Would it make sense to put a cast on your arm if you stubbed your toe? How smart would it be to put a band-aid on when you get a headache, or take cough medicine when your back hurts? Not very smart at all, actually. When we have a particular problem, there is usually a particular remedy that gets us back to health and wholeness - anything else is simply a waste of time. Often, our idea of "good" medicine involves managing symptoms (pain, discomfort) instead of treating the illness. But some of our best healing does not come from "easy" remedies but ordeals that can be difficult or even painful.
For example, if you have hip or knee replacement surgery you'll need some physical therapy just to keep your muscle mass up. From what I hear it can be difficult. Or what if you have cancer? We actually use chemotherapy, which is, truthfully, a mild poison.
And yet, we understand that it is better to go through the tough remedies than face a life stuck in our hopelessness. As some local billboards profess, "We don't treat cancer, we treat patients." A truly "Good" Friday must deal with the patients, not the symptoms.
This patient-centered attitude is exactly why Jesus' idea of healing was so different from that of Judas or Peter. In John 18:1-11, everyone wants Jesus. Judas wants Jesus to act so he betrays him. Peter wants Jesus alive (or in the least, to die with him) so he attacks those who threaten Jesus.
But Jesus... he realizes that just putting a band-aid on a broken and sinful heart will not heal anything. What we need are new hearts. And for that kind of remedy, a painful ordeal must happen. Worse than chemo. Worse than physical therapy.
I'd also like to point out that the death that Jesus faced is a result of people not wanting to go the distance Jesus was willing to go in righteousness. The response is to kill Jesus. We would rather shut him up than try his methods.
Let me say it another way: Jesus lived in perfect communion with God. Rather than receiving the healing that comes from living like Christ, we would rather short God and ourselves and take this half-healed existence. But God will stop at nothing to see us through. In a few days, we will find that the darkest and most difficult remedy bears fruits that are stronger than death itself.
That's our healing story for the day. Crazy, huh?
Prayer: Almighty Healer - You are the great Physician. Help me to root out the parts of my life that are not Christ-like. May I cling to your will as it is good and healthy. On this Good Friday, help me to go the distance and see Friday through to Sunday. May I join you in your passion for health and wholeness.
In the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
I wrote this for my church's Lenten Devotional and thought I'd share it. Easter is coming!!!