The concluding verses of chapter 9 of Matthew’s gospel are about the compassion of God, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Vs 36)
Jesus was deeply immersed in meeting the physical needs of the people around Him. He healed all manner of diseases, set people free from demonic oppression and He begun all this by telling His audience to, “repent for the kingdom of heaven has come near” (Matt 4:17).
Jesus announced His mission, by claiming to be the fulfillment of a prophecy (Isaiah 61:1-2) promising amnesty and healing: two things that would go hand in hand in His message about the kingdom of heaven that had come near. Writing about the parable of the Good Samaritan, Paula Fuller* states:
“The Samaritan has every reason to reject this wounded Israelite whose people have vilified his, yet, he demonstrates that his affections and care for another person created in God’s image are appropriately ordered. He cares for the wounded man, seeking his good and invests time, money and energy. He may even risk his own safety.” (Italics added).
With the goal of being Christ-like as one of its guiding principles, EMAS Canada teams see the healing art as an expression of Christ-like compassion. In caring for the sick we have a practical opportunity for our healthcare teams to live as Paula Fuller states: “…congruent with the values and actions of Jesus.” She further asserts that, “If our commitment to the gospel has nothing to do with bringing good news and practical help to those in need, then we have detached our experience from Jesus’ self-professed mission.”
The gospel of Jesus was good news for His audience the very day He proclaimed it because He also responded to their immediate need for healing—be it spiritual or physical—and their need for food when they were tired and hungry.
So when an EMAS team took the unusual step of buying two live cows to feed patients in Myanmar it was all part of our Mission: to heal, teach and serve those in need in a Christ-like manner.
We consider healing a vital part of our mission because it caters to the needs of the human body. We use our bodies and its faculties—such as voice and thought—to worship God, serve Him and communicate with Him; He in turn meets us through what we hear or read about Him, all functions of a healthy body. The humanity of Christ, which is a key doctrine of our faith, shows how God honours and values the human body. The practical care for the sick was so important that Jesus used it as an example of care for Himself: “I was sick and you looked after me…” (Matt 25:36).
We are therefore dedicated to providing healthcare by putting our skills and resources at God’s disposal.
Good health is a universal need which enables us to represent the kingdom of God where we are invited to serve. It also allows us to include on our teams’ colleagues who do not share our faith, but want to use their skills in serving others.
Thank you for your partnership with us and your ongoing support.
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*Paula Fuller Executive Vice President, People and Culture at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA “Participating in God’s Mission” Chapter 7, The Kingdom Life NavPress
All Scripture references are taken from the New International Version (NIV)