I’ll admit that I was startled when I first considered the idea, for I have always thought of healing as a deeply personal experience. As a pastor for nearly 30 years, I have been a witness to hundreds of very private moments where God’s power healed a broken body, transformed a sinful heart, or restored a wounded marriage. I have told and retold the stories of Jesus’ miracles in dozens of sermons, praying that my hearers would reach out for the grace that still makes hurting people whole, one life at a time.
But what happens when a wounded body is restored or a broken relationship is mended? What happened in the circles and the villages to which those 10 former lepers of whom Luke’s Gospel tells us returned after Jesus healed them? Lives beyond their own were quickly and even dramatically changed. Jobs were resumed; marriages were restored; children were parented; friendships were picked up where they had been left when disease first brought its awful interruption. The ever-widening ripples of change that flowed from that tenfold instant of healing moved on to change families and social structures and villages and nations. And all of this—all this change and transformation—was clearly in the mind of Christ when He spoke the word that made 10 individuals whole.
Seventh-day Adventists have historically been careful about publicly advocating for societal change, for we have seen how quickly the grace and healing intended by the Great Physician can be obscured by picket signs and political maneuvering. What began as a profoundly spiritual quest to connect the lost and broken to Jesus can easily descend into an all-consuming passion for social power and domination. But let’s never mistake the fact that the good news of Jesus, which offers us eternal life, should always make a noticeable difference in the here and now—on street corners and in villages and in every relationship a healed life experiences. The woman who learns to read the Bible acquires economic status and social influence for good because of her new skill. The abusive husband who forsakes his habits of violence and intimidation because his heart has been changed by Jesus becomes a bulwark for righteousness in his business, in his family, in his community, and in his church.
As you read this month’s featured article about the “End It Now” campaign now widening around the world, pray that the healing—and the change—will reach the street where you live.