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Who Is Jesus? The Great Physician
by Dr. Linda Smallwood, BBS, M.Min., D.Min.


In This Lesson
Jesus Was a Medical Specialist | Healing and Salvation | Healings Were Evidence of His Messiahship
The Disease Called "Sin" | Continuation of His Work | Jesus Is Still the Great Physician


Twice in the Gospel records Jesus refers to Himself as a physician, not as one who heals only the body, but as the One who primarily came to heal our souls.

  • Jesus as Spiritual Healer
    The religious leaders criticized Him for including tax collectors and "sinners" among His followers. "And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, 'Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.'" (Mark 2:17)

  • Jesus as Physical Healer
    When Jesus gave His first message in Nazareth, He anticipated their rejection and refusal to believe. "Jesus said to them, 'Surely you will quote this proverb to me: "Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum."'" (Luke 4:23 NIV)

And contrary to what some doubters might try to tell you today, He is still in the healing and restoration business.

What Is a Physician?
One dictionary defines a physician as "licensed medical practitioner". Another defines the term "doctor, esp. a specialist in medical diagnosis and treatment." That second definition is in broad practice today in many third-world and developing countries. Not everyone practicing medicine in India, for example, is a "licensed" or university-trained practitioner.

Perhaps we could more accurately define a physician by discussing what a physician does or tries to do. A physician:

  • wants to heal the sick;
  • is qualified and prepared to treat the sick;
  • examines his/her patients thoroughly;
  • diagnoses his/her patient's problem;
  • prescribes the proper treatment; and
  • applies the treatment needed.

Are these six statements true about Jesus? Yes. Every one of them! He showed that He cared for those who were sick in soul and body. As our Creator, He doesn't need an X-ray to discover our problems. He knows us and understands our needs. He made us and can easily repair any part that is not functioning properly.

Jesus as our Divine Physician
Jesus' role as "physician" and healer was so widespread in the Gospel records and so essential to Jesus' mission as Savior of the world that we cannot — dare not — try to separate the two. Both define who He was then and who He is today. We cannot fully understand Him apart from His healing miracles.

It's amazing, really, how the people of that day were instinctively drawn to Jesus as a "physician". Certainly, He deserves the title "Great Physician"! In fact, you can hardly find one chapter in the Gospel records that doesn't have a story about Him healing or delivering someone. He gave remarkable attention to healing. He was a physician, a healer, whose time was consumed by encounters with people who were sick, blind, lame, deaf, leprous, paralyzed, demon-possessed, or mentally ill. Every one of the Gospels portrays Jesus in this way (see Miracles of Jesus).

We know from Mark 5:26 that there were medical doctors in Israel at the time. In fact, Luke who wrote the Gospel of Luke was himself a physician. But Jesus' healing ministry was unlike anything they could do. It was obvious to the people that His healing power came from a divine source. Also, it appears in the Gospels that Jesus healed all who came or were brought to Him. Jesus' ability to heal any time, any place certainly commended him to the masses as an extraordinary individual.

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Jesus Was a Medical Specialist
Today we have medical specialists for just about any field, disease, or malady you can name. But only one Physician has ever achieved a 100% success rate every time and in every field. Let's take a look at some of the areas in which He specialized:

  • Medical Diagnostician
    Jesus was a master of diagnosis. He never hesitated or became confused by His patients' problems. He never struggled with that gray line that often baffles physicians today between physical illness and psychological impairment. Jesus Christ immediately grasped the condition of the whole person, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual.

    In the Gospel by his name, the Greek physician Luke distinguishes between Jesus healing those with diseases and delivering those afflicted by demons. "Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to him, and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them. And demons also came out of many, crying, 'You are the Son of God!' But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ." (Luke 4:40-41)

    In verse 39 of the same chapter, it would appear that Peter's mother-in-law was suffering some sort of spiritual attack as well as physical, because Jesus spoke to the illness and rebuked the fever. "And he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her, and immediately she rose and began to serve them." This is the only recorded time when Jesus spoke to an illness.

    Jesus also knew when a person's physical condition was not the result of some sort of spiritual problem. In the book of John, Jesus' disciples assumed a man's blindness was the result of sin; but Jesus said it had nothing to do with sin but was a simple physical condition. "As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?' Jesus answered, 'It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.'" (John 9:1-3)

  • Cardiologist [a doctor who specializes in disorders of the heart]
    "Dropsy", the condition of our next patient, is defined as "an unnatural collection or retention of water in the body" and is often associated with the heart.

