March 2017

An Accurate Diagnosis

One of the key things we expect of a Doctor is an accurate diagnosis of our condition. “Cyberchondria” has recently become a phenomenon – self-diagnosis using the internet!  Most of us, however, prefer time spent with a real person with knowledge, experience and empathy when we are ill.

When it comes to an accurate diagnosis of the general human condition, there are many views. Human beings are as mathematician Blaise Pascal put it “the glory and the scandal of the universe”. We are a complex mixture of good and bad. But why?

In an interaction with religious leaders of His day Jesus said “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For from within, out of the heart of people, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” (Mark 7:20)

Jesus’ diagnosis challenges us all not least because many who influence our culture seem to believe that we are all essentially good and only fail because of our background and environment. Jesus shows that the presenting symptoms in his list betray the reality that we are broken and have a spiritual illness caused by us having turned away from God.

In the same chapter of Mark, Jesus (encouragingly) says  “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 7:17) Doctor Jesus came, not for those who are in denial of their symptoms but those who recognise them. As with many illnesses a Doctors’ accurate diagnosis can lead to a treatment. Jesus’ medicine is receiving the benefits of what He came to do giving “his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). His rising again and gift of the Holy Spirit offer the prospect of a new life with a new heart and ultimately a life completely free of symptoms when He returns.

The upcoming season of Lent (which begins on Ash Wednesday March 1st) has often been used as a reminder of our need, to be a time to admit our problem and seek the help of Doctor Jesus. He is a Doctor who, as God come to live on earth as a human being, has true knowledge, experience and empathy.

Matthew Brailsford

All Saints – Serving our community