THE GREAT PHYSICIAN
By Larry White
(Originally delivered in Eagle Point, OR. June 9, 1985)
Our Lord Jesus Christ is a multi-faceted character and we have several different ways of viewing him in the scriptures. We tend to compare him to different roles that he has in the scheme of redemption.
I ) Pictures of Jesus
A.) The Suffering Servant
The suffering servant who bore our sins on the cross, willingly without complaint.
Surely he has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon him,
And by his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And Jehovah has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and he was afflicted,
Yet he opened not his mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So he opened not his mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment,
And who will declare his generation?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
For the transgressions of my people he was stricken.
And they made his grave with the wicked--
But with the rich at his death,
Because he had done no violence,
Nor was any deceit in his mouth.
B.) Our Advocate
An advocate or counsel for our defense. That he stands alongside of us when we are judged and he pleads our case.
My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And he himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
C.) Our Captain
He is portrayed as a captain of our army in which we are soldiers.
For it was fitting for him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
And in (Rev.19) you see him with a two-edged sword coming out of his mouth and he is leading an army to destroy Satan and he hosts.
D.) Our Shepherd
He is a shepherd who leads us, his sheep, to cool waters and green pastures and tends us gently and courageously defends us with his life.
"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.
Elders of the church are shepherds over his flock and he is the chief shepherd.
... and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.
II ) The Great Physician
This is the main likeness that we want to examine today, that he is a great physician or doctor that can heal all our ills.
Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.
And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"
When Jesus heard that, he said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: "I desire mercy and not sacrifice." For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."
Here Jesus likens his work to a doctor coming to help sick people. We can relate to this picture of Christ, because we really sympathize with the sick ourselves and we can see the sympathetic grace of God in this.
III ) The Disease of Sin
The worse the disease, like M. S. or Cancer or Leukemia - then the greater is our sympathy for these victims because we know there is no cure.
But the worst disease of them all is Sin, that is what Jesus was treating here. This disease affects and eats away at the inner man.
These terrible diseases that we see all the time concern society very deeply because we can see how they ravage the helpless victim and so we are concerned with new remedies all the time. Especially AIDS and right now Went Nile virus and incurable flu pandemics. These are things we do not want to get - and so we search frantically for a cure.
But sin is not like that. Sin in not outward in appearance necessarily. Sin is very deceptive and deceitful and is actually very pleasurable at times. But the ravaging damage that is caused by it does not appear readily and so "Sin" is generally ignored by people.
Isaiah was sent to Judah at a time when the sickness was in its advanced stages, and the first thing he does is tell them their true condition - because the sinner is not always aware of how extensive the damage is.
Alas, sinful nation,
A people laden with iniquity,
A brood of evildoers,
Children who are corrupters!
They have forsaken Jehovah,
They have provoked to anger
The Holy One of Israel,
They have turned away backward.
Why should you be stricken again?
You will revolt more and more.
The whole head is sick,
And the whole heart faints.
From the sole of the foot even to the head,
There is no soundness in it,
But wounds and bruises and putrefying sores;
They have not been closed or bound up,
Or soothed with ointment.
Your country is desolate,
Your cities are burned with fire;
Strangers devour your land in your presence;
And it is desolate, as overthrown by foreigners.
So the daughter of Zion is left as a booth in a vineyard,
As a hut in a garden of cucumbers,
As a besieged city.
Unless Jehovah of hosts had left to us a very small remnant,
We would have become like Sodom,
We would have been made like Gomorrah.
Sin, when left untreated, is fatal. James shows us the course it takes and what it leads to in:
But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
Sin, when unchecked leads to death. That is the situation that most of the world is in now and the condition we were in before being saved.
And you he made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
Sin is infecting the inner man, the seat of our character and yet in our society it is generally being ignored. It has begun to infect younger and younger people every year. And yet, our society has thrown away the cure and the preventative measures we have to combat it. With evolution and humanism being taught in schools nation-wide and not allowing even an expression of religious belief in schools - we are getting sicker and sicker.
It affects the character. And we can see it in different situations when the character of a man is exposed.
We can see it in its drastic forms in the rise of violent and senseless killing. The rape and the murder that we take for granted now are infecting us and getting worse. Now we are faced with a corrupt national media calling evil good for the sake of tolerance and diversity. There may come a time when we as a group of Christians will not be able to condemn or speak against homosexuality from this pulpit - nor even mention it. It will be "hate speech" and illegal.
This disease will not cure itself. Jeremiah was the last prophet sent to Judah and he laments the sick condition of his homeland and realizes that though the prophets had taken steps to cure it the situation looked hopeless.
20 "The harvest is past,
The summer is ended,
And we are not saved!"
For the hurt of the daughter of my people I am hurt.
I am mourning;
Astonishment has taken hold of me.
