Medicine by touch? I had never thought of the Gospel miracles from the healer’s point of view. I had only considered them from the perspective of the one who was healed. I had spent many years of my life reading about medicine for I longed to be a doctor – a healer. Yet I knew that I would not do the actual healing myself. It would be the medication prescribed, the surgery and, perhaps, the hand of God that would cause any healing to happen. So when I finished reading Asa’s account I was deeply moved. How wonderful to be able to heal people merely by touching them in the power of the Holy Spirit. I wondered idly if such a thing still happened today. If it did, why was Benjamin not healed of cancer? The idea was just too big for me to grasp. I smiled ruefully as I realised that I would just have to go on studying! Medical science had advanced so much since Asa’s day that I thought perhaps it was the miracle that God used every day to heal people.
I read Benjamin’s note again. It astonished me. I did not understand the name Yeshua and so looked it up. I discovered it is the Hebrew translation of the name Jesus and both mean ‘the Lord is Salvation’. Benjamin, a man of Jewish descent, was beginning to suspect that Jesus was the Messiah! How many times must he have read the Scriptures, including the New Testament, studying and researching them? Perhaps that was the crux of the matter. Perhaps he had read and understood with his mind and not felt the message in his heart.
That was what I had done all my life. As a small boy, my mother had read Bible stories to my brother and me. I had enjoyed the experience. She would sit between us (my sister was too young to join us) and would turn off the main light, and read by the light of a table lamp. I loved the soft light, her closeness and the smell of her rose-scented skin from the soap she used. The stories were exciting – battles and miracles. She read them in such a way that they were heart-stopping – and yet they were just stories to me. As a boy I had listened with my mind and my sense of adventure, but never with my heart, however well she read them.
However these stories that I held in my hands were beginning to touch my heart. In spite of my original scepticism I had begun to recognise the authenticity of each story; and I liked the straightforward simplicity in the way they were told. The unusual perspective of a third person speaking shone a new light on the familiar stories of the Gospels. Each one, in its own way, was told by a different person whose life had been changed by Jesus. Was it possible that he could change my life too?
It baffles me that an ordinary man was given the power to heal, merely by touch. And he was not the only one! It is difficult to accept and believe.
But the next story may stretch your mind beyond the point it is prepared to go. I could not believe it when I first read it. I mulled it over for several days, struggling with its truth. Of course, I am familiar with the story; perhaps too familiar. How many times had I read these stories, all of them, and glossed over them, without realising the impact they would have had on the people concerned?
It has taken me a while but I have come to realise that if all the other stories are true, why should this one not be? If Jesus was indeed Messiah, why should this be impossible for him?
Open your mind, Ben. Do not let your understanding limit you. Some things are just not there for the understanding but rather for the believing.