Hello, and welcome to Lechem Panim. As we have started a new series on the book of Acts, we have been taking a look at the testimony of Luke (author of the both the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts). Luke had become the companion of Paul and one the early Church’s greatest historians. Now although Luke writes as a historian, Luke’s occupation before this had been quite different. He had been a physician.
Medical Machinery-- I remember not long ago I went to visit a gentleman in the hospital; to both minister and pray with him and just be with him through a very difficult time. And as I stepped into that hospital room I found myself almost instantly surrounded by all kinds of medical equipment. Now I didn’t know what much of that equipment does. But I remember a nurse came in with a rather large piece of machinery. And as she proceeded to hook my friend up to it and to press other pieces of machinery onto his chest, I saw on the computer screen live video images of my friend’s heart. And as she moved the equipment around, she began to take precise computer measurements, calculating every sound; every pulse. Laid out in visual form were the wavelengths; the very heartbeat of my friend.
Now that kind of thing is awe-inspiring to me. But it also leads me to wonder what it must have been like to receive medical care in the first-century world of Jesus. In talking about this, my wife remarked to me how she could not even imagine giving birth during that time. And in fact, if she had, she would probably never have made it because of how our son was positioned in her womb. She very likely would have died in childbirth. Conditions and injuries that we would consider relatively minor were so much more dangerous then. Some of you tuning in today may be in the medical field. Have you ever imagined what it would have been like to treat somebody in ancient times or during this time period in and around the life of Christ?
Luke’s Focus on Christ’s Birth-- Well, Luke didn’t have to imagine, because that was his primary occupation; he was a physician. And interestingly, he is the gospel writer who gives us the most details concerning the events in and surrounding the birth of Jesus. Maybe as a physician he was just so captivated and couldn’t get over the fact that in the womb of Mary; that womb that medically sustained Jesus, was the very Creator of the Universe who was at that moment already sustaining her; that her very blood which was bringing Him life would one day be poured out on the cross, bringing life to her.
Luke’s Focus on The Healings of Jesus-- Also we find that Luke places special emphasis on the healing ministry of Jesus; and when we understand he was a physician, we can kind of see through his eyes and recognize why he was so fascinated by it. Jesus needed no equipment; Jesus never prescribed any medication; He never had to make a single surgical cut. He merely spoke and the worst conditions imaginable; even those that were beyond the hope of cure; conditions that Luke had encountered over and over again, were cured. I wonder how many times Luke had to tell someone, “I’m sorry, you will never see again,” “I’m sorry, you will never walk again,” “I’m sorry, but this infliction is incurable.” Luke presents Jesus in a way that only a physician could; because Jesus had succeeded in many of the same kinds of situations where Luke himself had failed. Only one time in all four of the Gospel accounts is Jesus called or thought of as a medical Physician; and it is here in the Gospel of Luke; Luke 4:23. Luke simply could not get over the power of God made manifest in Jesus Christ in the absolute worst of medical situations; how every illness and every defect left at the mere touch (or even just the mere spoken word) of Jesus. And Luke, like Matthew, also recognizes this as a fulfillment of prophecy.
Isaiah 35:5-6a (NIV)-- 5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. 6 Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy.
At one point John the Baptist sends messengers to ask Jesus if He truly is the promised Messiah. And Luke says in…
Luke 7:20-22 (NIV)-- 20 When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’”
21 At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. 22 So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.
So Luke points out how Jesus knowingly fulfilled these prophecies from Isaiah; the last of which is that the good news is proclaimed to the poor.
