"Discipling the Sick"
February 1, 2014
Texts: Isaiah 53:4; Matthew 8:17; Mark 2:1-12; Philippians 4:4-9; 1 John 3:20-22; John 11:37-44
The flu season usually peaks during January and February. Many of us are metaphorically crossing our fingers that we will stay well. Being ill with anything is something all of us attempt to avoid. The majority of us want to feel good, look good, and do good for others.
With that in mind, an entire industry is being built on the concept of wellness which uses an integrative approach to help people make informed choices that lead to a more successful existence. In addition to being physically fit, the wellness movement focuses on one's mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Wellness is looked at through the lens of one's lifestyle as opposed to merely freedom from disease.
The National Wellness Institute is a nonprofit organization promoting global wellness. The Institute's co-founder, Dr. Bill Hettler, created a model referred to as the "Six Dimensions of Wellness." To optimize the body's functionality, Hettler's six dimensions consider one's physical, spiritual, emotional, intellectual, social, and occupational wellness.1
Jesus was all about wellness. It could be said that Jesus is the father of the holistic approach. Scripture records indicate that He spent more time healing people than preaching. Jesus healed the paralyzed, the maimed, the blind, the dumb, the epileptic, the paralytic, a woman suffering from a hemorrhage, a man with a withered hand, and a man with dropsy. Jesus freed many from Satan's enslavement who were demon possessed. The heart of a parent of a dead child, and the hearts of two of Jesus' closest friends, were broken in grief over the death of a family member. Jesus spoke new life into their dead loved one.
Jesus' manner of curing people took on various forms at different times. Sometimes the person was healed without being in Jesus' presence. At other times Jesus personally laid hands on the sick one, or touched a wound and healed it. Several diseased persons simply touched Jesus, or even the fringe of His garment, and were healed.
As followers of Jesus who may be full of faith and confidence in God's power, we may or may not witness a miracle of healing-or of someone being raised from the dead. But we do have the responsibility of telling someone who is seriously ill about the promise of a global resurrection and eternal life.
Our Bible study this week reminds us that physical or mental restoration was never Jesus' first concern for the crowds with whom He mingled. Regardless of the individual's circumstance or Jesus' method of healing, the number one endeavor that Jesus made was to get involved in people's lives so that He knew their need. Jesus' goal was to make disciples regardless of their condition. By meeting their need, they were then open to hear His testimony.
When we have a genuine concern for someone who is sick and get involved in his or her life, we are not taking on a project-we are investing in a person's life helping him or her to make or to solidify a spiritual commitment to the Master Physician.