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Present tense

From the May 2005 issue of The Christian Science Journal

If the people in the crowd were paying close attention, they would have noticed something peculiar. Jesus had just healed a man's deformed hand See Matt. 12:10–13 . without any knowledge of what had caused the condition. Had it been the result of an accident, disease, a birth defect, or heredity? Jesus never inquired, and apparently he didn't need to.

This experience is only one of many recorded in the New Testament Gospels in which Jesus healed without questioning where a person came from, what had caused their severe physical condition, or what their past behavior might have been. Apparently for Jesus, a knowledge of the present took precedence over a knowledge of the past. But how could Jesus have known anything about people whom he had just met or barely knew? He must have seen something deeper than the human self—an identity that was spiritual and was true of each person, no matter what that person's history. As the four Gospels reveal, this natural tendency to identify people according to their present spirituality, rather than their human past, enabled Jesus to heal deep-seated conditions.

No matter what the specific difficulty, it appears that Jesus consistently healed by this same method. For example, when he encountered those accused of sinful behavior, Jesus didn't make a habit of questioning them about their errant pasts. Instead, he seemed more intent on simply helping them be free from sin.

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