Is there no balm in Gilead,
Is there no physician there?
Why then is there no recovery
For the health of the daughter of my people?
1 Oh, that my head were waters,
And my eyes a fountain of tears,
That I might weep day and night
For the slain of the daughter of my people!
Oh, that I had in the wilderness
A lodging place for travelers;
That I might leave my people,
And go from them!
For they are all adulterers,
An assembly of treacherous men.
"And like their bow they have bent their tongues for lies.
They are not valiant for the truth on the earth.
For they proceed from evil to evil,
And they do not know me," says Jehovah.
"Everyone take heed to his neighbor,
And do not trust any brother;
For every brother will utterly supplant,
And every neighbor will walk with slanderers.
Everyone will deceive his neighbor,
And will not speak the truth;
They have taught their tongue to speak lies;
They weary themselves to commit iniquity.
Your dwelling place is in the midst of deceit;
Through deceit they refuse to know me," says Jehovah.
They could not cure it themselves. They needed to turn to God.
III ) Jesus has the cure
1.) Jesus came to treat the disease of sin and cure it. He was prophesied as a healer.
But the hardest thing he had to do was to convince his nation that they were sick.
Jesus wanted to heal them - but you can have the worst disease in the world and a good and effective cure - but unless you recognize that you are sick and trust in the remedy, you will not be cured.
2.) Jesus is a great physician. He is the only one that can cure this disease. He is a specialist. Jesus knows what sin is. (Jno.1:1) He has been around a long time. He has seen every sin and the effects of every sin since Adam transgressed.
The flood of Noah's age was a complete purging of the disease from the earth at one point, when God saw it was hopeless to continue. Jesus was there.
He knows everything there is to know about this disease.
Jesus knows all about the disease and he knows all about his patient. He has experience, he is a competent physician - he knows what is in man. He knows how you are made and he knows how to fix what is wrong with you. We must trust in Jesus for healing.
3.) The way he got people to trust his cure was to show them his power. If we can see him heal physical diseases - then we can be assured he can heal what we cannot see way down in our hearts.
Why would Jesus say that to this man? He did not come to have his sins forgiven. Jesus here was cultivating trust and confidence in his ability to heal the soul by having God's approval in what he did and said.
Which is easier?
That is something a mere man is unable to answer. But that you may know! Jesus has power to do both of these miracles. Jesus can heal the soul.
4.) Jesus did not come just to heal bodies. His mission was to destroy the disease of sin and set man free.
The name Jesus means savior. He was sent to save us from our sins. That is what he gave his life to do.
The cure of this disease is bound up in the sacrificial giving of his blood for the remission of our sins. Like our song says, "There's power in the blood" of Jesus. It is the power to wash away the disease of sin - that is a tremendous healing power.
It is his precious blood that pays for our cure and washes the disease away. (Rev.1:5) "Unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood."
It is our faith working with his blood that lifts us up.
Christ's blood can purge our consciences and we can rise up and walk before God - pleasing in his sight.
Why cannot humanism cure the murderer? Why cannot modern psychiatry heal the depressed, the guilt ridden, victims of this disease. It is because they do not have any power.
Jesus has that power. Look at his record - look at some of the sins he has cured.
Some people think that some sins are incurable, like homosexuality or pedophilia or transvestites. But they do not know the scriptures nor the power of God.
5.) But like Israel of old, the sinner can get to the point where he rejects the cure.
People are very afraid of getting AIDS or cancer, and when they do get it, it is the end of the world for them. They will do everything in their power to stop the disease. But people are not afraid of sin, it is a much worse disease. In its later stages the person becomes corrupt and unable to tell how bad it is. The conscience gets seared and unfeeling.
The very heart that needs the cure becomes crusted over and rejects the cure.
This is what happens when we reject the cure.
This is the cure at its best. Being completely renewed inside and becoming healthy and pure and clean and innocent.
Paul says our inner man is renewed day by day. (2Cor. 4:16)
We do not want to get to the point where we are blind - we do not want to get to the point (like many each of us has seen) where we just do not want to hear it anymore.
Is there someone that you know who has just given up? Are you giving up on the cure for sin in your life?
This woman had been bleeding for 12 years. Can you imagine? Spent all her living on doctors - but she put her trust in what Jesus could do. Jesus can heal you and recreate new life within you. You do not have to give up. How about touching Jesus?
Is there any sin that he hasn't seen before? - No.
Is there any sin that he cannot cleanse? - No.
Like Isaiah said to Israel long ago:
"Though your sins be as scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow.
Though they be red like crimson,
They shall be as wool
If you be willing and obedient."
If we are willing to put our trust in Jesus - repent of our sins - confess before men our faith and be baptized, Christ can wash our sins -- away.
The child of God has the same promise. (1Jno. 1:9)
~ Invitation ~