The Great Physician

IN THE NINTH chapter of the Gospel of John, we find an account of a conversation between Jesus and his disciples, just after he escaped from the Pharisees who were planning to stone him to death. As he and his disciples walked along together, they saw a man begging, who was blind from birth. “His disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus replied, “Neither hath this man sinned nor his parents, but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”—John 9:3

At that time the Holy Spirit had not yet enlightened the minds of the disciples to an understanding of why God permits men to suffer and to die. This discernment would not come until after Jesus’ death and resurrection, and until Pentecost had come, bringing with it the baptism of the Holy Spirit of truth upon the apostles. It is even possible that some of the disciples thought that such a malady as this pitiful blindness must have been caused by great sin at some time. Among many peoples of that era, and even today, there is held the thought of individuals having lived previously, and, that their present condition depends upon their conduct of life at that prior time. However, Jesus dispelled those thoughts immediately with his answer, quoted above.

In the account of the death of Jesus’ beloved friend, Lazarus, the Scriptures again inform us that the purpose of that experience, and the calling forth of Lazarus from the tomb, was that the glory of God might be manifested. It was that the disciples’ faith in Jesus as the one sent of God to be their Redeemer might be strengthened.—John 11:4,14,15,25,40

An understanding of why God permits evil is a great blessing, and it is an important portion of the deep things which he permits some of his faithful to comprehend. In reality the calamities, the want and poverty, the sickness and disease, the crime and strife and war, all finally culminating in death, are for the education of mankind. This exposure will accrue to man’s benefit ultimately, through the resurrection from the dead and through the blessings administered during the time when the kingdom of Christ is established upon earth. Then all mankind will be privileged to compare their present experience with the exceeding sinfulness of sin and contrast it with the obvious blessings and benefits of righteousness. Each man will then be able to answer wisely for himself the question, “Do I want to serve God, or do I want to serve the Adversary?”

Since wisdom is the proper application of knowledge, the intelligent comprehension of the reason for God’s permission of evil can be a great blessing to those of faith and understanding at the present time. Eventually, however, God’s goodness, his glorious attributes of wisdom, justice, love, and power are going to be made known to all, when his long-promised and much-needed kingdom blessings of enlightenment, and assistance are received by the human family. See Matthew 20:28; Romans 5:12-21; I Corinthians 15:22-28; Hebrews 2:9; and Revelation 21:1-5; 22:17.

On the occasion of Jesus’ healing the blind man, recorded in John 9:4, we read Jesus’ words, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day. The night cometh, when no man can work.” We believe that the ‘day’ spoken of in this text of Scripture refers to the short lifetime of Jesus upon this earth. Jesus worked thousands of miracles, and he preached the Gospel of the kingdom. (Matt. 4:23-25) In Luke 8:1 we read, “He went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God.”

Jesus did not, during his earthly ministry, preach to everyone in the world, nor did he heal everyone afflicted with an infirmity. At his First Advent, Jesus understood that his purpose was, in accordance with the will of God, to lay down his perfect human life in obedient sacrifice to provide the ransom for the sin-forfeited life of Adam and the whole human race as yet unborn in Adam’s loins. (John 3:16,17; 4:34; Matt. 20:28) The miracles and healings that our Master performed during his First Advent were to manifest his authority as the one sent of God—the Son of God—and to show forth or ‘foreshadow’ the blessings of his future kingdom.—John 2:11; 5:36-39; 8:42; 18:36; Heb. 8:5; 10:1

When Jesus uttered these words, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day,” he knew that his earthly life and ministry were drawing to a close. He realized the truth of the scripture, “There is no … knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave whither thou goest.” (Eccles. 9:10) Therefore he realized he must be diligent and zealous in doing the work for which God had sent him, for so long a time as his earthly life lasted.

Sometimes this verse is translated, “We must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day.” Of course this is true from the standpoint of those becoming disciples of Christ during this Gospel Age. Jesus, in his recorded prayer in John 17:18, said: “As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.” And again after his resurrection Jesus said to the disciples: “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”—John 20:21

While Jesus’ disciples of the present time do not have the privilege of healing or performing miracles such as the apostles and disciples of Jesus’ day did, nevertheless our commission is, like his, to preach the Gospel of the kingdom. It is our prerogative to tell the glad tidings of the greater blessings of his millennial kingdom when Satan will be bound, and the opportunity and help will be available to all people for attaining everlasting life, health, peace, and joy. All mankind will individually return to full favor with God as part of his perfect family of human sons.—Luke 3:38; 19:10

Let us consider the words of the Apostle Paul as recorded in II Corinthians 5:17-21, and continuing in chapter 6:1-4. “If any man be in Christ, he is a New Creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (vs. 17) All these ‘new things’ have been given to the New Creature by God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ. He has given to us the ministry of reconciliation. He has committed to us the word of reconciliation!

“Now then,” he says, “we are ambassadors for Christ.” (vs. 20) Our citizenship is in heaven, and therefore we are representatives of heaven even now. Paul continues to say that God is beseeching the world of mankind through our ministry concerning the coming kingdom. We have a commission to preach the fact of reconciliation between God and man as having been accomplished in the death of Jesus Christ. So we pray “in Christ’s stead, Be ye reconciled to God.” Those who hear the call and respond affirmatively, become members of God’s family and, in turn, receive the commission also. By reacting favorably to the message of reconciliation they are evidencing their acceptance of Jesus’ death as a suitable offering for sin (Mark 1:11), and receive justification in the sight of God because of their faith.

