by Terry M. Smith
We know too well that we live in tough times.
Ancient times provide us with instructions about self-isolation, physical signs of warning and verbal calls of “Unclean! Unclean!” to warn the general public not to come near those who are ill, and of covering the mouth (Lev. 13:4-5, 45-46). The high priest would go to an isolated person before examining their physical condition (Lev. 14:3). People with leprosy called to Jesus from “far off” (Luke 17:12). May God protect our health care workers.
We pray for our health care workers because we believe God is on the side of healing. To heal others expresses God’s good will and reflects His Kingdom. God is on the side of healing, whether by divine intervention (shown in the healing miracles in Scripture) or by human hands such as those of the good Samaritan “who took care” of an injured man (Luke 10:34-35).
As Tim Dyck often reminds national office staff, Jesus wants more labourers in his harvest (Luke 10:2). Yes, indeed.
Jesus sent the 12 apostles with instructions to proclaim the Kingdom and to heal the sick (Luke 9:1-2) and instructed the 70 before they went on a mission to “cure the sick who are there, and say, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you'” (Luke 10:9).
When John the Baptist struggled in the lonely physical isolation of his prison cell, his disciples asked on his behalf: “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the dead are raised, and good news is preached to the poor” (Luke 7:18-22).
Does this mean it’s easy to believe in a tough time? Jesus’ response to John the Baptist provides a clue. If it were easy to believe, Jesus would not have said to John the Baptist: “Blessed is the person who does not fall away on account of me” (Luke 7:23). When John’s prison cell door opened, he did not experience a miracle. He died in the mystery of God’s sovereignty (Mark 6:27).
The Kingdom of God is partly realm (space). “The earth is the Lord’s” (Psalm 24:1) and Jesus made the universe (Heb. 1:2). God cares about our physical planet, ultimately rules it, and will one day transform it (Rom. 8:18-25). The Kingdom of God is also partly reign (His rule in our lives). We, like John the Baptist, must choose to be ruled (Matt. 11:12), to continue to follow the Lord.
Today in our physical isolation, we together await, pray for, and work toward a great day: “The Kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and He will reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11:15).
We look forward to life together with Christ in a renewed earth and heaven (2 Pet. 3:13) and we anticipate some foretastes of this yet within Canada at this time in history.
We are people of hope. Meanwhile, please stay home or keep your distance.