I've raised the issue that we don't see Jesus laying hands on someone for emotional healing in the gospels, yet clearly the healing of emotions is part of the work of the cross. So where do we find emotional healing in the ministry of Jesus?
Foundational scripture provides a clue
Isaiah 42:1-4 is a prophecy about the Messiah, and says in v3-4: "A bruised reed He will not break. A smoldering wick He will not snuff out. In faithfulness He will bring forth justice; He will not fail nor be discouraged until He has set justice in the earth..."
We've established a person in need of emotional healing is compared here to a bruised plant stem and a barely burning oil lamp, but I want you to see the Lord's point of view, for it provides us the understanding of what the Lord's purpose is when He brings forth emotional healing.
First understand "He will not fail nor be discouraged"
This statement that the Lord won't be discouraged with us is huge and SO gracious the Lord included it in this prophecy about Messiah. This is because an emotionally bruised person, a person barely keeping their light lit, feels discouraged, hopeless, and they feel they have most certainly disappointed the Lord.
This says He won't be discouraged until He has '...set justice in the earth'. That means He is moving in the direction of bringing you justice - He WILL set justice, in your life. In your emotions. In your sense of right and wrong and fairness in life. He won't be discouraged and will in fact bring forth justice.
It says He will do so 'in faithfulness'. He will be faithful to you when no one else has been. He will set justice in your life when no one else has been willing or able to do so.
He will not further bruise you, nor will He extinguish your barely burning light, but will in fact heal you by bringing justice into your earth, your life....how does He do that?
You must remember this...
I cannot emphasize this enough - everything we are about to see in the gospels of how Jesus brought forth justice into an emotionally damaged person's life can be traced right back to the above verse. This is important because the natural man's way of viewing justice means whoever hurt you will get theirs in the end. Whoever caused you the emotional pain will pay for their sin. That is the first place natural man goes to when we read 'He will bring forth justice."
What if God's perspective on justice in your life is different than what you imagine? Assuredly those who sinned against you will stand before the Lord to give account, but that is off in the future. What about the here and now? What will He do to help you heal of the damage? What if His sense of bringing forth justice in your life involves not only making sure that person who hurt you stands before Him one day, but also helps you sort out what happened to you and provide direction?
Example #1: The woman at the well
In John 4 Jesus is at a well and asks water from a local woman. She is a 'person of peace' towards Him, not yet realizing who she is talking to, she is just interested in talking to the man. In verse 16 Jesus asks her to call her husband, to which she replied she doesn't have one. To this statement Jesus reveals that He knows (by what we call a word of knowledge) she has had 5 husband and she is now living with a 6th man.
At this point we need to speculate a little. Think about people you know around you about why this woman was married 5x and was living with a 6th -for people are the same now as then. Why would she not want to marry the man? Does #6 want to be married but she doesn't? Does she want to be married but #6 doesn't?
Did she bury 3 husbands and divorce or was divorced by 2? Did she bury all 5? Did she divorce or was she divorced by all 5? Did she bury 2 and divorce 3?
You see, if we are to believe as Isaiah 53 states, that our emotional griefs, sorrows, and pain were carried by Jesus at the same time 'by His stripes we are healed' then that means with every physical healing there will be an emotional healing as well. The reverse must also then be true: If there is an emotional healing then there will be a healing in the natural world as well, either literally physical or maybe a healing of circumstance, of relationships, of life in general. You cannot separate the two for they are presented as one work by Messiah's sacrifice.
She didn't need physical healing, but her emotional healing brought about healing to her life in the natural
No matter the reason she had been married 5x and was living with a 6th man, to have been married 5 times and now being single reveals she had emotional baggage. There was a reason in that day and that culture that she and #6 were living together.
She would later say to her neighbors in v29; "Come see a man who told me everything I ever did!"
This tells us there was much more to the conversation she and Jesus had then what John was led to write down that became our John chapter 4 - obviously Jesus shared more details of what He knew of her life than what John 4 states - He told her everything she ever did.
Healing method #1 - Acknowledge where you are right now
Notice the Lord simply said, "You've told the truth, you've had 5 husbands and the man you're now living with isn't your husband. This you have spoke truthfully." (v18)
There is no judgement, no condemnation, no opinion expressed at all - He just acknowledges where she is right now at this moment in time. This is the first step, to be brutally truthful with yourself and God about where you are right now. There is no opinion nor emotion attached - Jesus simply stated the truth and got her to do the same. We will see this pattern in the gospels over and over with Him - first step, He and they acknowledge where they are right now, no veneer, no explanation of why - just truth.
Healing method #2 - Reset history by the Holy Spirit
This woman went through her 5 marriages and was living with a 6th man, clearly at this point of her life not concerned about God's thoughts on her living arrangement. We can conclude therefore she felt rather alone in losing to death or divorce husbands 1-5, perhaps asking where God was when she was going through relationship after relationship only to find each end. She had lived through 5 husbands and entered into a 6th relationship apparently unconcerned about God, and that was her perspective.
That was her reality. God was no where to be found in those first 5. All she wanted was to be a wife and mom, and man after man, marriage after marriage ended. She wanted stability, peace, and she had questions - so much so that after Jesus initially revealed that He knew about her 5 marriages she changed the subject to a spiritual one. She was deeply spiritual, but confused, Jesus telling her point-blank that 'you worship you know not what'. (v22)
Her understanding of her life was that she had made it through on her own. She was tough. She was inwardly strong. She had soldiered forward in spite of what life had thrown at her. Where was God? Who cares, I like man #6 so I'll move in with him. God has demonstrated He isn't interested in my life.
Reset - Jesus saw all, Jesus was there
Jesus gave her revelation that reset her understanding of her own history: He knew what she was going through. He was there. He proved it by telling her of her 5 marriages and all she ever did. He brought her to this point for a reason. She had to change how she thought about her life, about how she thought God wasn't there. The bruised person must have an experience with the Lord by His Spirit where He is allowed to reset their idea of their history. A history that reveals He was there after all.
We will see this pattern throughout the gospels in various applications - Jesus revealed to the emotionally bruised person facts which reset their ideas of their own history. And I'm out of room for today so will pick it up there next week - until then, blessings,