Since we have heard this ministry of reconciliation and have accepted it, we become part of God’s family—we are his sons, and can call him our Father. (John 20:17) And we must be diligent in the work that is set before us lest we receive the grace of God in vain. “I have heard thee in a time acceptable and in a day of salvation have I succored thee. Behold, now is the accepted time, behold, now is the day of salvation. Giving no offense in anything that the ministry be not blamed, but in all things approving [establishing] ourselves as the ministers of God in much patience.”—II Cor. 6:2-4

In John 9:4 Jesus goes on to say, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” The disciples of Jesus are commissioned to be the light of the world also: “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick: and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” These were Jesus’ own words given to us in Matthew 5:14-16. And the Apostle Paul also said, “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day. Therefore let us not sleep as do others, but let us watch and be sober.”—I Thess. 5:5,6

The thought is again emphasized in these passages that we have a work to do which must not be neglected—a commission to preach the ministry of reconciliation far and wide to every kindred, nation and tribe, in order to find the ones who will, themselves, continue to carry on the message. The picture of a candlestick whose candle sheds light in every direction; the picture of a city whose existence is obvious because it is set high upon a hill; and the idea of setting a watch upon our lives that the “ministry be not blamed,” all tell the same story concerning the work of the called-out ones, the church class, those who will eventually be part of the Messiah which will heal the world of all its ills—the Great Physician.

When Jesus healed the blind man, he did it in an unusual way. “He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and said unto him, Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam.” Then the Scriptures say, “He [the blind man] went on his way, therefore, and washed, and came seeing.” Isn’t that wonderful!

But it was only one man! In the Millennial Age, this same miracle will happen to the entire world! They will not only receive fresh, new physical sight, but the blind eyes of their minds and hearts will be opened to see and appreciate their Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus—their laws, their love, their principles of righteousness, justice, and truth.

The healing of the blind man occurred on the Sabbath Day, which is a picture of the Millennial Age. This suggests most strongly that the many wonderful miracles Jesus performed during his earthly ministry were to show forth the blessings which will be poured out without measure upon mankind during the kingdom age by the Great Physician.

And it was by a very strange means that this blind man received his sight. Jesus applied a mixture of the dust of the ground—the same dust of the ground from which Adam had originally been formed—and the spittle of our Lord. In Adam’s case, his body had been formed from clay, and his life came from the breath of life being breathed into his nostrils by the Lord.—Gen. 2:7

In this man’s case, as in others we recall, Jesus required that for his healing to have effect, obedience must be manifested—the blind man must show faith by obediently bathing in the Pool of Siloam. This was also true in the case of the paralytic man, who, after he was healed was instructed to take up his bed and walk. (John 5:8) The man’s obedience indicated a trust and belief in Jesus.

The name of the pool—Siloam—is very significant. The word means “sent.” This pool was the means by which the man’s eyes were literally opened. And Jesus is the means whereby our eyes are opened to the truths of the plan of God, and Jesus was indeed “sent of God.”—John 3:17; 4:34; 5:24,30; 8:16; Acts 3:26

After the blind man had been healed, there were a number of people besides himself who were affected. We read about his neighbors and their reactions; we read about the Pharisees, and what they thought; we read about the man’s parents; and, of course, about the man himself.

His neighbors could not really believe their senses. They asked each other, “Is not this he that sat and begged?” And some answered: “Well, he looks like him!” but they would not commit themselves to believing that a miracle had happened. But the man himself said, “I am he!” The Pharisees were only worried about the fact that this man had been healed on the Sabbath Day. “This man [Jesus] is not of God, because he keepeth not the Sabbath Day.” And the Jews did not believe the man had ever been blind, so they summoned his parents to prove their theory. And the parents said, “This is our son, and he was born blind. But we do not know anything about how he was healed. He is of age, ask him!” Then the blind man said, “One thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see!”

At that point the Pharisees cast him out. Jesus, knowing this, searched for him and found him, and asked him, “Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him. And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.”—John 9:36-38

We read pertaining to another healing by the Great Physician in Matthew 12:10-13. “Behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they [the Pharisees] asked him [Jesus], saying, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath Day? that they might accuse him. And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the Sabbath Day, will he not lay hold on it and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep. Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath Day.” How wise and kind was Jesus’ reasoning, and how eloquent his words of reply.

How thankful we should be that we who are the followers of the Master at this time have felt the healing touch of our Great Physician. He has opened our eyes, and lifted us up, making us not only to walk, but to run and to leap with joy along the pathway he has marked out for us to follow in his footsteps. And, if we are faithful in this endeavor, we will enjoy the blessing of being part of the Great Physician during the Millennial Age, working with our Lord Jesus to open all the blind eyes. It will be our privilege to lift up mankind out of the mirey clay and set their feet upon the solid rock, assisting them to walk up the highway of holiness to perfect health and happiness, to enjoy everlasting life, as obedient, loving human sons of God.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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