Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the Content

Sermon Illustrations

Home > Sermon Illustrations

She Being Dead Yet Heals

In 1951, Henrietta Lacks visited John Hopkins Hospital complaining of bleeding. Doctors discovered a large, malignant tumor on her cervix. Lacks began undergoing radium treatment for cervical cancer and later underwent a biopsy to determine the progress of the treatment. Doctors were shocked to find that Lacks’ cells were unlike any others they had ever seen. Whereas other cells that they used for research would die, Lacks’ cells doubled every 20-24 hours.

Today, these cells, nicknamed “HeLa” cells, are replicated worldwide and have been used to study the human genome; the effects of toxins, drugs, hormones, and viruses on the growth of cancer cells; and played a crucial role in the development of polio and COVID-19 vaccines. Lacks’ cells were the first immortalized human cell line and one of the most important cells in medical research.

Henrietta Lacks died more than seventy years ago at the age of thirty-one. History would have long since forgotten her if not for that special something drawn from her blood. Today, scores of polio survivors and the billions who've been vaccinated for COVID-19 owe a great debt to this woman of whom most people have never heard. Only as her story is retold each February as part of Black History Month is she remembered.

Possible Preaching Angle:

Jesus' story bears many similarities to Henrietta's. He, too, died around the age of thirty. He, too, might have long since been forgotten if his story wasn't regularly retold and at Easter especially. Like Lacks, Jesus is honored for that special something about his blood. As Isaiah puts it, "He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."

Related Sermon Illustrations

Christ Suffered for Us - The Lesson of The Lepers

In her book Ten Fingers for God, Dorothy Clarke Wilson writes about Dr. Paul Brand who worked with leprosy patients in India.

Sometimes they would all gather together in fellowship. ...

[Read More]

The Wealthy in China Use Body Doubles

In China, the extremely wealthy can avoid prison terms by hiring body doubles. Incredibly, this is true! Slate.com originally broke the story of how the super-rich in China get away ...

[Read More]