Health, Care, and the Gospel

When I was a child, my teachers in the faith said that the healing stories of Jesus were merely attempts to illustrate "deeper" spiritual truths. Various diseases and physical debilities, I heard, were merely pictures of sin, and the Lord addressed them only because he wanted to highlight the awfulness of sin and his power to overcome it.

When I began to grow in my appreciation of Jesus, I grasped a bigger idea: that the incarnate Christ was not only attuned to humanity's sin problem but was remarkably sensitive to the physical and social issues he faced on the streets every day of his public life. For him, it was not either-or, but both-and. He not only hated sin; he hated human suffering.

Aware that I do not write with the exactitude of a professional theologian, let me say what's on my mind this way: in his day and within the limits of his earthly mission, our Lord did far more than simply engage the spiritually curious. He had an eye for the physically desperate, and he left a stream ...

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