    "One Sabbath, when he went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully. And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy. And Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, 'Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?' But they remained silent. Then he took him and healed him and sent him away." (Luke 14:1-4)

  • Dermatologist[one who specializes in skin disorders]
    The Gospels record several accounts of Jesus healing those afflicted with leprosy. Of course, we know that the Mosaic Law forbade anyone from touching a leper, save the priest by the shedding of blood. "This shall be the law of the leprous person for the day of his cleansing . . . The priest shall take some of the blood of the guilt offering, and the priest shall put it on the lobe of the right ear of him who is to be cleansed and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot." (Leviticus 14:2, 14)

    But as the Lamb of God who would bear our infirmities as well as our sins (cf. Matthew 8:17), and as our great High Priest (cf. Hebrews 3:1), He was fully able to apply the remedy for the leprosy and for sin. He would Himself be the gift commanded in Leviticus 14:19-24.

  • Hematologist [doctor who specializes in diseases of the blood]
    The physicians of Jesus' day had tried for 12 years to heal a woman who had been hemorrhaging [the Bible says she had "an issue", meaning "a discharge"] (cf. Mark 5:25-29).

    Keep in mind that under Levitical Law, this woman was unclean and anyone who touched her would be ceremonially unclean (cf. Leviticus 15:19, 25). In other words, she probably spent most of those 12 years alone and outcast from Jewish society. She could never go to the synagogue.

    But one day she heard Jesus was passing by. The text says she "touched his garment." Actually, what she touched was the edge of his prayer shawl [worn by rabbis], which was often referred to as "wings", the tassels and knots of which represented all 613 Old Testament commandments. She knew the promise in Malachi 4:2, that "the Sun of righteousness [would] arise with healing in his wings", she believed this Jesus of Nazareth was that same "Sun of righteousness", and she believed if she touched the edge of those "wings", she would be healed.

    Staking a claim against God's promises and believing she was in the very presence of God Himself, she risked public humiliation and rebuke to receive her healing. And she was not disappointed. Jesus said to her: "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease." (Mark 5:34)

    Nevertheless, she did not heal herself. Her confidence was not in the prayer shawl, but in the God who promised to heal. Also consider: When Jesus said, "your faith has made you well", He could just as well have been speaking about the emotional torment she'd been in as a social outcast all those 12 years of her disease. Otherwise, why did He say after that, "be healed of your disease"?

  • Neurologist [one who specializes in disorders of the central nervous system]
    There are several disorders of the central nervous system that lead to paralysis. The fact of the servant having previously been well enough to serve, and there being no indication he suffered a fall, leads us to believe the servant in the following story was suffering from a central nervous system [CNS] disorder.

    "When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, 'Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.' And he said to him, 'I will come and heal him.' But the centurion replied, 'Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, "Go," and he goes, and to another, "Come," and he comes, and to my servant, "Do this," and he does it.' When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, 'Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' And to the centurion Jesus said, 'Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.' And the servant was healed at that very moment." (Matthew 8:5-13)

  • Ophthalmologist [one who specializes in the treatment of the eye]
    "As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. . . . He spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man's eyes with the mud and said to him, 'Go, wash in the pool of Siloam' (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing." (John 9:1, 6-7)

    God does not always heal instantly. A well-known Old Testament story of God's delayed healing is that of Naaman, a Syrian Army commander who had leprosy. In 2 Kings 5, we read about the Prophet Elisha who, instead of instantly healing him, instructed Naaman to wash seven times in the muddy Jordan river in order to be healed. Not only was Naaman angry about the prophet not even coming out to speak with him directly, but he was probably tempted to stop after dipping six times and seeing no change in his condition. Nevertheless, he obeyed and dipped one more time in the water and came up with his flesh "restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean." (2 Kings 5:14)

    It is tempting to theorize about why God delays some people's healings. However, as Scripture does not give us the answer, such activities are just that: unproven theories.

  • Orthopedic Specialist[doctor who specializes in diseases of the spine and joints]
    The Gospels tell us that Jesus healed many who were crippled, lame, and paralyzed.

    "And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, 'Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?' — so that they might accuse him. He said to them, 'Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.' Then he said to the man, 'Stretch out your hand.' And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other." (Matthew 12:10-13)

    Matthew 15:30—

    "...the crowd wondered, when they saw . . . the crippled healthy, the lame walking . . . And they glorified the God of Israel." (Matthew 15:31)

    "And there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, 'Woman, you are freed from your disability.' And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God." (Luke 13:11-13)

  • Otolaryngologist [one who specializes in disorders of the ear, nose, or throat]
    Even with all of our medical advances, deafness has remained a mystery to a great degree. However, it was not too great for the Great Physician!

    "Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, 'Ephphatha,' that is, 'Be opened.' And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly." (Mark 7:31-35)

    "And Jesus said to him, '"If you can"? All things are possible for one who believes.' Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, 'I believe; help my unbelief!' And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, 'You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.' And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, 'He is dead.' But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose." (Mark 9:23-27)

  • Pediatrician [one who specializes in the care of children]
    In the Gospel records, we read three stories of Jesus healing children.

