The Great Physician

Jesus said, “They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick” (Matt. 9:12).

Thank God for doctors! I could never be one, but I am glad that we have them. They work long hours, see some of life’s worst moments, and many times get sued out of business. Maybe some of them deserve that but, on the whole, they do great things, things like restoring health and saving lives. We generally only go to them when we are sick and really only need them then. Yes, doctors do great things for our physical health. But thank God we have a Great Physician Who heals our sin-sick souls, as well.

Jesus explained what He meant by this statement above when He said further, “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Matt. 9:13). Just as the healthy don’t need a doctor, the righteous don’t need a saviour. Perhaps Jesus meant here the “self-righteous” because there are none righteous, no not one (Rom. 3:10). Jesus did not come to this world to help those who did want His help, but those who recognized that they needed His help.

Our physical health is a delicate matter, just as is our spiritual health. We may feel healthy now, but a moment later we may feel sick. Generally, the cause of our physical sickness precedes the symptoms by some period of time. When we catch the flu, it is usually some time before we start seeing the symptoms. The same is true spiritually. Our absence from the services, our disobedience, our lack of involvement in the work of the Lord, our disinterest, our spiritual apathy is usually preceded some time by the actual sickness. The symptoms are merely a manifestation of a deeper problem.

At least two ingredients are involved in maintaining our physical health: proper diet and good exercise. Physical exercise strengthens our bodies and, along with a proper diet, gives us the energy and nutrients to grow.

Spiritually, we need the same ingredients. We must have nourishment for the soul as well as the body. Peter admonished us as new born babes to desire the sincere milk of the world that we may grow thereby (I Pet. 2:2). As we grow more mature we need stronger food (Heb. 5:13,14). We also need to have our senses exercised to discern both good and evil (Heb. 5:14). In the long run, bodily exercise profits little, only in the here and now, but godliness is profitable in all things, benefitting us for eternity (I Tim. 4:8). But even exercise and a proper diet is sometimes not enough to keep us from getting sick.

There is no individual that has the remedy for man’s spiritual ills (Jer. 46:12). Jesus came and said He was anointed of God to “heal” the brokenhearted and to give sight to the blind and set at liberty them that are bruised (Luke 4:17-19). The prophet said “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:4-5). Jesus is our Great Physician that can heal the sin-sick soul.

Some doctors that deal with the flesh have very poor bedside manners. It is almost as if they do not care about the patient. Most doctors do care and express that concern for the patients, but some do not. However, Jesus not only knows how to heal He also cares. “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). The word “touched” in this verse is translated from the word “sumpatheo,” or our word “sympathy.” As the song states, “My Jesus knows, because He cares.”

So, yes, thank God for doctors. But thank God for Jesus Christ, the Great Physician, Who alone possess and knows how to use the balm of Gilead which can heal our hurt (Jer. 8:22)!

Eric L. Padgett