Jump Start # 2589
Luke 4:23 “And He said to them, “No doubt you will quote this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we heard was done at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’”
This is an interesting verse. Jesus was in Nazareth, his home town. Back home again, we sing around here in Indiana. In the synagogue, He read from Isaiah. He closed the book and everyone watched Him. He then declared that the passage, that prophecy, was fulfilled among them. He was declaring that He was the Messiah. The crowds like listening, but they were puzzled. He was in His home village. The people knew Him. This was the carpenter. This was Joseph’s son. He’d grown up there. How could He declare that He was the Messiah?
Their thoughts were racing through their heads. Jesus knew that. Being a step ahead, Jesus, in our verse today, anticipates that they will quote a proverb. Now, this proverb isn’t found in our book of Proverbs in the Bible. That wasn’t the only place for proverbs. Proverbs was wise sayings, or truisms. It was a form of literature. Their proverb that they were thinking was, “Physician, heal yourself!” They had head about the miracles in Capernaum. Show us who you are. A form of this would be repeated at the cross. The crowds shouted, “He saved others; let Him save Himself.”
Let’s look at that expression, “Physician, heal yourself.” A physician, or doctor, as we call them, ought to be able to take the same medicine that he prescribes to a patient. If he helps others get better, you’d think he could help himself. He ought to know what to do. A car mechanic ought to be able to fix his own car. A guy in the construction business ought to be able to repair his own house. You’d think that. Something looks wrong when the investment advisor is broke, or the gym instructor is overweight and out of shape.
All of this came to me the other day. We’ve been having multiple discussions about getting back to services. A plan was devised but I didn’t like it. Personally, I thought it stank. It put me in a sour mood and I just couldn’t see what the purpose was. We discussed this and they tried to explain things to me, but it wasn’t doing much good. I read yesterday’s Jump Start and then it hit me. And, when something hits you, it can humble you, smack you, and even sting your pride. It dawned on me that I could write about things being different, but I couldn’t put them into practice myself. Physician, heal yourself. Take your own medicine. Read your own words. Listen to what you are saying to others.
And, all of that is good for us.
Parents need to practice what they preach. We tell our kids things, but do we do them ourselves? We want them to pick up their toys. But do we leave the room trashed at the end of the day? We want our kids to apologize to each other, but do we do that when we’ve hurt our spouse? We want our kids to tell their mother ‘thank you,’ for making dinner. Do we say, ‘thank you?’ Physician, heal yourself.
Preachers need to practice what they preach. We can be pretty good at giving out advice and telling others what they need to do. We can quote Scriptures so quickly, it’s like a cowboy pulling out his six gun. Here’s what the elders ought to be doing, we think. He’s where the deacons are missing it, we say. The young families, they need to step it up more. The retired folks need to quit being retired from the Lord. Oh, the advice we can give. But, physician, heal yourself. Do you listen to what you are saying, preacher? Do you lead the way in example? Do you busy yourself in the lives of others and in showing people Christ?
Personally, we need to practice these things. We know why the prodigal got in a mess. We can tell others that they need to spend more time in the Scriptures and more time in prayer and less time watching what others are doing. Physician, heal yourself. Do we listen to what we tell others?
It seems that we know exactly what the other person needs to do, but we never can figure out what we need to do. We see the mistakes of others, but we fail to see our own. We see the steps that others ought to take to be stronger, but we don’t see the steps we ought to take.
Physicians get sick. Car mechanics have cars that break down. Carpenters have roofs that leak. They can help others, can they help themselves? They would know just what to tell others, but do they listen to themselves?
The small village of Nazareth wanted to see signs. Their unbelief, closed minds, and hard hearts prevented Jesus from doing much there. Oh, He could have showed them. He could have amazed them. But Jesus wanted them to hear His words and not be impressed by what He could do.
Physician, heal yourself. It’s good for me to read what I write. There are days that I need what I write more than anyone else!