    "And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, 'Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.' But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, 'Send her away, for she is crying out after us.' He answered, 'I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.' But she came and knelt before him, saying, 'Lord, help me.' And he answered, 'It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.' She said, 'Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master's table.' Then Jesus answered her, 'O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.' And her daughter was healed instantly." (Matthew 5:22-28)

    "At Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. So Jesus said to him, 'Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.' The official said to him, 'Sir, come down before my child dies.' Jesus said to him, 'Go; your son will live.' The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, 'Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.' The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, 'Your son will live.' And he himself believed, and all his household." (John 4:46-53)

    Notice, by the way, there is no evidence the children had any faith in Jesus' ability to heal them. One of them wasn't even present when Jesus pronounced his healing. Thus, faith on the part of the person being healed is not always a requirement of healing. Every person and every situation is different; and the Lord alone knows exactly what is needed to effect our healing.

  • Plastic Surgeon [one who repairs damaged or unsightly tissue]
    "And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, 'No more of this!' And he touched his ear and healed him." (Luke 22:50-51)

  • Postmortem Resuscitative Specialist
    [No such field actually exists, as Christ is the only One uniquely qualified for this title. "Postmortem" means "occurring after death" and "resuscitative" refers to "returning to consciousness".]

    "...when Jesus came to the ruler's house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion, he said, 'Go away, for the girl is not dead but sleeping.' And they laughed at him. But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose." (Matthew 9:23-25)

    "As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, 'Do not weep.' Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, 'Young man, I say to you, arise.' And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother." (Luke 7:12-15)

    (See also Mark 5:22-43; John 11:14-44.)

  • Psychiatrist [one who specializes in the treatment of mental disorders]

    "They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. And crying out with a loud voice, he said, 'What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.' For he was saying to him, 'Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!' . . . And the unclean spirits came out. . . . And people came to see what it was that had happened. And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid." (Mark 5:1-15)

    Here is yet another area in which there is much speculation leading to errant beliefs and practices. The Bible does not make the claim that all mental disorders are a result of demonic possession. Thus, we also should not burden these sufferers with yet another label that often leads to greater depression. Even the mere suggestion of demonic possession causes many to doubt their salvation, believe they have failed God, and/or to feel ostracized by the Church.

    We must remember, our "job" is to bring them to the Savior; but it's His "job" to diagnose the condition and deal with it.

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Healing and Salvation
Healing and salvation go hand-in-hand in Jesus' ministry. In fact, the word "salvation" in the Bible includes health for the body as well as deliverance and safety for the soul. (see Who Is Jesus: Savior of the World)

Matthew 4:23-24—

The news about Him spread through the whole country of Syria, so that people brought Him all those who were sick with all kinds of diseases, and afflicted with all sorts of troubles; people with demons, and epileptics, and paralytics — Jesus healed them all.

Matthew 8:17—

Our divine Physician came to bring health to the whole person — body, mind, emotions, and spirit. He wants us to enjoy life in all its fullness. 'I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.' (John 10:10 KJV)

He Touched Me!
One aspect of Jesus' healing ministry that almost goes unnoticed in the Gospels is that He touched people. This physical contact with sick and dead bodies cut through the religious and social barriers of isolation and was a sign, not only of Jesus' compassion, empathy, and emotional connection with suffering people, but also of His absolute authority over the Law. When a leper approached Jesus asking to be healed, Jesus first touched him. "And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, 'If you will, you can make me clean.' Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, 'I will; be clean.' And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, and said to him, 'See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.' But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter." (Mark 1:40-45)

What Jesus did in touching that man was an action that meant ritual impurity under Levitical Law. But Jesus didn't come to enforce the Law (of which He was the divine Author); He came to demonstrate the abounding love of the Father. His touching that man was an action of extraordinary compassion. Jesus tore down the walls of alienation and centuries of prejudice by the simple, but powerful, gesture of reaching out and touching a person who had probably not felt the touch of another human for many years.

Over and over again in the Gospels, we see Jesus deliberately touching the sick and disabled people.

Your Faith Has Made You Well
Jesus also involved the sick in their own healing by commending their faith in God's healing power and their determination to access it. Many times Jesus praised the faith of those whom He'd healed.

Mark 5:25-34—
"And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, 'If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.' And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, 'Who touched my garments?' And his disciples said to him, 'You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, "Who touched me?"' And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And he said to her:

Matthew 13:53-58—
"And when Jesus had finished these parables, he went away from there, and coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, 'Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?; And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them:

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Healings Were Evidence of His Claim as Messiah
Although it's true that everyone who came to Jesus was healed, it's also true that not all of the infirmed in Israel or in Jerusalem or other towns felt the healing touch of the Great Physician. But many did! Some of those who were healed came by themselves or were brought by their friends. They asked Jesus for His help, and no one left disappointed. There were others, though, who didn't seek out the Lord and weren't brought by their friends, but instead Jesus went to where they were and made them well.

