Thursday, July 13, 2017

Thoughts on Luke 5

I'm loving my new clinic space. My desk is right in front of a window where I can look out and see the women chit-chatting, washing laundry, or keeping an eye on their babies. But most importantly, I like having a place to just "be and be available."

This past Wednesday as our compound Summer Bible Study dug into Luke 5, I was struck at how both of the men with leprosy and with palsy met Jesus and what He was doing before they came along. (I know we'd usually call them "the leper" and "the paralytic" but my PT training has taught me to use the more appropriate "patient-centered language!") In some of the gospel accounts of divine healings, we see people reaching out to Jesus, following Him until He noticed them, calling aloud to make sure they weren't overlooked, purposely going to where He was conducting a healing, etc. But these two stories are a bit different.

Luke 5:12 tells of the first patient encounter:
While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy.When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.

Jesus was in the town, likely teaching or maybe just living life. This man was an outcast because of his skin condition--he never should have been allowed in the town! The passage doesn't say if Jesus was already healing and then this man came to see if he could be healed too. The way it's written, it doesn't sound like the man was seeking Jesus out, to me it sounds more like he just came upon Jesus and when he saw Him, he decided to ask in faith if Jesus was willing to heal him.

And Jesus committed an act that should have made Him unclean... He touched the man. But Jesus' next instructions to the man to go and show himself to the priests and offer the cleansing sacrifice showed that Jesus had done what no one had ever done before. He'd touched someone unclean and instead of being unclean Himself, He'd made that person clean!

The next section of Luke 5 tells of Jesus teaching in a place that was so crowded the fire marshal would have slapped The Jesus Ministry with a huge fine! God's Spirit of healing was so very present there, and this man's friends decided to take matters into their own hands to get him a front row spot with Jesus. I can imagine that Jesus is teaching and healing amidst dust raining down from above as these friends lift up the tiling until there's enough room to lower the man and his mat down!

Here, Jesus decides to go right to the point and meet the man's real spiritual need. He pauses for a minute to address the Pharisees' judgmental thinking, then says in verses 22-24:
“Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”

mic drop... and stunned silence...

In both of these stories, Jesus was doing His real ministry (teaching and discipling the guys He'd just picked out), but He wasn't bothered when people came to Him with very real physical needs that ostracized them from community. 
Do I come to the  hospital only for the hours that I have scheduled to see patients? Or am I here, going about my other ministry work, available for whoever might walk in and ask if I'm willing to see them? Do I make my patients advocate for themselves or get their friends to push them to see me, or am I available for whatever the Spirit wants to do through me?

Jesus was in the business of spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, and social restoration. When Jesus healed the man with leprosy, He told him to immediately go and fulfill his spiritual duty and get the priests' stamp of approval for community re-integration. When Jesus healed the man with palsy, He forgave his sins first and then in front of the entire crowd restored the man's ability to walk. 
Do I educate each and every patient in a way that she understands so she can explain to her family and husband what her problem is? Do I make sure she understands her clearance for sexual activity and housework so that she can get back to life as normal sooner and reduce the risk of being divorced? Do I take the time to screen for depression and get the chaplains involved? Do I  pray with these patients? Do I pray for these patients after they leave?

Thanks for letting me ponder this aloud.

No comments:

Post a Comment