The paragraphs following are the next instalment of our ‘Articles for Young People’ series. These articles are perhaps most suitable for 8-13 year olds, though of course beneficial to us all. If you have a bit more time on your hands than normal during this pandemic season, why not sit down with your children and read this to them? Or record a video message of you reading this story and send it to your grandchildren if you are in isolation?
As we read the gospel story, we naturally think of Christ as the great Physician. We find him going around doing good, healing all manner of sickness and disease. He was the Physician of the body, “I will; be thou clean.” (Matthew 8:3) He was also the Physician of the soul, “Thy sins be forgiven thee.” (Matthew 9:2) And today He is still the same. He still heals the body, blessing the human instruments that are used, and He still heals the soul by means of His Word and Spirit. At this time, we wish to think of Him exclusively as the Physician of the soul, dwelling on three simple points.
1. The Disease
If there were no disease, the Physician would not be required. The Bible, however, shows us plainly that we are all- even the youngest of us- spiritually diseased, smitten with the leprosy of sin. “For there is no difference for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) We may all differ in many respects, but there is one thing common to all and that is the disease of sin. We are all familiar with the disease of leprosy so often referred to in the Bible. It is an eminent type of the disease of sin. It is loathsome, polluting, destructive of happiness, practically incurable. And so it is in regard to sin. It pollutes the human soul, it destroys real joy, and it is incurable by human means. If the disease is to be healed, we require a Divine Physician. And this brings us to our second point.
2. The Physician
“Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” (2 Corinthians 9:15) Thanks be to God for the one who is pre-eminently suited for healing the disease of the soul. In Christ we have an omnipotent Physician. Ordinary physicians may fail, but He is all-powerful. He is able to heal all those who come to God through him. In Christ we have an omniscient Physician. Ordinary physicians are limited in knowledge, but He is all wise. He never makes a mistake in diagnosing a disease. He knows all about us, and He is able to suit His treatment to our case. In Christ we have an omnipresent Physician. Sometimes we have difficulty in obtaining an ordinary physician, but we have no such difficulty in regard to the great Physician. He is everywhere present by his Spirit. He is always near at hand when we call upon Him. He is a very present help in times of trouble. (Psalm 46:1)
3. The Remedy
What is the remedy which the great Physician prescribes in a Word? It is His blood. By his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5) His remedy is free. We can have it without money and without price. (Isaiah 55:1) We must bear in mind, however, that it is of no use until it is applied. And how is it applied? It is applied by the Holy Spirit, through faith. The Holy Spirit convinces us of our sin and enables us to see that we are sick and need the Physician. Conscious of our need, we go to Christ, put our case in His hands, and look to Him to heal us. That is faith- looking to Christ to heal us; putting ourselves entirely under His care. When we are enabled to do this, the remedy is applied, our sins are washed away, and we have joy and peace in believing. And then we should always remember that one visit to the Physician is not sufficient. We need to visit Him continually. We need daily pardon and cleansing. Surely, as young people, we should be thankful for such a position. We should join in the words of the psalmist,
Bless, oh my soul, the Lord thy God, And not forgetful be
Of all His gracious benefits He has bestowed on thee.
All thine iniquities who doth Most graciously forgive:
Who thy diseases all and pains Doth heal and thee relieve.
Alexander R. Wright
A. R. Wright grew up in Northern Ireland. He was minister in the Ballylaggan Congregation of the RPCI from 1934 until his retirement in 1971. Rev Wright was father in law to Rev Edward Donnelly and Grandfather to Mrs Ruth Peel (married to Rev Warren Peel, current Pastor of Trinity RPC in Belfast). This article has been re-published with the permission of the Wright family.