When I taught Sunday School, I always started any new series by asking God what we should study and then listening. And asking…and listening….and following ideas…and asking…and listening and then a kind of peace would settle on me as I landed on the direction that was whispered in my ear.
I have been approaching the 2020 Journey through Lent with the same method and a plan has come together.
It will be business as usual for the Journey Onward blog and mini-posts on Instagram…meaning a little bit of thoughtful mixed with a little bit of deeper mixed with a little bit of shenanigans from our every day life.
But the Friday posts and emails will be our Lenten focus and the plan is to gear these to more of a learning experience from the accounts of Jesus ministry here on earth.
Today we are looking at a short passage in Matthew, just after He has called the first of His disciples and before the recording of The Sermon on the Mount.
Jesus has begun His teaching and preaching and healing ministry and we find this sentence that intrigued me this morning in Matthew 4:
“Now Jesus began to go all over Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among them.”Matthew 4:23 CSB
I always love to check in on how Eugene Peterson words things in The Message and I found this:
“He also healed people of their diseases and of the bad effects of their bad lives.”The Message Matthew 4:23
I was curious what the difference between “sickness” and “disease” might be and so I looked them up in a regular dictionary since translators of English from Greek would be using the words by definition that best suit the meaning in Greek.
According to the Webster New Collegiate Dictionary:
disease: 1. obsolete; trouble 2. a condition of the living animal or plant body or of one of its parts that impairs the performance of a vital function 3. a harmful development (as in a social institution)
sickness: 1a. ill health: illness b. disordered or weakened condition, or unsound condition (as of a society or a particular institution) 2.a specific disease 3. nausea, queasiness
Not at all what I was expecting to find.
I would have thought physical illness was the extent of it.
But how much more healing Jesus wants to do in this world.
We often focus and limit our faith-filled prayers to the physical illnesses when He has the power to bring health and wholeness to not only our bodies and minds, but our souls and spirits – to our institutions…schools, governments, families, churches, communities.
He has the power to bring order to the chaos, to strengthen what is weak and ineffective, to bring stability and soundness to the house of cards that is our world.
While we can believe Him for physical healing, sometimes we doubt He can heal the disease of our society and our institutions.
His ministry continues now as it did before both in heaven as our Intercessor and through the Body of Christ here among us.
Are we taking up the same mind set as that of Christ and both praying and working towards the healing of the sickness and disease inside us and around us?
Something to ponder this first Friday of Lent.