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Faith in the Saviour

From the December 1977 issue of The Christian Science Journal

A woman who was ill for many years was healed as a result of her faith in the Saviour. Because of a man's faith in the Saviour, a member of his household who nearly died recovered instead. These healings were verified by witnesses and have been widely accepted and recognized as clear-cut evidence of the power of the Saviour to heal.

Nevertheless, there was a significant distinction between these two Bible healings. If Jesus were here today, we might find ourselves with the kind of faith the woman exhibited and be quickly healed, just as she was, by a personal Saviour. But Jesus is not here today. And so we are called upon to develop the kind of faith illustrated by the man whose servant was ill—faith in an impersonal Saviour, the Christ.

The woman, referred to by Mark, said of Jesus, "If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole." What one of us wouldn't have reached out to touch that precious individual, Christ Jesus—even the robe he wore—just as the woman did? Which of us wouldn't feel it a profound privilege to have been present with the Saviour and to have received the compassionate healing virtue, the power of goodness, that went out to the woman and freed her? Jesus said to the woman who had reached for him, "Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague." Mark 5:28, 34; Her faith had been rewarded. Her feeling that Christ Jesus could bless her had been proved true.

The man whose servant was near death learned of Jesus—as Luke gives the account —and sent the Jewish elders of the town to seek the Saviour's presence. But when Jesus approached, this Roman centurion sent further word to Jesus. He felt unworthy to receive the personal presence of the holy man but recognized that even the word, the authority of the truth Jesus spoke, was sufficient to heal. Jesus was apparently moved, perhaps deeply, by this man's faith in something more than a personal presence. "I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel," Luke 7:9; was Jesus' response. And the servant was healed.

What a sacred privilege it must have been to be present with Jesus, to celebrate his birth, to watch him grow into manhood, to follow him through his healing ministry. The presence of a personal Saviour must have touched deeply every receptive heart.

Many who had faith equaling that of the woman were healed. But might not the centurion's faith have set the standard for the kind of faith we need today? As much love as he may have felt toward Jesus, he didn't require the presence of a personal Saviour. He was willing to accept the power of the word Jesus spoke, the spirit of goodness he represented—the Christ itself—as fully able to heal and save.

Can we be as faithful? Can we be as humbly certain as this centurion that the Saviour presence is here now, healing and saving?

Jesus so identified himself with the Christ, the true idea of God, that he brought to the world something far more than those brief years of healing ministry. He revealed for all of us the ever-present and supreme nature of the Christ. His whole life illustrated the eternal truth of Immanuel, "God with us." Jesus completely relinquished a personal sense of identity and fully accepted the Christ as his true and only selfhood. He proved it to be the only selfhood any of us can have. The Christ healed. It saved people from sin. The Christ healed them of their illnesses. It overpowered the claims of death.

The saving presence of the Christ brings to light our permanent, perfect relationship to God. Divine Science is the promised Comforter that explains the Christ and teaches us fully and understandably our true spiritual selfhood. This Science enables us to lift our faith from the basis of a corporeal to an incorporeal Saviour. It demands of us the centurion's kind of faith and leads us then to a full understanding of the Christ. Genuine faith has the courage to trust the presence of the Christ. It is sufficiently humble to accept with certainty and conviction the power of the Christ.

Jesus expected his disciples to look beyond him personally for the source of his healing works. Wouldn't he expect our faith today to be strong enough to envision the Christ as the saving Truth that he taught and practiced? Would humanity be provided with a Saviour—able to accomplish such great healing work—only for a brief span of years? God is Love. He provides His Christ to bless and heal without interruption.

The presence of the Saviour has not been interrupted either by Jesus' arrival or his departure from human existence. Rather, that ever-presence of the Christ has been enriched and enhanced in human thought by the unselfish and supreme contribution Jesus gave to humanity in his unequaled expression of the Christ.

In a Christmas sermon entitled "The Corporeal and Incorporeal Saviour" Mrs. Eddy writes of Jesus, "Only three years a personal Saviour! yet the foundations he laid are as eternal as Truth, the chief comer-stone." Miscellaneous Writings, p. 163;

How grateful we can be to Jesus, who laid the foundation for Christianity. How profoundly inspired we can be in the presence of the Christ as it continues its redemptive mission in human consciousness, as it awakens thought to man's true sonship as the perfect child of God. "We must forsake the foundation of material systems, however time-honored, if we would gain the Christ as our only Saviour," Science and Health, p. 326; Mrs. Eddy emphasizes in the Christian Science textbook.

We can look with great gratitude on that part of the Christian era blessed also with the presence of a personal Saviour. With no less gratitude we can have faith that we today are blessed by the Christ, the ever-present, incorporeal Saviour. And such faith will bring healing as quickly and effectively as to the centurion, who in humility could say, "Lord, trouble not thyself: . . . but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed." Luke 7: 6, 7.

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