“And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” - Luke 5:31
If we find ourselves to be believers who take Jesus at his word, we’ll inevitably find at some point that we indeed are sick. Jesus did not say this merely to shame the Pharisees, but to make a point to all people - namely, that in light of God’s holiness, we fall hopelessly short.
For some, brokenness is readily evident. The tax collectors, prostitutes, and other “sinners” in Jesus’s time knew this easily, and, therefore, they came easily to the doctor. For others, it’s hard to see that they are fundamentally, hopelessly, and comprehensively sick. The religious, the powerful, the comfortable - they do not see their affliction very well. Why is this?
Sickness, like many other things in life, can be defined in a relative manner. If death is an ailment, isn’t every human being sick? Yet, because every human being dies, we don’t classify the capacity for death as sickness. But what if we lived among peoples who could live forever? Wouldn’t humanness then be seen as a sort of sickness?
In a world that is blind to the glory and reality of God, sickness is relative. We defined well being and health in the absence of true life, and, therefore, deceived ourselves. But, God came to us in the form of a human being to show us that indeed there is true health - even eternal life. And in view of this, all people are afflicted.
So, those blind to Christ are unaware of affliction. On the other hand, those who have come to behold Christ and have been privileged to reckon his deity must come to an awareness of their own sickness.
At the most basic level, our sickness is death. But, if through Christ we attain eternal life, aren’t we fully healed? Yes. Yet, there is a time between salvation and glorification* where we must deal with remnants of sin. In Christendom, we called this period sanctification.
So, how do we diagnose our brokenness? In comparison to Christ. The one who was perfectly healthy shows us the difference between the whole and broken. For us to become aware of our brokenness, we must attempt to follow and emulate him, and see how far we get before failure. If you have tried to do this, I am absolutely certain that, along the way, you failed miserably. If you feel that you haven’t failed yet, then either you haven’t really tried or perhaps you know the wrong Jesus.
In any matter, when we come to terms with our brokenness, not merely through knowledge and understanding, but through experience, we’ll find ourselves in desperation for the only solution - the cross. Only through the cross on which Jesus Christ took upon our afflictions can we find healing. Only through that exchange can we receive the health that only Jesus possessed.
Sometimes, I wonder if this is the ultimate goal of sanctification. Not to make us perfect in behavior and thought, but to make us hope perfectly in the one who is perfect. Nothing in the world can strip away those things upon which we place our hope than the spotlight onto our affliction. And in that sense, recognizing and dealing with our brokenness is one of the biggest blessings in disguise.
Are you discouraged because of your brokenness? Look to the cross and find your remedy. Are you unaware of your affliction? Look to the cross and find the perfect example of health - a God who lays down his life for his enemies. In view of Christ, we find that we are both perfectly broken and perfectly restored. Navigate your brokenness through Jesus, and find in Him the way. Amen.