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Jesus' purpose in healing . . . and ours

From the June 1984 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Jesus cited his works of spiritual healing as proof of his identity as the promised Messiah, or Christ, the chosen or anointed messenger of God to humanity (see Matt. 11:2-6). He also designated healing without material aid as the hallmark that identifies all true Christians with the eternal mission of the ever-available healing Christ. The Master prophesied, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do." John 14:12.

Both of these reasons—the distinguishing of Jesus as the Exemplar of the Christ, God's idea, and the distinguishing of his followers as the disciples of Christ, the divine idea Jesus exemplified—point to a purpose for spiritual healing that goes much further than the physical recovery of those healed, important as that was and is. Mrs. Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science—the divine law that Jesus practiced—writes of the ultimate aim of our Exemplar in Science and Health, "His purpose in healing was not alone to restore health, but to demonstrate his divine Principle." Science and Health, p. 51.

We need to keep this holy purpose before our thoughts when we seek Christian healing. And if we do, we will find more than relief, more even than restoration to normalcy. When our motive for seeking spiritual healing is deeply religious, the healing effects we experience also serve to prove to us in conclusive degree that God, good, is All-in-all; they bring to light our true identity in God's image.

One wonders where Christianity would be, or if it would be, without Jesus' healing works—his demonstration of divine Principle. His unshakable understanding of the underlying purpose of Christian healing inspired his unswerving adherence to the spiritual means that purpose demands. He demonstrated Principle, God, in an age of gross materialism. Knowing the awesome cost of spiritual progress in such an era, yet unafraid to pay it, Jesus healed the sick and sinning, and raised the dead. He was arrested, tried, and sentenced to crucifixion—not only because he claimed he was the Son of God, but because in the public eye he expressed his nature as the Son of God through his healing works (see John 19:7). After defeating hatred and death in his resurrection from the tomb, he at last ascended above the whole false proposition of the flesh and materiality.

Our healing works are as indispensable to the progress of Christianity as Jesus' were to the founding of it. As builders on the foundation laid by Jesus, we can best honor the holy purpose of his mission to demonstrate divine Principle by cherishing it as our own purpose in healing. Should we be afraid to stand for our convictions, we can ask ourselves: Would Jesus have progressed toward ascension—his real goal and ours—had he backed away from his convictions, gone along with majority pressures, and so withdrawn himself from accusation and judgment? Surely we can't believe the Master could have chosen any path of salvation but the direct one.

Healing is just as natural for us as it was for Jesus. Should we be tempted in time of suffering to waver in our reliance on the divine All-power that supports all right work and all right workers, we can ask ourselves: Did the Master exchange his spiritual clarity for the momentary physical relief promised by the "vinegar . . . mingled with gall" Matt. 27:34.—the opiate offered him at the time of his crucifixion? It is apparent that he didn't even consider doing so.

Some may think that other considerations are more important than the proving of Principle that Jesus put first. For instance, the temptation may come to us that it is loving to accept kind offers of material remedies as an alternative or an aid to reliance on spiritual healing. But Christ, the divine ideal Jesus represented, gave him strength to refuse just such an offering and to fully overcome liability to suffering. Because Jesus is our Exemplar, ultimately we must follow the Christ-principle in the way he taught. There is no alternate route of Christian discipleship.

Practicing the precepts taught by the master Christian enables us to prove that Life and Love are never at odds with Truth. Life, Love, and Truth are one and the same; they are synonymous terms for God. Nor can the qualities of real life or spiritual existence, true love or pure spiritual affection, genuine truth or spiritual fact, ever conflict. As expressions of God, life, love, and truth are entirely consistent and invariably harmonious in their application to human needs. Hence demonstrating truth always opens a throughway of life; demonstrating truth is the most loving to others, and the most comforting to ourselves, of any action we can take.

Jesus, our Exemplar, illustrated the immediate and permanent value of standing with the holy purpose of Christian healing—demonstrating Principle. How right it is for us to understand and to prove that we are as God-sustained in our stands for spiritual healing as was this supreme prophet who prophesied greater works for us!

Today, works of Christian healing distinguish Christian Science as true Christian theology. But it is no more the purpose of Christian Science healing to immortalize that which is mortal, to spiritualize matter or perfect imperfection, than it was the purpose of Jesus' healing to do so. The purpose of Christian Science healing is the purpose of Jesus' healing: to demonstrate the eternal reality of immortal Principle and the immortal perfection of Principle's idea, spiritual man, by claiming our dominion over the beliefs of fear, resistance, and opposition that Jesus himself proved to be false.

Spiritual healing and its practice are again being examined and tested; but we may be sure that their divine authority will uphold them. As the outcome of Jesus' lifework, the Cause of Christian Science is included in the promise of Science and Health: "The purpose of his great life-work extends through time and includes universal humanity. Its Principle is infinite, reaching beyond the pale of a single period or of a limited following. As time moves on, the healing elements of pure Christianity will be fairly dealt with; they will be sought and taught, and will glow in all the grandeur of universal goodness." Science and Health, pp. 328-329.

The divine purpose of Jesus' lifework will be thoroughly, divinely fulfilled. Perhaps we can best further that fulfillment by talking less about our intentions and doing more to express them. Faithful demonstration of divine Principle invariably brings about radical fruitage in healing.

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