THY FATHER IS SICK
Genesis 48:1 And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick: and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. 2 And one told Jacob, and said, Behold, thy son Joseph cometh unto thee: and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed.
John 11:1 Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) 3 Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. 4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. 5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. 6 When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.
Jesus Christ is the ‘light of the world.” He is the light of reason and intellect to all men. John 1:9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. But he is the very light of life to those granted faith! John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. And he therefore, casts his image back into the Old Testament, revealing himself in it’s ‘shadows.’ Hebrews 10:1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
And here in our two passages listed above we have a great example of this. For Joseph, an offspring of Abraham, is reigning on the throne of Egypt, and therefore over the civilized world at that time. So Jesus Christ, a son of Abraham and David (Matthew 1:1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.), is presently reigning Lord over the entire world. 1 Corinthians 15:25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
And the entire bible, with all its characters are but reflections of Christ and his glory! John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. Luke 24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, For our spiritual understandings are not opened until we see Christ – not just a receipt for religious practice – on every page of the Holy Writ!
And we first see that Joseph, upon hearing of his father’s sickness, takes his two sons and goes immediately to him. But our Heavenly Joseph, “when he heard therefore that he (Lazarus), was sick, he abode two days still in the same place!” Why did he not go immediately, as Joseph did? It was not because that he did not love Lazarus and his sisters. Because it is twice stated, in verses 3 & 5, that he very much did! But it was because he wanted to raise hearts above the realm of only religious theology into an awareness of the glory of God!
For both the sisters have the same response to him upon his arrival. “If you had only come when we called, you could have healed him of his sickness!” For they thought his power was limited to healing. And they thought – as do multitudes of religionists in our day – that the resurrection was only a scheduled event! They had no concept that the resurrection is a Person! And that person is the Lord Jesus Christ! John 11:24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
In verse two of our Genesis forty eight passage we see our hope of the result in visiting the sick. For it states that he strengthened himself. So Joseph caused the sick to be strengthened. But the Lord Jesus caused the dead to come to life again! And, as has already been stated, he wanted to do so for the glory of the Son of God! John 11:4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.
Our prayer lists, with their requests, by far concern only matters of physical sickness. And we should pray for the sick! But we should not exclusively concern ourselves with only their physical maladies. Listen to that which James writes: James 5:15 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. God considers that healing is to address both physical sickness and also the soul’s sin! Therefore the health of the spirit as well as that of the body should also be included!
And one request that is never on any prayer list is the request of our prayers of thanksgiving to God for having healed someone! God and his glory are almost entirely left out! Yet we can quote the following verse entirely from memory! 1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. We know that verse! But acknowledging his glorious intervention is never included on any prayer list that this writer has ever seen!
Sad to say, we are mostly lip-service religionists, and not heart-felt glorifiers of Almighty God! Matthew 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
And the matter of good health is not simply a result of worded prayers. It is also a matter of a godly lifestyle. Proverbs 3:7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. 8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.
Proverbs 4:20 My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. 21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. 22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.
And good health is not just a matter for the prayers of the church, but also of the practice of the christian! Psalm 41:1 Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble. 2 The LORD will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies. 3 The LORD will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness.
But those being afflicted for sin are instructed to pray for themselves, handling their sin before the Lord in godly repentance. James 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray.
Righteous living has a great effect upon others’ spiritual and physical health. Proverbs 23:15 My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine. Proverbs 17:22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
We also see in these passages that Joseph went to his father. But the Lord Jesus went to his friend. John 11:11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.
And later the Lord gives his definition of a friend of God. John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
In Joseph’s case, the sick would later die, but would exalt his two sons. And in the account of the Lord Jesus, the sick did die, but to exalt the very Son of God! For in the case of Lazarus, his death, not just his sickness, was needful for the Lord Jesus to reveal his power over forgiveness of sin. The reason being that the lost sinner, whom the Lord came into the world to save is not just sick. He is DEAD! That is, he is dead in trespasses and sin. Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Colossians 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
Therefore salvation is not some make over! It is a resurrection! And that is the point that our Lord would make in waiting two days in order that Lazarus’ malady could fulfill its task in removing his life. It was needful that a physically dead subject be on hand in order to show that Christ is The Resurrection of a spiritually dead soul. John 11:24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
Carefully consider these verses: John 5:25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. 28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
Take note that in verse twenty five he states that in the very hour in which he was making these statements, his voice would be raising the spiritually dead. For he states that the time for that hour “now is!” And in order to prove that this spiritual resurrection from sin’s death into grace’s life was to begin at his coming into the world, he sets forth the physical resurrection of the body. For resurrection of the soul to life cannot be seen by the human eye! John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
Then in verses twenty eight and twenty nine he does not say, “and now is,” regarding the physical resurrection of all that are in the graves, (and he did not mention ‘graves’ in verse twenty five, as there he was referring to the salvation of the soul by a spiritual resurrection), shall only take place at the end of time. 1 Corinthians 15:26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
The Lord Jesus had the same kind of thing occur concerning the man sick of the palsy. He forgave his sin, which no one could see. Therefore he commanded him to rise and walk in order to prove that he had power over both the spiritual sickness as well as the physical! Matthew 9:2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. 3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. 4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? 5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? 6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. 7 And he arose, and departed to his house. 8 But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.
The forgiveness of sin is a marvelous thing, which is only possible by the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ! Neither the pope, nor his bishops, nor any priest, or pastor has the power to do so. It is only possible by the power of the Holy Spirit making effectual the gospel as it is preached! 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
God-called ministers have both the word of reconciliation and the ministry of reconciliation. But they do not possess the power and ability of reconciliation. The elect soul may very well be quickened to spiritual life while they are preaching, for faith cometh by hearing. But as dead Lazarus, they have no ability to hear, being dead in trespasses and sin. It is the Holy Spirit who gives the dead ear life, in order to hear and respond to the enabling command to “Come forth!” This is the reason that our Lord Jesus constantly said, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
And this is why it is called, “the foolishness of preaching.” 1 Corinthians 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
Pastor Gene Breed
November 18, 2016