Summary: As Christians with a strong history and theology of healing, we should be equally excited and encouraging of Stem Cell research. It is new (since 1998), it is incredibly promising, and it is motivated by compassion and a desire to alleviate suffering. S
Science and Healing: Series – In the World But Not Of It
April 24, 2005
Christopher Reeve. Nancy Reagan. Michael J. Fox. Just a few high-profile individuals who have been extremely vocal in their advocacy for aggressive health research into new treatments for disease through stem cell research. We understand where they are coming from, because we see and have compassion on their pain. And as Christians, so we should. We have a God who sees our pain and responds with compassion, we have a Savior who, as He walked on earth, saw pain and responded with compassion and with healing. As Jesus sent His 12 disciples out on a missions trip, He even gave them a specific mandate: “7As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ 8Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matt 10:7-8).
The Importance Of Healing:
Even before Jesus came, we read stories of God healing people. Namaan the leper, Hannah the barren, Elijah and the widow of Zeraphath’s son, Elisha and the Shunammite woman’s son. Scripture is clear that disease is to be fought, life is to be cherished, and health is desirable and to be pursued. That is an important part of the message of Scripture, and of salvation, and is the part I am going to talk about today. But it is not a primary message. There are things more important than our physical health, such as our trust in the goodness of God, our acceptance of the sovereignty of God, and our confidence that the ultimate healing and restoration of our whole selves, body and soul, is accomplished only when we step across the threshold of death and into the eternal life with God in heaven. At that point, we know, there is “no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Rev 21:4). Death actually leads us to the ultimate healing.
Jesus The Healer:
As I read the Gospel stories of Jesus, I see this incredible compassion that He had for those who were suffering, and I see Jesus acting to restore these broken, hopeless, outcast people who were plagued by some sickness or deformity that was ruining their lives. Jesus saw the hurt, saw the pain, and saw how devastating it was and chose to do something about it.
On one occasion, Jesus was trying to get away. He got in a boat, and He and the disciples headed for “a solitary place.” But the crowds that had been following heard about it, and hustled along on foot. Matthew 14:14 tells us, “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.”
Earlier in Matthew, chapter 8:1-17, we have several stories back to back:
“1When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
3Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. 4Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
5When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6“Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.”
7Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.”
8The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
13Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.
14When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. 15He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.
16When evening came, many who were demon possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.”