Bible Studies
Written by Jim Jordal   
Thursday, 18 May 2017


By Jim Jordal

Last week we looked at the first part of Jesus’ first sermon where he announces that his task is to “preach the gospel to the poor.” Today we’ll continue with the second of his duties, “to heal the brokenhearted.”

The daily news reveals only a small amount of the brokenness now increasingly pervading the land. The dreams held by so many of creating the “good” life for themselves and their families is fast disappearing as vast numbers of people realize their hopes are virtually impossible. So, what has changed to render the situation virtually hopeless for so many people?

Human beings desperately need hope that whatever assails them can and will get better. That’s a big part of why people migrate, join self-improvement groups, work hard, and vote for political parties ---all in the hope for future improvement. Without hope depression and psychological maladies afflict humans. Alcoholism and other addictions increase and suicide rates soar as a certain spirit of anger pervades society. Thus we witness rising assaults of various types and almost continuous confrontations between racial, sexual, age and cultural groups. And people come to the conclusion that the “glue” formerly holding society together has somehow melted away, leaving large groups of distressed, alienated, and near-hopeless people just drifting through life.

What’s happened is that money and power have finally won the struggle to dominate and rule. The public used to believe that the constitutional system of “checks and balances” and “separation of powers” would prevent governmental excesses. But now that we need them, where are they? They are suborned and seduced by the minions of power represented by the one percent of our people holding far more than their share of wealth and power.

They now have sufficient power to dare to propose the new Republican-initiated Trumpcare plan to replace the hated Obamacare. If implemented as proposed, this austere plan will have the effect of denying desperately-needed health care for  some 24 million Americans over the coming decade, thus forcing them back into using even more expensive emergency room care. It would also allow insurance companies to reject sicker and older people from affordable coverage.

Proponents of the new plan should realize as they crow about “saving the system” that their efforts really constitute “grinding the faces of the poor,” as the prophet Isaiah so succinctly said (Isa. 3:15).  Not only are the sufferers without hope, but their faces are pushed down and ground into their desperation. The dollars saved by this onslaught upon the poor will help create the trillion dollar tax cut for the wealthy mentioned in Trump’s classic one-page tax reduction plan. Shame on those legislators who support this travesty of justice. 

This struggle of wealthy power brokers against the poor is not new. It has been quietly proceeding since the founding of our country, periodically reaching sufficient severity to cause public outcry. Back in 1896 it reached crescendo at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago as the forces of elitism backing the financial gold standard (meaning generally tight money) clashed with bimetallists wanting both gold and silver because a plenteous supply of cheaper silver promised better times. Nebraskan William Jennings Bryan rose to the occasion with a gripping speech defining the struggle and its effects upon the poor with his never-to-be-forgotten message to the powers of wealth: “You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns; you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold,”

But Bryan lost the election to William McKinley, thus the money powers continued their sway until the Great Depression again raised the issue of power versus poverty. Today we view the endless struggle once again in the medical care field. How many faces will be ground into the dust as the supposedly human right to have access to adequate medical care is minimized and removed from vast numbers of citizens who have little or no say in the matter?

Only by placing the issue on the agenda of justice denied will we be able to prevent this newest disaster for the poor. We need in our places of worship to recognize and popularize what Jesus said he came to do: “To heal the brokenhearted.” Only by doing this can we fully implement what Jesus clearly taught.