Christian Economics: Teacher’s Edition
And the Lord will take away from you all sickness, and none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which you knew, will he inflict on you, but he will lay them on all who hate you (Deuteronomy 7:15).
AnalysisHealing is an aspect of covenantal ethics, according to the Bible. Health is a blessing of God; sickness is a curse. This is why the early church in the New Testament used healing as a way to demonstrate God’s new work of redemption, which was evidence of the church as God’s ecclesiastical representative in history, the replacement of Israel.
Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, ‘Look at us.’ And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, ‘I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!’ And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God (Acts 3:1 – 8).
The ability to heal miraculously has always been regarded by the masses as evidence of a person’s special relation to God. This same attitude prevails today in an era of scientific medicine. Medical missionaries are granted access into nations that are otherwise closed to missionaries. Political leaders regard the benefits of healing as outweighing the negatives of evangelism. Jews understood this principle in the Middle Ages. They became physicians to gain acceptance in the gentile world. Moses Maimonides, the Rambam, was the most famous Jewish theologian and philosopher of the Middle Ages. He was also the senior physician of the sultan of Cairo in the late twelfth century. Christian hospitals in the later Middle Ages were ministries of churches and ecclesiastical orders. Then there is the remarkable account written by lvar Nez Cabeza de Vaca of his eight-year trek from Florida through Texas into Mexico, 1528 – 1536. He describes the strange fact that he and his companions gained the power of healing halfway through their journey. They were welcomed by Indian tribes from Texas country to Mexico because of this. Word spread in advance that they were coming, tribe by tribe. They would probably have been killed had they not possessed this power. Instead, they were supported with food and water.
This post was published at Gary North on July 22, 2017.