September 29, 2021
Scripture: And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. Matthew 4:23 ESV
Observation: Having identified himself with God’s children in the ceremony of baptism and having prepared himself for ministry during Spirit-led testing in the desert, Jesus now embarks on his mission: to teach the New-Covenant law and to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God. But it doesn’t stop there. His approach is holistic and also includes renewal and restoration of the physical body. For some, this would be complete healing. For others (like Paul), his grace would be sufficient to bear the burden. In either case, the perfection of the whole self awaits all children of God in the next life.
Takeaway: The Hebrew understanding of the mind, body, and spirit is fully integrated and cannot be compartmentalized. Indeed, when a Jew offers a shalom blessing, it means more than God’s peace. It conveys a desire for the wellness of the mind, body, and soul. Poor health of mind affects the body and spirit. Conversely, a healthy spirit marked by a mature understanding of God’s grace and holiness will positively impact our psychological and physical health. Thus, if we ignore any one of these three aspects of life, we are not administering the whole Gospel. Does that mean that we need to address physical needs if we are limited in resources or time? Does it mean that we need to wear a pastor’s or counselor’s hat even if we feel ill-equipped? No, but it does mean that we need to call on others in the community of believers to help us where we cannot serve. For our Gospel is holistic, penetrating, and transforming all aspects of our lives.
Prayer: Father God, please grant us discernment, resources, and guidance in administering your Son’s holistic Gospel to those you lead across our paths. Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling