The Great Physician

WHEN JESUS AND his disciples were walking along a road one day, they saw a man who was blind. His disciples asked Jesus, “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 9:2,3

The disciples were reiterating a concept apparently common in their day, that suffering is a punishment for sin. This philosophy was not new. As far back in history as Job’s time this idea was expressed. Job’s three comforters attributed the calamities which came into his life as God’s punishment for his hidden sins. This belief is still quite prevalent today. In a television news segment entitled: “Is God Punishing Us?” many people interviewed expressed the conviction that some of the new diseases, and other calamities, are an expression of God’s punishing judgment upon the wicked.

If we could see a consistent pattern in the application of such a principle, perhaps it would appear more credible to believe that those who are the worst sinners experience the worst punishment—pain, disabilities, etc.; but we do not. Some of the most wicked seem to suffer the least; and vice versa. In fact, the Prophet Malachi, observing the situation, was moved to write, “Now we call the proud happy, yea, they that work wickedness are set up.”—Mal. 3:15

Jesus’ reply to the disciples emphatically denied this philosophy when he said, “Neither hath this man sinned or his parents, but that the works of God should be made manifest.” A similar thought was expressed in the account of the raising of Lazarus from the dead. Jesus told the witnesses at that momentous event that Lazarus’ sickness “was not unto death, but that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” (John 11:4) But Lazarus did die. However he was brought forth from the grave and no doubt lived a normal span of life until be died again.

Why God Permits Evil

One of the deep things of God is a knowledge concerning why God permits evil. Many in the world would like an answer to this question. The Scriptures teach that all the calamities, poverty, sickness, and evil, etc., befalling mankind, which finally culminate in that ultimate enemy, Death—all these extremely difficult experiences—will eventually work to man’s everlasting benefit.

A powerful contrast will be forced upon mankind when, after having had their experience with ‘evil’ during this lifetime, they will in due time be resurrected and brought forth into Christ’s glorious kingdom to then experience ‘good’. At the close of that thousand-year period of being exposed to the benefits of living righteously, each individual will be able to make an intelligent decision to the choice offered them: ‘Do you want to serve God and live, or do you want to serve the Adversary and die?’ For the vast majority this will not be a difficult decision.

Eventually—during the kingdom for which Christ taught us to pray, saying, ‘Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’—God’s love and mercy will be manifested to all mankind. All people will learn to prize those blessings which God will pour out freely. They will bring man close to God and to his Redeemer, Jesus Christ, through an exact understanding of their loving, wise characters. As God’s works will become manifest, all will come to a knowledge of their Creator. And through an understanding of his plan as it unfolds to its climax, mankind will gain as full an appreciation of his wisdom, his justice, his great love, and his mighty power as it is possible for human beings to reach. And this will lead them to the point where they will praise and glorify his name forever!

Jesus, the Great Physician, using a blind man as his lesson (John 9), said, “I must work the works of him that sent me while it is day. The night cometh when no man can work.” (vs. 4) The “day” spoken of here refers to the lifetime of Jesus when he preached the Gospel of the kingdom, and worked miracles upon the earth as illustrations of blessings to flow forth during that kingdom. We read in Luke 8:1, It came to pass, that he went throughout every city and village [in Israel], preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God.” This was his commission when he was upon earth. In addition, he had to lay down his life as a ransom for all, but as he went about preaching and healing, he was in the process of laying down his life.

The nighttime mentioned in John 9:4 is speaking of the death of Jesus. For him, as for all mankind, when they die there is “no device, no knowledge in the grave whither thou goest.” (Ecc. 9:10) Jesus knew his life was drawing to a close and that he must be diligent and zealous to do the work for which God sent him. There would be no more opportunity to bless mankind with the illustrations of good to come after he lay silent in the grave. This included healing all manner of diseases, which was a manifestation of the far greater healing work that will be performed in the kingdom by that Great Physician.

