Today’s Lenten devotional from The Lent Project speaks to a long-held conviction of mine. Here’s an excerpt:
“Christ’s healing hand is on the father, and the father is clutching his robe. Christ’s healing will not end with the son, it will extend directly into his father’s heart, and there Christ’s central mission will be accomplished.”
Often in the midst of physical suffering we cry out to God for healing. This is a good and appropriate response. Jesus is certainly concerned and moved by our suffering as seen over and over in the New Testament. Yet, Christ wants to be so much more than our physical healer. Too often when we think that healing only comes a certain way, we miss the fuller wholeness Christ offers. In Luke 2:18-19 Jesus declared that his mission, the reason he came, was to bring good news to the poor, proclaim free for the prisoner, recovery of sight to the blind, and set the oppressed free. These were not just physical maladies but emotional and spiritual. Because of the realities of living in an imperfect world, we are poor in more ways than lack of money; we are prisoners without bars; we are blind although we see; and we experience oppression on many levels. And like the father in the story, we might not even be aware of it.
Eugene Peterson observed, “You know, if there were one other word that could have been used for most translations of ‘salvation,’ it would have been ‘healing.’ ” Interestingly, most often in the New Testament when the Greek verb “sozo” occurs it is translated “saved.” It not only means being rescued from destruction, but also means “healing” or “made whole.” This dramatically changes they way we read some familiar verses.
- “She shall give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will [sozo—heal/ make well] his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21, NIV) Jesus came to heal/make well our lives from the ravages of our brokenness we experience on a daily basis.
- “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to [sozo—heal/make well] the world through him.” (John 3:17, NIV) God sent Jesus to bring a present redemption to our fractured lives.
- For it is by grace you have been [sozo—healed/made well], through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8, NIV) Any restoration wholeness we receive is a result of the creative, dynamic, and transformative activity of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Jesus’ offer of salvation is not just a static place for after we die, nor is his healing only for our bodies. Jesus offers to heal us from the brokenness and “unfinished” places of our soul right now. Salvation is about a life with God now…not just an eternity for later. Don’t miss the wholeness, well-being, and abundance of this moment because you are holding out for something different.
If you’ve not yet signed up for the free, on-line, daily devotional Lent Project, it’s not too late! It’s a great new resource for 40-day journey to Easter.