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Following the example set by the question-and-answer columns in the early Journals, when Mary Baker Eddy was Editor, this column will respond to general queries from Journal readers with responses from Journal readers. You'll find information at the end of the column about how to submit questions


From the June 2010 issue of The Christian Science Journal

It states in the Bible, Luke 4:23, "And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself." Should someone desiring to become a Christian Science practitioner heal themselves first before entering the practice, especially if they have a problem that is visible?—A READER IN CALIFORNIA, US

A1 If healing is a divine demand, it follows that the Christ gives us the unconditional authority to enter the healing practice in response to the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus did not indicate that there are any conditions on our freedom or authority to fulfill this commandment, other than stating that all who believe on him would heal, and do "greater works" than he did (see John 14:12). We should note that the words, "He saved others; himself he cannot save" (Matt. 27:42)— which echo "Physician, heal thyself"— were spoken with scorn to Jesus during his crucifixion, fulfilling Jesus' own prophecy, "Ye will surely say unto me this proverb." But despite the taunt, the great Physician, though visibly afflicted, even continued his ministry from the cross, and subsequently overcame death, fully healed of the effects of crucifixion.

The book of Job provides more insight into the unreliability of judging, by material signs, one's ability to heal. By his friends' estimation, Job was manifesting every outward sign of a man whom God had abandoned. Yet, we read in the book of Job that "in all this [his trials] Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly" (1:22). By saying so, the writer confirms the basis of the Lord's pleasure in Job, whom He earlier calls "a perfect and an upright man" (1:8). Yet, Job's physical ills confuse his friends, who try to measure Job against the then prevailing world view which equated sickness with transgression against God. But note the outcome of Job's story. After the Lord rebukes Job's friends' efforts at faultfinding, He "turned the captivity of Job" and "gave Job twice as much as he had before." Why? We are only told it occurred "when he prayed for his friends" (42:10). Apparently, as with Jesus, Job's spiritual ministry was not limited by his affliction.