Jesus Heals a Paralytic
Such is the case of the lame man in the fifth chapter of the Gospel of John. "Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids — blind, lame, and paralyzed [waiting for the moving of the water;] [for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool, and stirred the water: whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was healed of whatever disease he had.] One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, 'Do you want to be healed?' The sick man answered him, 'Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.' Jesus said to him, 'Get up, take up your bed, and walk." And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath." (John 5:2-9)

That man did not go to Christ for healing. In fact, there is no indication that he even knew who Jesus was. "Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place." (John 5:13) But Jesus went to where he was, selected him from among all the other sick and handicapped people, and healed him. Thirty-eight years of illness, bitterness, loneliness, frustration, and dashed hopes — all gone in an instant! In addition, apparently he carried a load of guilt for some past sin (or sins) and Jesus indicates later in the temple that his condition was possibly linked with mistakes of years before. "Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, 'See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.'" (John 5:14)

Only Jesus knows what caused this man's paralysis. It is not for us to judge or read into the record what is not there. Certainly, it does not mean that those who are sick are guilty of some unconfessed sin. That may have been the case in this man's situation, but not in all whom the Lord Jesus healed during His earthly ministry. The point of the story is not to lay blame or guilt, but to point us to the Great Physician, the Messiah!

Jesus Heals the Sin-sick Soul
The story of the healed paralytic is a beautiful picture of what God can do and has done for us! Before we repented and received Christ as Savior and Lord, we were also in a hopeless, sin-sick condition. Some of us were bitter and disappointed with life. Some of us were spiritually and emotionally crippled. Many of us were struggling under a heavy load of guilt — guilt from deliberate acts of sin or from things left undone until too late. Many of us were not even seeking God at all, and we were totally unaware that He was seeking us. But the Lord found us in our helpless and hopeless state. The Great Physician selected us and gave us the strength to "pick up our beds and walk".

The healing of the lame man in the above story is one of the "sign" miracles of the Gospel of John. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle John chose to record only seven miracles of Jesus in his Gospel, the reason for which he tells us near the end of the book: "...that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God..." (John 20:31)

We see that John had a two-fold purpose in choosing each of the seven miracles he wrote in his Gospel:

  • One was to show that Jesus of Nazareth was definitely the promised Jewish Messiah, the Son of God.

  • The other was to show us that Jesus Christ is the only One who can cure the disease of sin in each of us.

Click here to view a complete list of the healing miracles documented in the Gospel records.

Many people today — and in Jesus' day too — want the healings He offers, but they don't want to acknowledge Him as the Messiah, as God's Son, as God Incarnate — because that involves a potentially life-changing decision.

But the fact is that Jesus' healings supported His claim of being the promised Messiah. When John the Baptist was in prison, he sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus whether he was "the one who was to come." "...and he answered them, 'Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.'" (Luke 7:22-23)

Jesus, the "Great Physician"
When we think of Jesus as the "Great Physician", it's readily apparent that the label suits Him because of the many physical and mental disorders He healed during His earthly ministry. We need to remember, though, that not all of the healings or other miracles are recorded in the Gospel records. John 21:25—

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The Disease Called "Sin"
But we must not neglect to mention the most serious disease of all, the disease called "sin".

There are times when a general practitioner [doctor] is all we need; however, there are other times when a specialist may be required for a more serious disease or illness. In combatting the desperate condition of humankind's sin, we needed a Specialist, and there is no one else to whom we can go to save us! (See "Who Is Jesus: Savior of the World")

We can best understand how effective Jesus is when we consider how despicable, wretched, and helpless we are against the sin that's inherent in every human.

  1. Jesus knows that sin originates in the heart [the soul]: Matthew 15:19-20—

  2. Sin is universal in its scope. Romans 3:10—

    Romans 3:23—

    Jesus Christ is the only Person who was never tainted by sin: Without a human father, He was not born in sin as the rest of us are. And Scripture asserts that He never sinned during His time on earth: "...who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin." (Hebrews 4:15)

  3. Like so many physical diseases, sin is contagious: 1 Corinthians 15:33—

  4. Sin has a deceitful nature. It has a way of appearing good and acceptable when, in reality, it is evil and damnable: Hebrews 3:13—

  5. The eventual consequence of sin is death to all those afflicted with this terrible disease: Romans 6:23—

  6. All of us will die physically, whether by illness, accident, or some other cause. Our Great Physician may not intervene in these incidents — although sometimes He does — but when we come to Him with repentant and submitted hearts, He can and does "heal" our sin-sick souls and save us eternally. However, the individual who dies with the disease called "sin" is forever separated from God in eternal punishment: Romans 6:23—

    "Death" in the above passage refers to spiritual death and is in contrast to the expression "eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

We all can readily see the awful nature of the disease called sin. Therefore, we need a Specialist who can effectively, efficiently, and eternally cure this most disgusting sickness. Jesus Christ, our Great Physician, possesses all the qualifications of such a One to whom the sin-sick world can turn for healing.

