Bible Studies
Written by Jim Jordal   
Saturday, 04 February 2012


By Jim Jordal

The book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. He opened the book, and found the place where it was written, "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, Because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted…"

Luke 4:17-18a, WEB (emphasis mine)

The second action statement given by Jesus as he announced his mission was that he came to heal the brokenhearted: those miserable souls trapped in hopelessness, depression, anguish, purposelessness, or the feeling that their hearts are actually physically broken by adversity or great loss. According to experts, sometimes their hearts really do "break" or break down into heart attacks or other circulatory diseases. In any event, a broken heart is a serious affliction that can have disastrous consequences unless it finds healing.

We dilute the full meaning of what it means to be brokenhearted when we "spiritualize" the term by claiming Jesus was speaking only to those whose hearts were broken in the spiritual sense. Certainly he came to heal people heartbroken in spirit, but his promises of healing also included people heartbroken by physical suffering, poverty, mental illness, slavery and a host of other causes. We mentioned last week that we also minimize the power of God when we explain Jesus’ preaching of the gospel to the poor by saying that the hearers were "poor in spirit," or humble seekers after truth, not the abject, miserable people who were also poor in the flesh. Let’s stop minimizing the power of God because of inadequate biblical interpretation.

We further dilute the full meaning of Jesus’ promise to heal the brokenhearted when we "futurize" his healing far off into a somewhere-sometime heaven where all human ills will be made whole. Yes, there is such a place in the future, but what about the power of Jesus to heal the brokenhearted in this world, today? Didn’t he mean this, too?

Then we have the common religious propensity to "individualize" the promises of Jesus by claiming they are only for specific individuals who have somehow managed to obtain God’s favor. But can’t brokenheartedness be experienced by groups of people including entire nations? Doesn’t the resurrection power of Christ reach beyond individuals?

The term "heal" used by Jesus means much more than a mere palliative or lessening of pain. It means the complete healing that would result from restoring what has been lost or making restitution for something that was once possessed but is now lost. It means a permanent cure rather than a temporary lessening of pain. It means healing in the full sense of that which only God can provide, or a delivering, healing totality far beyond normal human effort or understanding.

In the full context of prophetic teachings like Jubilee and other similar truths preached by Christ we can conclude that Jesus can and will heal those people brokenhearted from any cause, including generic sin. He also heals in every sense of the word---not only spiritually, but also physically, financially, socially, politically and so on.

Healing of every kind would infuse he human experience if biblical righteousness and justice were to be fully implemented here on earth. And that’s exactly what we pray for every Sunday with the well-known words, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." These aren’t just words of wistful, wishful hope or anticipation. They are words of promise that are as certain as the existence of God.. They will occur when Jubilee becomes, not a utopian hope, but an impending reality. It’s not off in the then-and-there, but is a reality in the here-and-now. It’s as certain as tomorrow’s sunrise.

The apostle Peter addressed this coming transformation and the human penchant to ignore or minimize it when he wrote, " But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.  Therefore since all these things are thus to be destroyed, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy living and godliness…" (2 Peter 3:10-11, WEB).

Many Christians believe in a literal burning-up of the earth and its evil systems. I like to think of it more as a "changing in the atom," or a total and complete transformation of both the earth and its works into something pleasing to God and fit for his earthly kingdom.

We are challenged to allow these words of Peter and the teachings of Christ to make a difference in our faith and personal deportment. Let it be so!