Exegesis Time, Physician Heal Thyself

People often misuse terms, one common one being “begging the question”, and it is even more common to misuse scriptures. Not all men are reasonable ones, not all desire to reason together on the scriptures, I realize that. But it is necessary that we rightly divide the scripture truth, especially when it is found to be twisted from its true intent.

I came across a few things, I felt like commenting upon here. The first is this:

Luke 4:22-24

22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.

23 Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’ ”

24 “I tell you the truth,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown.

In this, everyone seemed to be impressed with Jesus, as He had just entered His official ministry in this passage… had changed from the common seeming son they were familiar with to this Holy Spirit filled man of boldness. He had made a very bold declaration in a public place, the synagogue. Despite the fact that they were impressed, they dissembled: “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”

“Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” Isn’t this some upstart that has no credentials and no prestige who we have seen to be just someone quite common? “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” who does He think He is? We know who He is…He is just….

Just a nobody.

Then Jesus said something quite startling. Really, it was considered untoward, because in the fullness of His statement “All the people in the synagogue were furious”. He had so infuriated them that they were ready to kill Him. That is pretty outraged. What had He said? “You are going to tell me that the problem is mine and ask me to prove myself, you are going to ask for a test,”Physician, heal yourself! ” You are going to turn around everything and try to condemn me, but I am telling you that your presumptions make you blind. That is why Christ stated that a prophet was not accepted in His own country.

Why are prophets not recognized by their own? They are not wanted. Their words are not wanted…. it interferes with the easy manipulation of the crowds.

We use this saying today, “Physician, heal yourself!” to connotate something like “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”,as if it is supposed to be a way to turn the words of a person back on themselves… when in scripture there is actually a better verse for that “Take first the beam from your own eye”, but in this proverb about the Physician, we have to ask, “does it speak the truth?” Is it true that you must be well to have the knowledge of healing? That you are no better or more healthy than your patient and thus your body of knowledge is nothing?

Is that a true correlation? Jesus uses the examples of two of the greatest prophets who had miracles connected with their ministry. He shows that though they were surely of God, they were not accepted and were sent to two specific individuals, one of which was the Syrian Naaman.

God is not bound by the insistant demands of men. And not every prophet is accepted as a prophet. And not every physician is perfectly well. But truth is truth.

Do you need to be perfect and without mistake to speak the truth? Or does the truth stand on its own as its own standard?

I will say it helps the verification if the speaker has the integrity of being an example of that truth, but does that qualify it?
Let’s try good and evil

Amos 5:14-16

14 Seek good, not evil,
that you may live.
Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you,
just as you say he is.

15 Hate evil, love good;
maintain justice in the courts.
Perhaps the LORD God Almighty will have mercy
on the remnant of Joseph.

I find it very interesting that God links hating evil with maintaining justice in the courts, and not with running your own vendetta crusade, as some would have it. Not only that, but it is first worded that you start by seeking the good. Love the good should follow. This is much of what the gospel of Christ enjoins: love good, seek peace, pursue peace. Then you may make your stand against evil. I think the order is very important.

Paul says it this way:

Romans 12

9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

And this is why we feed our enemies: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good”. Because we want good to prevail, we want more than justice, we want restoration and change. We want a better world, and how may it be better unless we are better?

Finally I think the reason we should trust this as truth is contained in one last verse:
For love is as strong as death,
Jealousy as cruel as the grave;
Its flames are flames of fire,
A most vehement flame.
Many waters cannot quench love,
Nor can the floods drown it.
If a man would give for love
All the wealth of his house,
It would be utterly despised.

Love has a power that many leave untapped.