One day several months ago, I was thinking of what a follower of Jesus would look like and how they would behave. That follower I felt should imitate Jesus in how he worked and lived his life while he walked the hills of Palestine and the streets of Jerusalem. Then I thought what scripture verse would give the best example of this follower? I began to write the following of what I thought this follower should be like. It just flowed off my pen.

If we call ourselves a follower of Jesus, then we should follow his example. Jesus in the gospels came to serve by healing those who were lost, confused and in pain, who were the outcasts and down trodden. He was not so much interested in the physical healing as in the healing of the spirit. People become ill when their spiritual life is in disharmony.

Jesus proclaimed his purpose and his mission in the synagogue when he read from the prophet Isaiah;

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; because of this he has anointed me, to preach good tidings to the poor; and he has sent me to heal the broken hearted, and to proclaim release of the captives and sight to the blind; to strengthen with forgiveness those who are bruised and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Matthew 4:18-19)

By reading these words Jesus gave us a blueprint on how we should conduct our life. This I call the path of the Healer in the Spirit of the Gospels.

Let us go through these verses line by line to get a better feel.

To preach good tidings to the poor

What are the good tidings? That God has come to humanity. God has entered history for our salvation and the forgiveness of sin. 

He has sent me to heal the broken hearted

The broken hearts are those who are overwhelmed by life. They are those who struggle every day but are pounded down by the cares of the world. The broken hearts are those people who are sick physically and spiritually, who feel they no longer have any control over their life. They are people who have lost hope and see death as the only way out of their misery. When the healer shows love, and compassion, a spiritual healing begins. True healing always begins with the spiritual. The broken hearted may not realize it but they are nearer to the Kingdom of Heaven than anyone else. They stand at the gates of transformation. But life is so overwhelming for them at times that they cannot see it. The healer helps the broken hearted know that the kingdom is here and now for them.

To proclaim release of the captives and sight to the blind

The captives are those who are trapped by the promises of the world. This creates anxiety and fear within their hearts. They seek happiness outside of themselves so they are constantly looking for that happiness in material things and other people and when they fail, they become depressed and need some way to escape, often turning to drugs, alcohol, or entertainment. They are blind to how to get out of this trap. This causes hopelessness and loneliness. The healer shows them that true happiness can only be found in God. The healer helps them realize that they are a child of God, a God who loves them and that Jesus Christ took on their burden so that they can be truly free.

To strengthen with forgiveness those who are bruised and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord

The bruised are those who have made wrong decisions in their lives and they suffer because of them. They are unable to forgive themselves for their mistakes and they feel unworthy of any love or kindness. They become self-destructive. They are in need of forgiveness. They must be led back to the Love of God and the first step is to be able to forgive themselves and turn their back on a life that has led them to their woundedness. When Jesus was with the woman caught in adultery, He forgave her but He demanded that she had to reform her life and sin no more. Jesus’ forgiveness had no effect until she did so. Forgiveness requires the action on the part of the wounded and we as a follower of a Jesus should assist them in their healing. The acceptable year of the Lord is Today and forgiveness and healing happen now.  

By reading this scripture from Isaiah, Jesus our Teacher, Master, and King showed the way in which His followers were to live and behave in this world. When He left that synagogue that day, He put into action what He read. He walked the talk all the way to the Cross.

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