  1. The first qualification was that God the Father endorsed Jesus at His baptism: Matthew 3:17—

    Matthew 17:5—

  2. The moral excellence of Jesus' earthly life, the lessons He taught, the miracles He worked, and His victory over death all testify to His ability to effectively deal with sin: Romans 1:4—

  3. Jesus possessed a genuine concern and empathy for human suffering. He heard our cries of distress and He came. He suffered with and for mankind as expressed in Matthew 9:36—

  4. And His death by crucifixion was an expression of His matchless love! Isaiah 53:4-5—

  5. Our Great Physician maintained perfect spiritual health. Unlike human physicians who often contract diseases and die, Jesus never knew sin in His life. The writer of Hebrews spoke of this fact when he wrote that Jesus was tempted in all points like we are "yet without sin." (Hebrews 4:15) The Apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 2:22,

    Had He been infected with the disease of sin, He would have endangered the lives of the "patients" He came to save.

  6. Our Great Physician has the only remedy for sin, regardless of how dark and sinister that sin might be. Isaiah 1:18—

The Apostle Paul declared that the Gospel is "the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes..." (Romans 1:16b) The remedy is of proven worth. By it, millions have been saved from sin and death.

Truly, Jesus barJoseph of Nazareth has proven in every respect to be the Great Physician who came and touched and conquered every malady common to humankind, including the most insidious one, sin!

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Continuation of His Work
Jesus is still the Great Physician. He sent His followers out to heal the sick in His name. What He did in person when He was here on earth as a man, He does now in answer to prayer and through the Holy Spirit. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Hebrews 13:8)

"'And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.' And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs." (Mark 16:17,18,20)

James 5:14-15—

Some People Are Not Healed
We all know one of the essential elements of Jesus' ministry on earth was His ministry of healing. No one who came to Jesus for healing left disappointed. He healed all who came. He also said we would do greater works than He did. "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father." (John 14:12)

What Are We Doing Wrong?
There are many people, even committed Christians with sickness, pain, and disabilities.

  • Samuel Rutherford, a saintly Scottish Presbyterian theologian of the 17th century, wrote from his prison cell: "Lord cut, Lord carve, Lord mould, Lord do anything that may perfect thy Father's image in us, and make us meet for glory".

  • George Matheson, the blind Church of Scotland minister, wrote: "Oh love that will not let me go / I rest my weary soul in Thee / I give You back this life I owe / And in Your ocean depths, its flow / May richer, fuller be", a hymn that has been a rich blessing to multitudes.

  • John Milton, the English poet who wrote "Paradise Lost", wrote of his "soul more bent to serve therewith my Maker" after becoming totally blind at the age of 44.

  • Beethoven, a devout believer, stricken with deafness as a child, went on to write music of unsurpassed genius.

  • Rembrandt, broken in health, painted glorious themes from the Bible as a testimony to his living faith.

  • Amy Carmichael, missionary to India, had to endure 20 years of pain, yet from her bed wrote books full of delight in her Savior and Lord.

  • Fanny Crosby, blind from the age of 6, wrote more than 8,000 poems and hymns to her Savior.

What are we doing wrong? Why weren't these committed saints healed of their afflictions? Did they commit some horrible sin that caused God to punish them? Sadly, this is the response of many people in the Church today. They claim if you're sick, then you either don't have enough faith or you must have done something wrong. How do these views line up with Scripture?

First, let's look at the New Testament saints. Maybe they can tell us how to get it right. Interestingly, the New Testament believers also did not necessarily live disease-free lives. For example:

  • The Apostle Paul wrote about an affliction that he didn't define but that caused him to cry out to God for healing several times.
    "So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

  • The young minister, Timothy, had a stomach problem and was often sick.
    Paul wrote: "No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments." (1 Timothy 5:23)

  • A young man named Trophimus was too sick to continue ministering with Paul (cf. 2 Timothy 4:20).

  • And Epaphroditus, who was ministering with Paul, became so ill that he almost died.
    "I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow." (Philippians 2:25-27)

It's important to remember that our lives are at all times in God's hands. Nothing comes to us or against us apart from His perfect or permissive will — either for us or for someone else who may be impacted by our lives. Remember the story of Job? It's more than just a nice story from the Old Testament. It teaches us that even Satan must get God's permission before he can attack or afflict us! So, the simple answer to why some people suffer is that God, for reasons we may never know, has allowed it. But if He is truly Lord and Savior of our lives, then we can say, like the Apostle Paul, "I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (2 Corinthians 12:9) This has been the experience of countless Christians in all ages.

