Monday, June 05, 2017

The Great Physican

John chapter 5 describes a man who has been ill for more than thirty years. His frustration is increased by his perceived proximity to healing that remains always just beyond his realization His frustration ends one day when a stranger directs him simply to get up and walk. He arises, realizes suddenly he is healed, picks up his bed (cot?) and begins to walk home, only to be accosted by accusations that he is violating religious law by carrying the bed on the Sabbath. For years,decades, he had sought healing, but had not found it. Now he encountered one sometimes now called "The Great Physician;" both he and the healer are castigated by those so intent on keeping the fences of the law strong that that they forget the purpose of God's law, to heal and to save. Today, many still seek spiritual and physical healing for years. Too often, when they find it, alleged followers of Jesus castigate them for their prior affliction or because they still carry "baggage' from their illness or bad decisions. When Jesus later encountered the man whom he had healed, he told him to "go and sin no more." He did not handcuff the man to the sin or the illness he had known before forgiveness. He did not consign him to perpetual crippling by the scars of his past. Jesus came to heal soul and body. He urged people to realize the reality of their sin and to seek to escape it. He realized, though, that temptations would persist, and that scars would remain. He knew too about "older bothers" who never forget and seldom forgive long repented and now healed sin. Don't impede the Great Physician. Forgive and encourage those who have been abused, who have been scarred, who have made all the wrong decisions, but who now press forward, focused on the only one who can save them. Pleas don't distract them. The chart is one I remember my father preaching from when I was a child. The chart is mine now, and a few weeks ago I too preached from it. Dad taught me about the compassion of the Great Physician. He also warned of the scars that persist even after healing (forgiveness), and about those who seem to enjoy prolonging the pain for those who have fallen along the way.Jesus healed because he aligned himself with God the Father, who gave him the authority to heal those who were sick even when some thought it wasn't the right time or place.

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