When I was a kid, it was a rare treat for me to have what my mom called "sugar cereal". Basically, anything sweeter than Cheerios or corn flakes was forbidden for breakfast before I went to school. But summer was magnificent. Because in the summer, I was allowed to have any cereal I wanted. You better believe I was tearing up whole boxes of Reese's peanut butter puffs, Cookie crisps, Fruity pebbles; you name it. It was glorious. But there was something else that distinguished my summer sugar cereals from the mundane, flavorless cereals I was forced to eat when school started up again. These sugar cereal boxes would have games on them. Sometimes they were mazes. Sometimes they were pictures you had to mirror by connecting the dots. But if you completed the game, they had an offer for you. The box would feature a picture of a toy or prize somewhere on the back. These prizes were always something pertinent to whatever fad was popular at the time. If there was a new movie that everyone loved, the toy was a figurine of a character from that movie. If there was a popular card game everyone was playing, the box would have an offer for a limited edition playing card for that game.
But no matter what the prize was, they all had something in common...I NEEDED THAT PRIZE. But how to get it? Every box of cereal had a stipulation: in order to get the featured prize, you must cut two portions of the cereal box out, and mail them to a designated address on the box. Those two portions were the completed game or challenge, and another piece that I didn't understand the importance of when I was a kid: the bar code. By following these simple instructions, I was guaranteed the prize I so desperately coveted. There's a parallel here with receiving the prize of healing. When we follow the ministry of Jesus throughout the Gospels, we find something interesting about His interactions with individuals who needed the working of His mighty power. Jesus would often attach an action that corresponded with the faith of the individual to receive their miracle.
In John, chapter 9, Jesus makes clay out of the dirt and His spittle, smears it over the eyes of a man who was born blind, and directs him to wash the clay off in a pool called Siloam. When His directives were obeyed, the man came back seeing. In Luke, chapter 17, Jesus instructs ten lepers who’re crying out to be cleansed to present themselves to the presiding priests for inspection as if they had already been cleansed, though there was no outward evidence as of yet. But as they went, obeying His directive, they were cleansed. We see in multiple places that Jesus would instruct the lame to take up their bed and walk before any proof of of their restored ability to walk ever manifested (Luke 5, John 5). Like the games on the back of the cereal box, the completed directive facilitated an active faith, ready to receive. Attaching corresponding action to our full persuasion that God has granted us what we’ve asked for is what James called “Faith with works.” (James 2:17-18). It’s not works that earn the miracle, but works that agree with belief that the miracle is yours. But what about that bar code? What’s its purpose?
There’s something that belongs to you, and I that the recipients of Jesus’ miracles didn’t have, as great as they were. And many Christians have a hard time receiving this. Many believe it would have been better to live in the days of the Gospels, when Jesus walked the streets and villages of Israel. But Jesus Himself said “it is better for you that I go away…”(John 16:7). The death and resurrection of Jesus accomplished our redemption. To redeem means to buy back through means of purchase. Jesus inheritance. All I had to do was prove thesaid “it is better for you that I go away” because His going meant our redemption was completed. When He ascended to the Right Hand of God, He secured an inheritance for you and I. An inheritance that included the prize of healing. If I was uninterested in the prize that box of cereal was offering that month, then the cereal was enough. I would enjoy my sugar and continue about my day. But when I saw that there was a prize worth obtaining, I made the effort to obtain the prize that the purchase of that cereal afforded to me. But I had to mail in not only the completed directive, but the bar code. Because the bar code was the “proof of purchase”. It was proof that the price was paid for the cereal. And if the cereal was bought, no extra price had to be paid for the prize. The prize was part of the cereal was purchased, and the prize was mine as well. Some people are just fine with enjoying the sweetness of their salvation cereal. But if you’ve decided that you want all that your purchase includes, there’s only two requirements.
The first is obedience to the Word. Show that the directive is complete. Then send in the bar code; the proof of purchase. How do we send in the proof that our salvation has been purchased, and that we’re ready to receive the healing included in our inheritance? “You ARE a chosen generation. A royal priesthood. A holy nation. For the reason that you might proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness, into His marvelous light. For you once we’re not a people. But now you are the people of God. You once had not obtained mercy. But now, you have obtained mercy” (1 Peter 2:9-10). Proclaiming God’s praise is sending the proof of purchase. Praise Him that when your salvation was bought, your healing was included. Praise Him for making a way to experience the same mighty healing power that Jesus manifested 2,000 years ago, as He traveled the regions of Israel. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The power He made available to all who believed Him then, has become the inheritance of all who have been purchased by His precious blood, today. That is you and I. Send your proof of purchase. Show that you’ve been redeemed. Give Him the praise He requires. And be healed!