Friday, April 30, 2010

Matthew 4:23-25 - "And Jesus was going about in all Galilee..."

Well, it didn't matter that Jesus began his ministry off in the boondocks of Galilee. Once word got out that he was healing every kind of sickness and disease, people came flocking down from Syria and up from Jerusalem and even from beyond the Jordan River.

The healing ministry of Jesus bothers a lot of modern day Christians. It used to bother me too. First off, it seems kind of gimmicky for the Son of God to attract people to himself by offering a healing service. I mean, if people just use him to get better and don't see the greater significance of who he is, why should Jesus be surprised or upset? Secondly, what does his healing ministry mean for us today? Should I be asking Jesus to heal paralytics and cancer patients and epileptics? He has never answered any of my prayers with a miraculous healing. Do I lack faith or does he lack interest?

Here's how I've made my peace with all this. Jesus' healing ministry is not meant to be a freak show to attract attention, nor something to be replicated by "faith healers" today. Jesus' healings are meant to show that he has come into the world as the second Adam. He has come to undo the curse of sin and death that the first Adam brought into the world.

Why is there sickness and suffering and disease in the world? Because when Adam disobeyed God, "sin entered the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned" (Romans 5:12). Adam's sin brought death to us all. Sickness and disease are the tendrils of death reaching out from the grave, reminding us that as Adam's children we are doomed. It's a reminder that we, as individuals and as the human race, are poisoned by Adam's original sin. We show it in our thoughts and words and actions. The general corruption of our bodies with disease and decay is a sign that we all suffer from the corruption of sin in our souls.

Jesus' healing ministry reveals that he is the second Adam who has come to vanquish sin and death. His obedience will reverse our curse. By healing bodily sickness he shows he has come to heal spiritual sickness. That's why we see him pronounce forgiveness upon many of the people he heals. It's why he is dismayed at the multitudes who only hanker after a miracle, but gets excited over the faith of a few individuals who understand what he's really all about.

So the point is, Jesus still does have a healing ministry among us: he wipes away our sins. As the second Adam he reverses the old curse within us. We receive his righteousness in place of our transgressions. We receive eternal life in place of eternal death. And our bodies become destined for glory at the resurrection, never to decay and die again.

No comments:

Post a Comment