The verse that I have for today was given to one of our founding leaders, Miss Taylor, when she had her original call from God relative to the early days of our church. The verse is that spoken by God to Moses at the Red Sea, with Pharaoh’s army behind and the Red Sea in front:
Speak to my people that they go forward.
It is a verse that often lives for me and has come back again: I know I spoke recently of the people moving forward and keeping fire burning at these times. When God said that to Moses he was in a seemingly impossible situation, with the army behind, the Red Sea in front. Indeed he didn’t know, I think, that he was going to wander for forty years in the wilderness with the people, and all the hazards that they had to face: the drought, the dangers, the attacks from enemies. Perhaps the worst thing that he had to face was the people and their rebellion, and the difficulties that were created because of that. It was a difficult time for Moses; it was a difficult time for them all. But he was to keep the people moving forward until one day they came into the promised inheritance in the land. And so for us, at this time and at any time, it is vital that we keep that forward look. But if you consider something of what they met in the wilderness, in the different experiences which we do not have space to go into here, they actually encountered God. Some of their deepest encounters with God were as a result of their rebellion. How we can identify with that! Our rebellion has brought us ultimately to the cross of Christ and to the Saviour.
The experience I want to refer to here is when they had murmured against Moses and against God, loathing the light manna that they were eating. The result was that fiery serpents were sent amongst them, and they were bitten by them and they died – and then they cried out for help. Moses was told to lift up the serpent in the wilderness. This is referred to by Christ:
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up. (John 3:14)
When they looked at that serpent, they were healed – which in some ways seems a strange thing, but we can understand it because Christ, who knew no sin, became sin for us and hung upon a cross, and we have come there and found His forgiveness from the wound of sin, which is the worst wound of all: the one that becomes putrefying, corrupt, and destroys. We look at Christ, covered with our sin and yet still with His own righteousness, and we find healing.
And there has been on my spirit all week, since last weekend particularly, a sense of that healing Christ. He heals physically, we know that – and we actually had a wonderful narrative of that healing power in our Zoom meeting where Hugh Gilchrist, one of our earliest members, told us again of the healing of his brother-in-law, something that happened maybe over sixty years ago, but Hugh could still not speak of it without tears. The wonder of it: his eyes being destroyed by the acidic substance that had got into them along with a molten piece of lead, and when he was prayed for by Mr Black, though not a believer his eyes were healed, and within hours he was released from hospital with two whole eyes. The healing power of Jesus Christ!
He heals us again and again in our body. But he carries out an inner healing which is transforming for life. I’m aware that many at this time are beginning to struggle with the current circumstances. I also know that some of you who have had the illness have suffered deeply in it if you have had a bad bout of it. Some people can become quite traumatised by it. But whatever has caused the trauma, and whether it is our own nature, and whether it is something quite minor or major, there is one source of healing. Again and again there has come over my spirit that One who is the Healer: the beauty of the healing of Christ. He is intensely personal in His coming. He doesn’t come to us en masse, but he comes to you and to me in our individual walk in life. Let Him come and touch you wherever you are just now. It may be that something quite trivial has touched you, and yet it is not trivial to you. He knows. He is anointed for healing.
I often think of Christ coming out of the tomb on Resurrection morning, His garments redolent with healing spices. Remember how Mary had anointed His feet with that precious ointment, and He said: “She has anointed my body against the burial.” She didn’t know, but these spices that were poured out on Him speak to us of healing also. Jesus Christ, the mighty to save.
“Who is this that comes from Edom … travelling in the greatness of His strength?” (Isaiah 63:1)
It is Jesus Christ, the mighty to save.
Believe no evil of Him. Let no whisper from your own heart, from the enemy, destroy your relationship with Jesus Christ. He is perfect. His love for you and for me is perfect. And Christ Himself has said that no sparrow would fall to the ground without the Father knowing and caring, and of how much more value are we than many sparrows! Just think of it: two sparrows were sold for a farthing, and five sparrows for two farthings – it’s as if the fifth sparrow were of no value, just thrown in. If our heavenly Father knows when one of them dies, how much more does He care for you and for me?
Try Him, try Him now. Let that healing balm flow over your spirit into your inner being, where He knows the stress and the strain. He knows your reactions, He knows your needs, He knows your need of physical healing. Try Jesus. He is never found to fail. His grace is sufficient for you and for me. That grace is all-abounding.
Let me bring to you again a quotation from Professor Finlayson, whose book The Cross in the Experience of our Lord I would recommend to you if you want to know something of the deeps of the sufferings of Christ. He speaks of the traditional notion in Scotland that when you find a mountain beside a loch, the loch is as deep as the mountain is high. That is just a fancy, but as he says:
The mountain of God’s grace rises sheer from the ocean of Emmanuel’s suffering and sorrow, and they measure the same.
Blessed Saviour! Try that healing Christ, and let His beauty and His garments, His fragrance, close around your spirit now.
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