Luke the Gentile-- And this is another one of Luke’s major themes (particularly in his Gospel); [Jesus’ compassion for Gentiles, Samaritans, women, children, tax collectors, sinners, and others often regarded as outcasts in Israel. <In fact,> Every time he mentions a tax collector (3:12; 5:27; 7:29; 15:1; 18:10-13; 19:2), it is in a positive sense.] In a time in which women were on the bottom rung of society, [Luke emphasized the central role of women in the life and ministry of our Lord (e.g., 7:12-15, 37-50; 8:2-3, 43-48; 10:38-42; 13:11-13; 21:2-4; 23:27-29, 49, 55-56).] And the reason Luke has a special place in his heart for outcasts was because he himself was an outcast. In Colossians 4:11-14, Luke is clearly distinguished from those of Paul’s fellow workers who are of the circumcision. He isn’t circumcised because he’s a gentile. And in fact, that makes him the only non-Jewish writer of the New Testament. And because he was not a Jew, according to Jewish thought he was not an inheritor of the promise. And yet in his Gospel Luke shows how Jesus opened up the way for anybody, no matter who they were or what they had been through, to become a part of the family of God; that the mercy of God has been extended to all people; whether Jew or Gentile. And in Luke’s first book, the Gospel of Luke, he reveals this as the mission of Jesus; and here in Luke’s sequel to the book (the sequel being, of course, the book of Acts) we see revealed how that mission unfolded in the early life of the Church. Both books are united by that same central theme, and together they make up the largest part of the New Testament. Now where did Luke get this idea? Well, remember he was a companion of Paul, who wrote the epistles long before he wrote his gospel and no doubt mentored him. And Paul had said in…
Galatians 3:28 (NIV)-- 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
The Compassion of Jesus-- Luke found hope and exceeding joy that he, though an outcast, could become a part of the family of God. This is why Luke was so fascinated by the compassion Jesus extended to all who were considered lost. In his Gospel he therefore records more of the parables of Jesus than any other gospel; many in which God’s mission (carried out by Jesus Christ) is shown to be one of pursuing; God being likened to characters who are searching for something that has been lost. He is like a shepherd seeking a lost sheep (Luke 15:1-7); He is like a woman searching for a lost wedding coin (Luke 15:8-10); He is like a father yearning for the return of a lost son (Luke 15:11-32). A.W. Tozer once wrote a book that has since become one of the great Christian classics, entitled The Pursuit of God. Yet this is somewhat of a misnomer because here we find that what Luke was captivated with was God’s pursuit of us; Jesus is seen to be the one who pursues us into the darkness; into the night; so that He might bring us back to God. This was absolutely central to Luke’s theology.
Luke 19:10 (ESV)-- 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
A Misplaced Phone and Document-- I remember one week when my wife and I misplaced two things. She misplaced her cell phone and I misplaced a very important document. And so on two separate occasions in that same week we found ourselves searching all over the house, overturning all kinds of things in order to find that cell phone and that document. And in each case there was joy when that item was discovered.
A Misplaced Engagement Ring-- I can still remember back when she and I first got engaged, her tearfully telling me some days afterwards that she had misplaced her engagement ring. She had woken up, looked at her hand, and discovered that it was gone. And she had been going frantically through every part of her dorm looking for it. And soon afterwards, after being allowed in to help her search, we found it in her bed; having slipped off while she was asleep. And I still remember the joy in her face and the tears in her eyes when she joyously put the ring back on her finger.
God’s Pursuit of us-- And I just think, what an amazing thing that God pursues each and every one of us with just as much (in fact infinitely more) fervency. God does not leave one stone unturned in His pursuit of us. We are all valuable to Him; Jew or Gentile, man or woman, adult or child, righteous or sinner; rich or poor. God is pursuing you. And He will find you if you let Him. And He will make you His own. And in every healing Luke records, he shows how Jesus points people to the part of them that needs to be healed the most; their hearts. In Jesus, God has provided that ultimate healing. All we have to do is receive Him, surrender to Him, and allow Him (as our Great Physician) to heal and transform our hearts. And so I want to encourage you today, if you need to receive that healing today, invite Him into your life and say, “Lord, I need you to heal my sin; I need you to heal my brokenness; I am crippled, blind, deaf and mute without the abiding presence of your Holy Spirit in my life. Come fill me, heal me, change, and transform me.” Receive healing from Jesus. Amen.
Rev. Cameron Ury graduated from Asbury University in 2007 with a B.A. in Bible and Theology. From there he continued his studies at Wesley Biblical Seminary in Jackson, MS. It was there that he met his wife Tanya, who graduated from WBS with her M.A. and M.Div. degrees. Cameron and Tanya got married in 2009. Cameron then graduated with his M.Div. degree with a pastoral concentration in 2011.
After shepherding churches in both Mississippi and Ohio, they joined the ministry team at Renton Park Chapel in January of 2018, where Cameron serves as Senior Pastor and Teacher.
Cameron is also the founder and host of Lechem Panim, a weekly radio show that airs on KGNW 820AM "The Word Seattle". The ministry of Lechem Panim is centered around leading people into the life-giving presence of God in and through Bible study, prayer, and active discipleship with the aim of ministering to a world that is in desperate need of the healing touch of Jesus Christ.