Since before the day our son entered this world, accompanied by his genetic bleeding disorder, there have been rumors of a cure for that disorder. For quite awhile, people were hanging their hope on gene therapy, meant to replace the faulty gene with a new, corrected one. Sadly, a patient lost his life in the human clinical trials phase, thus halting gene therapy advances for years. Trials have once again been resumed on humans, and many parents hopefully await this treatment. Meanwhile, longer-acting clotting factors have been developed, and many parents have found hope in this therapy.
When Jesus walked the earth, there were rumors of a cure for the afflicted as well. People flooded to him as they learned he gave sight to the blind, healed the severely disabled, and cured those with dreaded diseases.
Yet, just as Jesus responds to his cousin, John the Baptist, in the passage above, these physical healings were only a sign of something much deeper going on.
What really ails us can be traced all the way back to the first book of the Bible. When Adam and Eve chose to disobey God, our world was forever fractured. Life on this earth would no longer be the way God had intended for it to be. Sin gave birth to our greatest afflictions and suffering. Still, our Maker had a rescue plan that would heal that fracturing, enabling us to be made whole with Him forever in the Paradise for which He had formed us.
Later in that same book of the Bible, Genesis, the Lord makes an oath, a covenant with Abram. Animals were split in half, blood running down. The Expanded Bible explains that in this old ritual, "by passing between the pieces of the sacrifice, one vowed to keep an agreement or suffer the same fate as the animals." God not only passed between the 2 halves of this sacrifice on His own behalf, but he also passed through the pieces a second time, committing that HE would pay the price if Abram and his descendants broke the covenant. Yahweh hints that He knows we are just too sick to heal ourselves, so He will provide a lasting cure.
That same blood covenant is spilled forth through the Passover, which God commands His people to reenact year after year. The Lord WILL cure His people from the imprisonment of their affliction.
As Jesus celebrates his final Passover with his disciples, he hints that a cure is imminent. He turns the usual words of the Passover prayers into something different when it comes to the cup. This is a new covenant! This time he eludes to the Jewish ceremony of a groom proposing to his bride, offering her the covenant cup saying, "I love you. I give my life to you. Will you marry me?" By taking the cup and drinking it, the bride would accept the groom's proposal, pledging her life to him.
The breaking of Jesus' body, the pouring out of his blood in boundless love would be just what the doctor ordered. The celebration of this meal offered rumors of a cure that would come less than 24 hours later.
Like any remedy, we cannot be healed unless and until we agree to fall forward into what is prescribed. Accepting that we are hopeless sinners who cannot ever be "good enough," and that Jesus paid our debt in full to make us whole again, will give us complete healing. We just need to be brave enough to do it. Yet, that fearful, unknown concern about what we may have to go through can stop us short.
Isn't it strange how we will turn over every stone, embracing all sorts of treatments in hopes of a physical cure, yet recoil at the notion of jumping with abandon into the One thing that we can know for sure will permanently heal our wounded souls?
This Easter, as we remember the breaking of bread and drinking of wine rumoring of Jesus' sacrifice, let us not miss the opportunity to once again be made whole. Accept his proposal and be forever renewed.
~ Barb Dittrich