several
texts that make this clear like Luke 9:1, Luke 10:19, John 14:12 and Acts 3:6.
From here Greg focused on the connection between power, authority and the
spoken word. In Matthew 8:8-9 the centurion got it right. He knew that Jesus had
the authority to heal his servant, but he also knew that the power would not be
released to do the healing unless Jesus spoke the words. Greg then discussed
the abuses that are common in some circles when it comes to “naming it, and
The four dangers Greg identified that are common to the “Word of Faith” and
“Positive Confession” groups were:
1. It fails to appreciate Jewish hyperbole (stating something in extreme and
unqualified terms for emphasis.)
2. It doesn’t adequately take into consideration all of the Bible.
3. It tends to embrace and even “Christian-ize” Western consumer values.
4. It asks people to pretend.
But before we throw the baby out with the bathwater, Greg was quick to remind us that
there is a profound truth in this movement that we often overlook: When we are
submitted to God’s reign, we have authority to speak Kingdom wholeness into all that is
broken “in Jesus’ name.” What we believe about our authority and what we speak with
authority is vitally important in determining how much of the Kingdom will be manifested
in us and through us.
This awareness of the power of our words is a strong theme in Scripture. James 3:4-5
and Matthew 12:36 clearly show that we need to be mindful of how we use our tongues.
As he wrapped up, Greg gave us a pattern to live by: remember, imitate, speak. We are
to remember the authority we have in Christ, and how we are called to live. We then are
to imitate Jesus in our actions in response to whatever we encounter in life. And we are
to speak the truth in love, which includes speaking wholeness and healing in our own
lives and the lives of others.
1. Do you see yourself as a healer? If not, what keeps you from accepting
the authority Greg spoke about in today’s message? If you do see
yourself as a healer, do you recognize any of the four mistakes Greg
mentioned in your own life?
2. Of what would you like to be healed personally?
3. How are you doing with your “rudder”? In other words, take a few
minutes to consider how you use your tongue. Do you bless others
with your words? Consider two opportunities to bless others that you
have this week.