“And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, ‘Ephphatha,’ that is, ‘Be opened.’” – Mark 7:34

As was so often the case during his earthly ministry, people would reach out to Jesus for healing. Sometimes people would bring their sick friends, relatives, or neighbors to Jesus so that he could restore them. And Jesus, whose heart was always full of compassion, would with great care reach out and heal them of whatever their physical condition was. The stories of these healings, found as they are throughout the gospels, are many; a deaf and mute man; a blind man; a man possessed by demons; a paralytic; a woman with a lingering condition, just to name a few.

Can you imagine how wonderful it would have been to be in the crowd and see those miracles take place? To watch as each afflicted person left behind a life of bondage to whatever physical condition they suffered from, to embrace a restored life of freedom, purpose, and hope. Incredible! No wonder Jesus had crowds following him so often. He was the answer to their problems and the supplier of their most critical of needs.

The same remains true today. Jesus is still the great and compassionate provider for those who will follow him. Jesus is still at work, through the work of the Holy Spirit. And through the Holy Spirit he continues to bring about healing for those who reach out to him.

As a pastor, I have had a front row seat to the unfolding story of God’s love and care for us through Jesus. Time after time I have witnessed healing after healing after healing. Often, this physical healing restores life and health and vigor. It is amazing to see. But as was the case in Jesus’ time, even these healings, which we celebrate, are temporal. No one that Jesus healed lived forever on this side of eternity.

Sometimes our prayers for healing, temporary as it may be, are heard and answered. Yet sometimes the healing we desire for ourselves, or for loved ones, is met instead by an eternal and full healing. This is because our Jesus does not only heal physical sickness, but spiritual sickness as well. This healing he accomplished for all on Calvary’s cross. It is a healing we are invited to receive; a perfect and eternal healing of our hearts today and for all time. He desires to give this to you. All we have to do, is like those before us, reach out to Jesus.

Chris Leonard is a pastor at Rock Presbyterian ECO. He can be reached at cleonard@rpcgwd.org