Jesus, Our Minister of Reconciliation

Jesus was our ‘minister of reconciliation’, our sin-offering, making us right with God. The Apostle Paul said, “If any man be in Christ, he is a New Creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.” (II Cor. 5:17-19) Then, in verses 20 and 21, Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott, Paul continued, “On behalf of Christ, therefore, we are ambassadors; as if God were inviting through us, we entreat, on behalf of Christ,—be you reconciled to God! For him who knew no sin, he made a Sin offering on our behalf, that we might become God’s Righteousness in him.” What a wonderful expression of how we must walk in Jesus’ footsteps, continuing his work during earthly lives, and making us “workers together with him”!—II Cor. 6:1

Jesus was made a sin-offering for us so that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. In other words, Jesus paid the ransom in order that we might be justified, or made right with God. In this way we can be made part of the glorious family of God—sons of God—receiving the ministry of reconciliation now. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”—Rom. 8:1

Paul continued, in II Corinthians 6:1, to say: “We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.” If we have been accepted into the family of God by grace, and have received justification to sonship with God, we must be diligent in the work that is set before us. Sonship is such an incomprehensible privilege, we certainly must not receive the grace of God in vain, but must be zealous and diligent to carry on this ministry of reconciliation to the best of our abilities, to the glory of God. “(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is a well-accepted time; behold, now is a day of salvation.) Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed.”—vss. 2,3, Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott

Returning for a moment to John 9, there Jesus said as recorded in verse 5, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Again, in Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus also said that his followers are the light of the world. “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.” We have the same work to do which Jesus performed when he walked upon the earth, of proclaiming the Gospel of the kingdom, and heralding forth the glad tidings of the blessings that will occur during the Millennial Age, when his kingdom is abroad upon the earth, and when the inhabitants will learn righteousness.—Isa. 26:9

We today, of course, cannot raise the dead or heal the sick, as Jesus did. But we can spread abroad the Gospel with its good news concerning the time when all will be raised from the dead, and all their diseases will be healed (Ps. 103:3), and when all men will receive the ministry of reconciliation made available to them. (vs. 12) All creatures in heaven and on earth will “do his commandments”, “bless the Lord,” and will “do his pleasure.” (vss 20,21,22) In that day, all will be his “ministers.”—vs. 21

The Apostle Paul wrote upon this subject in I Thessalonians 5:6. There he restated the words of Jesus, saying, “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.”

Jesus Healed the Blind Man

After Jesus explained to his disciples that the blind man was not in his pitiable condition due to either his own sin, or that of his parents, he proceeded to heal him. “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. … He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.” (John 9:6,7) What a wonderful miracle this was!

It is interesting to note that this healing of the blind man occurred on the Sabbath Day. In the Scriptures the Sabbath points forward to the kingdom, when Christ will be the Lord of the Sabbath. (Luke 6:5) But this miracle affected only one man, and think of the millions—yes, even billions—the world over, throughout the centuries of man’s history, who have gone down, sick, suffering, and dying, into death.

The Lord did not plan only to heal the few which his gentle hands touched during his lifetime. No—his plan includes every child of Adam. “Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. … God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him.” (I Cor. 15:21,22,38) And it would not ‘please’ God to resurrect mankind with maimed and deformed bodies. As his gentle hands lift each member of the human race in their turn out of the grave, certainly they will also be healed, and returned to life on earth with whole bodies and minds, so that they will be in a condition to receive the glorious news that Christ’s kingdom—the great Sabbath Day—will give them the first full chance they have had to learn to know and love their Creator, their Redeemer, and the Lord.

The Blind Man’s Part

The blind man had a part to play also to make this miracle happen. He had to go and wash in the pool of Siloam. He had to demonstrate his obedience, and his faith. On other occasions also, when people were healed by Jesus, a measure of faith had to be evidenced. For instance: the paralytic man who was instructed to pick up his bed and walk.—Mark 2:9-12

The man who was blind is figurative of the blindness of the world. The method used by God during the Gospel Age to draw his elect to him is illustrated here. These have been healed, not physically, but spiritually. There are many blind in the world today, but very few who receive their spiritual eyesight. Soon there will be a day when all the blind eyes will be opened, and all the deaf ears will hear. But we are among the followers of Jesus who have been blessed now by being dipped in the pool of Siloam, and whose ears have been privileged to hear, and our eyes to see.—Matt. 13:16

The word Siloam means “Sent.” Jesus was the one sent of God to draw disciples after him to follow in his footsteps and carry on the work of preaching the Gospel throughout this age. Those who respond go to the Lord, the Sent one, and there they receive the Holy Spirit of enlightenment and are healed.

The Neighbors

“The neighbors therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he.” Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight.”—John 9:8-11

His neighbors might represent our neighbors, co-workers, friends or relatives who are quite skeptical when we tell them how our eyes had been opened by Jesus, and our ears unstopped, to receive spiritual healing, and the wonderful message of the Gospel of salvation, not only for ourselves, but for all the world. Not all men have faith at the present time. But some might be moved by our message, and come to Christ to present themselves a living sacrifice also—but not many today do this. There will be a day when all men will be drawn to Christ, which we look forward to with eager anticipation and yearning.

