Saturday, August 9, 2014

Vital Signs

On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

-- Mark 2:17

When you visit the doctor's office or hospital, chances are that a nurse will put a thermometer in your mouth to record your temperature and a cuff around your arm to gauge your blood pressure. She might also put her fingers on your wrist to measure your pulse. These Doctorvital signs establish a baseline of your body's general condition to help spot abnormalities and sickness. Likewise, Jesus monitors the vital signs of the churches that proclaim His name. But rather than checking blood pressure and heart rates, He looks at key indicators like love, faith, service and perseverance. It's no coincidence that He's called The Great Physician.

We read in the Gospels that Christ--with only a touch or even a word--healed lepers, the blind and the paralyzed. He even returned two men and a young child from death: all incredible miracles that helped confirm Jesus' divine role as God among us. But Jesus' healing was much more than physical. It had (and still has) both eternal and spiritual significance. In our 21st Century culture that worships vitality and outward appearance, Christ sees our real condition like an X-ray of our souls.

What's the prescription for healing in our churches and in ourselves? It's a simple faith in Him.

Luke's Gospel records that one desperate woman--who had been plagued by bleeding for years--believed in faith that her cure lay in touching Jesus' garments. And she was right. Luke also writes about a Roman centurion who sought Jesus' healing for his deathly ill servant. Remarkably, this would-be enemy of Israel trusted the ability of Christ's word alone. Matthew 8:10 tells it this way:

When Jesus heard this, He was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following Him, He said, "I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel."

The body of believers called The Church was never promised a problem-free existence. Acts, Luke's follow-up to his Gospel, reveals the conflicts and persecution faced by early Christ-followers. And these struggles, both internal and external, continue to this day in one form or another--and will until Jesus' second coming. It's only then that we'll finally experience complete health in mind, body and soul. And it all starts with believing in Jesus' power, asking for His help and having faith to the end.

"Daughter, your faith has healed you," Jesus told the beleaguered woman who sought His touch of restoration. "Go in peace and be freed from your suffering." 

May The Church do the same.

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