Message for 4 February 2018–“Faith Doctor”

Mark 1:29-39 reveals that no sooner had Jesus finished teaching in a synagogue then he began practicing what he had been preaching. Jesus accompanied the twin disciple brothers (Simon & Andrew, James & John) to Simon’s house, where they found Simon’s mother-in-law feverish. Jesus healed her, and then Jesus continued his role as faith doctor as he spent the rest of the day healing the sick and demon possessed. After hectic visits with all the ill people, Jesus got up before sunrise the next day and went to a deserted place to meditate. An interesting question arises: Does God get tired? Perhaps one of the lessons here is that even Jesus needed a rest.

As the story indicates, Jesus didn’t simply preach about healing and restoration, he did something about it by helping meet peoples’ needs. As to the evil spirits Jesus encountered, there’s constant argument about the literal reality of demon possession and whether such events are psychiatric or spiritual (or some combination). People can point a finger at evil spirits or chronic depression; the effect of either can corrode hearts and minds. Arguing too vehemently about all this may miss the greater point, namely that something was—and still is—hindering peoples’ relationship with God. The source of what ails a person isn’t so much any third-party or demon but the way a person thinks and acts. The good news is that Jesus’ role as a faith doctor gives hope for achieving life wellbeing.

For persons afflicted with leprosy and other profoundly physical issues, Jesus is described as healing many of them. Life is significantly defined by the material aspect of existence and it is no wonder that everyone eventually experiences some physical illness or trauma. Whether the problem is a disease, accidental or deliberate wounds, or simply aging, there will always be physical problems. Therefore, a part of our task lay in overcoming whatever is holding us back from what God wants us to be. Have you ever had an impediment to your spiritual, emotional, or physical health and wellness? Is there anything interfering with your relationship with the Almighty? Take comfort in knowing that God can take care of you as you do your part. It isn’t easy to admit a problem, yet blaming or shaming don’t solve the underlying issues. When any of us are afflicted in mind, body or spirit, God is ready to become part of a wholesome solution which is not otherwise possible.

Jesus not only encouraged people by teaching principles, but he also healed their ills. It is one thing to identify problems and quite another to cure them. Many folks who’ve had a serious medical issue can feel a double blessing when a doctor can both diagnose and treat them successfully. In his role as a faith doctor, Jesus offers forgiveness first and foremost for soul sickness, a deadly condition. Even when physical problems remain, mere disease needn’t infect our souls. Sure, bodies are mortal and each of us will succumb to illness, accident, or we will simply wear out. Nonetheless, the healing that God provides transcends mortal flaws and ensures eternal health.

Do you ever feel like Simon’s mother-in-law, feverish with problems? Maintaining a vibrant spiritual life can yield all sorts of benefits. The greater goal in all this is holistic wellbeing, the state where we can choose to maximize all significant aspects of human existence, including emotions/intellect, physical health and the spirit. All of these areas can become healthier when we translate principles into actions, love into compassion. What about a quick reminder that illustrates our relationship with God? Enter the God + You = Renew formula. Sure, this is also one of St. John’s cute slogans but it elegantly captures essential truth. The gist is that when we put ourselves next to God we’ve set ourselves up for life renewal.

–Reverend Hoxey