The Pharisees, “Others,” and The Jews

“They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind. And it was the Sabbath Day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see. Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the Sabbath Day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them. They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet.” (John 9:13-17) What a variety of opinions were expressed, and interpretations of what had happened! Instead of a straightforward acceptance and belief in what their eyes told them had happened, many different explanations were tendered! But the blind man himself realized simply that Jesus was a prophet!

“But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight.” (vs. 18) The Jews in general, and especially the priestly class, had no faith in Jesus, particularly since many of his miracles were performed on the Sabbath Day. This enraged and offended them. They did not realize, of course, that Jesus chose to heal on the Sabbath as an illustration of the greater healing work which he would accomplish during the Millennial Age—the Greater Sabbath Day.

The Blind Man’s Parents

“The Jews … called the parents of him that had received his sight. And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? How then doth he now see? His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: but by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself.” (vss. 18-21) So they (the Jews) went back to the man who had been blind, and said unto him: “Give God the praise: we know that this man [Jesus] is a sinner. He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.”

Later, after the Jews had cast the man out, Jesus spoke again with him. He asked him, “Dost thou believe on the Son of God?” The man told Jesus he had never heard of the Son of God, and therefore how could he believe on him? So Jesus said, “Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.”—vss. 34-37

Yes, there are many levels of understanding, or lack of understanding the message we preach, which these different classes represent. But, basically most of them evidence a lack of faith. Faith is such a precious commodity in the world, and in order to be pleasing to God we must have faith in him and his Son.

When All Eyes Will Be Opened

For all the promises of the Bible to be fulfilled, first the exercise of divine power in the resurrection of the dead is essential. When Jesus was raised from the dead by his Father, he was highly exalted to the right hand of God. Another exercise of divine power which has always been a major factor in the plan of God is the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus’ footstep followers at the due time. This is spoken of in the Bible as the first resurrection, which we believe began to take place at the beginning of our Lord’s Second Presence. These faithful ones will be raised to divine power, which they will exert from their heavenly position, to help in the restoration of mankind in general upon the earth as perfect human beings. The blessed period during which this restoration work is accomplished is described by the Apostle Peter as “times of restitution of all things.” He informs us that this loving feature of the divine plan was foretold by all God’s holy prophets since the world began.—Acts 3:19-21

When all the false gods are destroyed, and the true and living God of Creation is exalted and worshiped by all mankind, then will be fulfilled the Apostle John’s prophecy of the time when, as he wrote, “Every creature which is in heaven and on the earth, and all that are in them, heard I saying, blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever.” (Rev. 5:13) The throne is here used as a symbol of the Creator’s sovereignty over his creatures, and the lamb is a symbol of Christ who meekly gave himself in sacrifice, that mankind might be restored to life.

How glad we are that in due time both the Father and the Son will be universally recognized and acclaimed. Then all false gods will have been destroyed. Then the people, enlightened and restored to human perfection, will rejoice to worship and serve the true God, and in so doing will themselves live forever in peace and happiness.

The pleasure of the Lord (Ps. 103:21) here referred to is the redemption and recovery of the fallen human race from sin and death. The Great Physician, Jesus, makes this possible through his own sacrifice on Calvary’s cross. He became the propitiation (Rom. 3:25) or satisfaction for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. (I John 2:2) The Apostle Paul also wrote: “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”—I Tim. 2:3-6

This is the salvation pictured by Moses when he led the children of Israel out of Egypt, across the Red Sea, and eventually, under the leadership of Joshua, into the Promised Land. When the world of mankind also reach the Promised Land—Christ’s kingdom—they will have their eyes of their understanding opened to know about the love of God through Christ, and the vast majority will willingly and joyfully take advantage of the opportunity for perfect everlasting life offered to them.

The Heavenly Reward

But a still more glorious opportunity has been offered to those who believe. If faithful, these will be exalted to heavenly glory to be with Jesus and to share in the rulership of his kingdom. (Rev. 2:10; 3:21) It is to these that Jesus said, “Fear not, little flock, it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32) It is to these that Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.”—John 14:2,3

How merciful is our God! He has made provisions for us, formerly the fallen sons of Adam, that we might now come into his family and to be called the sons of God! In the kingdom we will, if faithful, have the privilege of being members of the Great Physician class—of working with our Lord Jesus to open all the blind eyes and to help mankind walk up the highway of holiness.—Isa. 35:5-8

May the kingdom soon come for which we have all prayed, and the work of the Great Physician heal the world of mankind from all their diseases, both spiritual and physical.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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