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Jesus Is Still the Great Physician
Although the examples above may seem to contradict it, Christ is still our Great Physician. Before we attempt to reconcile infirmed bodies with the truth of Jesus' power to heal us, let's take a journey through God's Word and remind ourselves of our position in Christ.

When We Became Christians...

  • We were born again from above.
    "Jesus answered, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.'" (John 3:5)

  • We each become a new kind of person.
    "...he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature..." (2 Peter 1:4)

    "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." (2 Corinthians 5:17)

  • This "newness" refers to body, mind, and soul. We enter into a new realm of health-giving powers. Your body becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit.

    "Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?" (1 Corinthians 3:16)

    • Concerning Our Bodies...
      This should cause all of us to have a new reverence and respect for the body. We are careful to obey the laws of hygiene and diet. We do not abuse our bodies, or poison them with drugs. We exercise and place our bodies entirely at the Lord's disposal. And we live in harmony with other people, and with nature. All this brings a rich inflow of health and happiness.

    • Concerning Our Minds...
      We have entered into a new heavenly dimension. "He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son." (Colossians 1:13)

      We now see God's hand in everything. "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)

      We know He loves and cares for us, and our future is safe in His hands. "'For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. . . . Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.'" (Matthew 6:34)

      We know the joy of sins forgiven. "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace." (Ephesians 1:7).

      All this illumines the mind just as the rising sun illuminates the darkness of the earth. It gives wholeness and health. "For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7 MKJV)

Christian Practice Brings Health
What is meant by "Christian practice"? Simply, it means the activities we routinely engage in as believers, such as worship, prayer, and fellowship. How does this bring health? Consider...

  • Corporate Worship
    Sitting in church with your heart and mind open to the Word of God and to the inflow of the Holy Spirit, you receive healing...
    • for the wounded conscience;
    • for the bruised spirit;
    • for the breaking or broken heart; and
    • for fractured family relationships.

  • Personal Praise and Worship
    Taking time throughout the day to worship the Lord, not for what He is doing, but for who He is...
    • grows your faith;
    • gives you the mind of Christ;
    • chases away fear and doubt and replaces it with confidence;
    • energizes and motivates you; and>
    • alerts the enemy camp that you are serious about your commitment to God.

  • Prayer
    What could be more health-giving than the practice of prayer? There are no limits to the rewards of praying to a God who is forgiving, patient, and wants only the best for us all the time. Practicing a life of prayer...
    • alleviates depression and anxiety;
    • promotes a faster healing time in cases of injury or serious illness;
    • strengthens your relationships, especially when you pray for others;
    • draws you closer to our infinite God;
    • helps you to be more patient and understanding in frustrating situations; and
    • enables you to see all the ways in which God is working in your life, despite difficult circumstances.

  • Christian Fellowship
    "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another..." (1 John 1:7) In regular fellowship with other Christians...
    • you draw deep from "the wells of salvation" (cf. Isaiah 12:3);
    • you have opportunity to share your faith and edify others, which in turn strengthens your own faith;
    • you can testify to how God has responded to your times of worship and prayer, which brings deep joy and release in the spirit:
    • you receive encouragement from the love and testimonies of others; and
    • you feel more calm and secure with a sense of belonging to something bigger than yourself.

In all these ways, you prove God's promise: "... I am the LORD, your healer." (Exodus 15:26)

Would you refuse the health benefit package your employer provides for you? Of course not! However, many of us don't reap the benefits God offers to us because we are neglecting those practices through which God can work in our lives. Cash in on your benefits today!

In the Light
Daily walking "in the light" enables you to receive boundless stores of health from God. Your vitality, delight in His creation, and joy in living all come from Him, the giver of "every perfect gift" (cf. James 1:17).

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

Does this mean, if you claim that verse, the enemy cannot or will not attack you? Well, Jesus made that promise just days before being brutally tortured and executed. So much for "overcoming the world"...!

Let's look at some other promises from God's Word to better understand Jesus' words above:

"Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." (1 John 4:4)

"No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper..." (Isaiah 54:17 MKJV)

Why am I Being Attacked?
If the One inside me is greater than the one in the world [Satan], and if God promises that the enemy's weapons won't prosper against me, then why am I being attacked?

These promises from God do not mean the enemy cannot or will not attack you. If they attacked Jesus, the prophets and priests, the apostles, and the saints who have gone before us . . . then they will attack you, too! Don't misunderstand God's promises by taking them out-of-context, in this case, the context of God's whole Word.

How do the enemy's weapons "prosper" against us? The enemy's weapons may hit us, but the only way they can "prosper" is when we allow them to defeat our faith, to cause us to doubt God's faithfulness and goodness, to make us stop running the race. They "prosper" whenever we surrender to a spirit of fear or anger or bitterness or despair.

