I preach this coming Sunday and explore our next little slice of Jesus’ identity as a healer.
I live firmly in a scientific world. It’s not something I could go back on either. I am trained in computer usage, which are entirely a product of our scientific knowledge accumulated rapidly over the past 100 years or so. I send my kids to a doctor and rely myself on drugs and other treatments that tend to be vetted by a broad medical community. In other words, I don’t just sit and pray for my sickness to disappear.
In essence, I dig science.
But still, I am challenged, as a Christian, to struggle with the healing stories in the Bible. What are they really about? Is miraculous healing available to those who need it? Are some people still healed without the help of a hospital or modern science? What do I do with these stories as someone who relies on the scientific worldview to do what I need to do?
One clue forward as a faithful follower of Jesus is to understand that healing in the Bible is often broader than simply a physical change in one’s body. When Jesus heals the poor, the sick, the lame, and the blind, he is also making a profound prophetic statement. Healing and salvation are rarely separate for Jesus. Healing is more than just the eradication of a disease or infirmity, but it is a reinclusion of someone into the life of the broader community. So, those who are on the edges, without economic means to sustain themselves or without any other resources, are given a new identity and a second chance.
It’s kind of like what happens when someone off the street with severe mental disorders is able to get on medication, stabilize their life, and begin to find a place in a local community. From a homeless nobody to a named member of the community.
Of course, like most Christians, I still walk this strange balance of living in two worlds, this world of faith and this world of science. I like both worlds. I want to keep a foot in each, and yet it’s never quite a simple balance. I know friends and family members who claim to have been touched or experienced miraculous healings, which is awesome. But I still will keep seeing my doctor and trusting the many improvements science has brought to the world.
But maybe Jesus wants us to walk along these uncomfortable boundaries, for it is in these places, that we often find lots of hurting people who need help navigating one world or the other.
What do you think? Is Jesus a source of untapped healing power that could replace our hospitals in our world? Or is Jesus healing just a one time event? Or is it somewhere in between? How do you walk the balancing act?
(Jesus healing the Death Star image is way too much fun – credit to the AnonGallery.)