What do all these people have in common?
The leper cleansed by Jesus in Matthew chapter 8 and in the parallel accounts in Mark chapter 1 and Luke chapter 5
The centurion who asked Jesus to heal his servant in Matthew chapter 8 and Luke chapter 7
The paralytic who Jesus healed in Matthew chapter 9, Mark chapter 2, and Luke chapter 5
The synagogue leader whose deceased daughter was brought back to life, and the woman who was cured of severe bleeding in Matthew chapter 9, Mark chapter 5, and Luke chapter 8
The mute man from whom Jesus cast out a demon in Matthew chapter 9
The man with the withered hand who Jesus healed in Matthew chapter 12, Mark chapter 3, and Luke chapter 6
The Canaanite woman whose daughter was healed by Jesus in Matthew chapter 15
The demon possessed young boy who Jesus healed in Matthew chapter 17, Mark chapter 9, and Luke chapter 9
The rich young man in Matthew chapter 19, Mark chapter 10, and Luke chapter 18
The man with the unclean spirit who was made well by Jesus in Mark chapter 1 and Luke chapter 4
The demon possessed man in the country of Gerasenes whose sanity was restored by Jesus in Mark chapter 5 and Luke chapter 8
The deaf man who Jesus healed in Mark chapter 7
The blind man at Bethsaida whose sight was restored by Jesus in Mark chapter 8
Bartimaeus the blind beggar whose sight was restored by Jesus in Mark chapter 10 and Luke 18 (only Mark gives us his name)
The widow in the town of Nain whose dead son was brought back to life by Jesus in Luke chapter 7
The sinful woman who was forgiven by Jesus in Luke chapter 7
The woman with the disabling spirit who was healed by Jesus in Luke chapter 13
The man who Jesus healed from dropsy in Luke chapter 14
Zacchaeus the tax collector who was brought to repentance by Jesus in Luke 19
The thief on the cross who was forgiven and assured of being in paradise with Jesus in Luke chapter 23
The Pharisee Nicodemus who Jesus taught about spiritual rebirth in John chapter 3
The woman at the well who found new life through faith in Jesus, and the official’s son who was healed by Jesus in John chapter 4
The paralyzed man at the pool of Bethesda in John chapter 5
The woman caught in adultery in John chapter 8
The man born blind in John chapter 9
Lazarus, from John chapter 11
So what do they have in common? For starters, they were all healed of some affliction or ministered to in some way by Jesus. And in a few of those instances, a dead person was brought back to life. That’s obvious. What may not be as obvious is that all of them, 28 in all, were healed or ministered to by Jesus….one on one. Even though Jesus was, in most cases, in the midst of crowds of people when he met these 28 persons, He still responded to their needs individually and in a way that was very personal.
And that’s the very thing those 28 encounters reveal to us about God and our relationship with Him. It’s a personal relationship. Our faith is personal. Our salvation in Christ is personal. Even though there were times when Jesus healed multiple numbers of people at once and taught and preached and ministered to large crowds, it’s those one on one encounters with Jesus that remind us of God’s great love for His people. Jesus was moved by their suffering. He was moved by the troubles those people were struggling with. And God has not changed. Jesus is moved by our suffering. He is moved by the troubles we deal with. He is every bit as as personal to us as He was to the 28 people in those gospel accounts
John wrote in the last chapter of his gospel that if everything Jesus did was written down, the world could not contain the books that would be written. And that’s true because the 28 people in those gospels weren’t the only ones who had one on one encounters with Jesus. Jesus has touched millions upon millions in the exact same way, one on one. How so? Think about where you were and what you were doing the moment you decided to follow Jesus Christ. You may have been all alone in one of the rooms of your home. Maybe you were in the company of a pastor or minister like I was. Or perhaps you were sitting in a church surrounded by hundreds of other people. Maybe something in the pastor’s message pierced your heart. Maybe the small still voice of the Holy Spirit said, “It’s time”. Regardless of where you were or how many people were around when you accepted Jesus Christ, it did not matter if you were alone or surrounded by hundreds. Jesus spoke to you and ministered to you one on one, just as He did for those 28. That’s true for all of us, and it’s true for all who have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
Our one on one encounter with Jesus was not just a one-and-done experience. Jesus continues to minister to us one on one. Of course, it’s a two way relationship which is why our prayer life and our time in God’s word are so vital. Our prayer time is our alone time with God; our one one one time with God and we need to commit ourselves to regular prayer time. As James wrote in his epistle: Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
We also need to maintain our one on one relationship with Christ through the study of scripture. God cannot minister to us one on one if we don’t know what He’s saying to us. The Psalmist who wrote the 119th Psalm understood the importance of God’s word as well as the nature of our one on one relationship with God. Here are just a few examples:
Psalm 119 Verse 16 – I delight in your decrees, I will not neglect your word.
Verse 28 – My soul is weary with sorrow, strengthen me with your word.
Verse 42 – then I can answer anyone who taunts me, for I trust in your word.
Verse 57 – You are my portion Lord, I have promised to obey your words.
Verse 89 – Your word, Lord, is eternal. it stands firm in the heavens.
Verse 105 – Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
Verse 114 – You are my refuge and my shield, I have put my hope in your word.
Those verses emphasize the importance of drawing close to God through his word and at the same time they depict the Psalmist’s personal relationship with God. Those words do not depict a God who is an impersonal, far off God. They depict a very personal God. They don’t describe a God who wants us kept at arm’s length. They depict a God who draws us near. The Pharisees in Jesus’ time believed God to be this impersonal, distant, and unapproachable figure who was even somewhat hostile, and it was reflected in their conduct and in the way they treated people. On the other hand, God the Son, Jesus, showed us who God the Father really is. He is a God so personal that, as Paul wrote in his letters to Timothy, “He desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” and “The Lord knows those who are his.”
Think about that last quote from 2 Timothy, “The Lord knows those who are his.” The book of Revelation tells us that the names of all believers are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. That means Jesus Christ Himself recorded each of our names in that book. I don’t know about you, but that ministers to me and I hope it ministers to you too. We know Jesus, and He knows us…by name. That’s about as one on one with Jesus as you can be!