But through the Apostle John, God has given us the "rest of the story". "For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith." (1 John 5:4 emphasis added)

  • When you praise God in spite of the troubles coming against you — whether physical, financial, or emotional — you are proving conclusively to the enemy, and to a watching world, that "he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world"!

  • When you remain unshakeable in your commitment to God and to the Body of Christ, you are a living testimony to the truth that "no weapon formed against you shall prosper"!

  • When you continue to trust and wait upon the Lord for your sustenance, your strength, and your encouragement, you are proclaiming for all the world to witness that: "they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31)

Oxymorons in the Bible
An oxymoron is a figure of speech in which contradictory terms are linked together. The Bible contains many oxymorons, especially from the teachings of Jesus. For instance, "whoever would be great must be the servant" (cf. Matthew 20:26), "the greatest must be the least" (cf. Luke 9:48), "to live, you must die" (cf. Matthew 16:24-25), "the first shall be last and the last shall be first" (cf. Mark 10:31), "the foolishness of God is greater than the wisdom of men" (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:25), "when I am weak, then I am strong" (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:10).

There is another oxymoron among people of faith that is often overlooked. There is healing for us in our suffering. When this comes, it is our faith that heals us. Our faith may not produce physical healing or remove whatever hardship we're going through, but it prevents us from falling into bitterness and despair.

As the psalmist cried out: "Passing through the valley of weeping, they will make it a fountain; the early rain also covers it with blessings. They go from strength to strength, appearing in Zion before God. O Jehovah, the God of Hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah." (Psalm 84:6-8 MKJV)

Instead of dwelling miserably on his sufferings, the man who loves God turns the vale of weeping into a vale of praise. And so he is healed — maybe not physically, but certainly spiritually and often emotionally.

"Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation." (Habakkuk 3:17-18)

Let Christ Have the Final Word
Let's look again to the Lord's work and words as He walked in this sin-sick world among the beaten, the bruised, the broken, and the forgotten sheep in need of a Shepherd, a Savior, and a Healer.

Jesus' Primary Mission
"And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.' And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, 'Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.'" (Luke 4:16-21 via Isaiah 61:1)

In reading these words from Isaiah, Jesus Christ announced to the world the scope of His mission. It was not a physical mission, but a spiritual one. His mission was then, and is today...

  • to liberate those who have been taken captive by Satan;
  • to recover the sight of those blinded by sin; and
  • to set at liberty those who are oppressed by fear.

Christ's life, teachings, death, and bodily resurrection would send people of all classes, nationalities, and backgrounds crusading against social injustice all over the world. And through these redeemed men and women, Jesus has brought freedom and liberty to a world enslaved by sin and false religious doctrines.

Yes, His mission also included meeting the physical needs of others. He gave sight to the physically blind, strength to crippled bodies, life to those who had died. But His primary mission was to bring healing to our souls and to let us see God's true nature and abounding love for us.

Jesus' Approach to Suffering
"And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them." (Matthew 4:23-24)

There was an amazing range and variety to the multitudes of sick people healed by Jesus. And as we mentioned previously in this lesson, there is no evidence that He ever turned anyone away. He never said, "I'm sorry, but I cannot do anything for you, because God wants you to suffer."

His approach to suffering was that it is an alien thing that has invaded this world and should be banished. Period. He was never indifferent to the agony and despair of these poor people. "When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick." (Matthew 14:14)

As Christians, we are called upon to have the same compassion as he had. "And Jesus said to him, 'You go, and do likewise.'" (Luke 10:37)

We Are Called to Serve
"And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, 'Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.' And he said to them, 'What do you want me to do for you?' And they said to him, 'Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.' Jesus said to them, 'You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?' And they said to him, 'We are able.' And Jesus said to them, 'The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.' . . . And Jesus called them to him and said to them, 'You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.'" (Mark 10:35-40, 42-45)

In asking Jesus to appoint them his favorites in Heaven, James and John revealed their pride and their lust for pre-eminence.

Pride is a disease of the spirit just as deadly as any disease of the body. "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." (Proverbs 16:18) Over the years, the Church has watered down that verse by changing it to a more palatable, "Pride goes before the fall." But Scripture is clear. Pride brings destruction!

Jesus not only taught that humility is the essential badge of the Christian; He also said this is the way He Himself would be compelled to take. If the King of Glory had to humble Himself, who are we to think that we should not have to also?

He Gives Confidence for the Future
"As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?' Jesus answered, 'It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.' Having said these things, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man's eyes with the mud and said to him, 'Go, wash in the pool of Siloam' (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing." (John 9:1-7)

"Jesus heard that they [the Pharisees] had cast him out [of the synagogue], and having found him he said, 'Do you believe in the Son of Man?' He answered, 'And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?' Jesus said to him, 'You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.' He said, 'Lord, I believe,' and he worshiped him." (John 9:35-38)

To be cast out of the synagogue was the ultimate calamity for a Jew. If the excommunication was for life, the person was publicly cursed, declared to be evil, openly detested, and threatened with divine punishment. He was cut off from God and from man.

Most likely, this young man — who stood up so bravely to the Pharisees when they insisted he denounce the Healer as a sinner — was in a state of shock and disbelief. How could he go from being blind to God restoring his sight, and then to being cast out of the synagogue, all in a matter of hours? And so, this was the state of the young man when Jesus sought him out. The Healer who had given him physical sight now came alongside him to heal his bruised spirit and to give him confidence for the future.

It's a lesson we all need to carry with us. Christ doesn't beat us up when we fail or when others reject us. Instead, He stoops down to lift us up and to encourage us.

He Does Not Condemn
"The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, 'Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?' This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, 'Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.' And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, 'Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?' She said, 'No one, Lord.' And Jesus said, 'Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.'" (John 8:3-11)

Jesus' ministry of healing always included the mind and spirit as well as the body. This woman was exposed to public disgrace, hatred, and disgust. She must have felt humiliated to the lowest possible depth. And yet, Jesus — the Holy One of Israel and the only One who had a right to judge her or execute her for her sin — treated her with respect and dignity. He spoke so tenderly and lovingly to her heart, that she must have caught a glimpse of the kind of woman God wanted and intended her to be.

To be sure, Jesus' words, "Neither do I condemn you", did not excuse or overlook her sin. Rather, His words and compassion gave her the hope and determination she needed to "go and sin no more."

As we seek to carry on His ministry of healing and message of salvation, do our words and actions speak life and hope to a lost and dying world? Or, do they only see us pointing accusing fingers pointing at their sin?

Bear One Another's Burdens
We all know the story well. We call it the parable of the "prodigal son" (cf. Luke 15:11-32). Now let's stop for a moment and discuss the lesson Jesus wants us to learn from the story.

Obviously, the father represents God and the younger son represents sinners. However, we often neglect to question or ponder the older son's place in this story. The older son represents religious people, specifically the Scribes and Pharisees Jesus was frequently admonishing at that time. The story is meant to tell us something about God's heart.

But it also tells us something about the hearts of the religious leaders and perhaps about our own hearts. It tells us that the hearts of those who think they're in right standing with God, often are the furthest away from Him. It tells us we can be doing all the "right" things and still be out of fellowship . . . out of communion . . . out of step with Father's heart.

The Apostle Paul cautions us to be careful not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought. "Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall." (1 Corinthians 10:12)

When we learn of a sister or brother being caught in sin, what is our first reaction? Do we shake our heads in disgust and think they deserve whatever harm comes to them? Or, if a brother is struggling spiritually, do we immediately launch into preacher mode and list 12 Scriptures for them to read?

Bearing one another's burdens is not about finger-pointing, turning away in disgust, or being proud that we have never fallen to such depths. It's about restoring . . . lifting up . . . encouraging.

"Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself." (Galatians 6:1-3)

The original Greek word used here for "restore" is the same word used by a physician to set a broken bone. Can you imagine going to the doctor with a broken arm and he would scold you or beat on your arm to teach you not to do that again? How absurd! But how often do we do that with someone in need of spiritual repair? Let us treat one another with the same care and concern the physician gives to setting a broken bone.

Suffering Is Not Always the Result of Sin
"And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he [Jesus] was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And . . . when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, 'Son, your sins are forgiven.' Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 'Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?' And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, '. . . Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, "Your sins are forgiven," or to say, "Rise, take up your bed and walk"? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins' -- he said to the paralytic -- 'I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.'" (Mark 2:2-11)

Jesus did not teach that suffering is always the result of sin. But He did teach that in some cases, sin leads to suffering.

"There were some present . . . who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, 'Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.'" (Luke 13:1-5)

As God, Jesus knew what the paralyzed man in Mark 2:2-11 needed more than anything else. He needed to have his sins forgiven. How many in our hospitals would be instantly cured of their physical or emotional ailments if they knew the Savior came to take away their sin, guilt, and shame? And how often do we obscure that message of hope and healing by criticizing, accusing, maligning, and degrading those who need the Savior and the Great Physician?

We Christians are called to continue His work of healing, helping, restoring, and rescuing. We are not called to judge those whose hearts only the Lord knows. Really, if you think about it, as members of the human race, regardless of when we came or how long we've been walking with Him, we all came to Christ wounded and helplessly, hopelessly lost. Thus, we are uniquely qualified to be "wounded healers", not prosecuting attorneys or judges...

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Dr. Linda SmallwoodQuestions/Comments?
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