Recently my Facebook feed has featured a variety of posts that express the same sentiment: Jesus healed people with preexisting conditions. The suggestion being that the current Republican-led attempt to repeal Obamacare’s requirement that insurers cover preexisting conditions is unJesuslike. Yes, I realize that that is not a word.
Jesus was not an insurer, nor did He represent a political party. He never lobbied the Roman Empire, insisting that it provide healthcare for all its citizens, or for those non-citizens who lived within its bounds. In fact, He seemed more or less disinterested in politics and healthcare legislation altogether. When people appeal to Jesus’ example as the model for national legislative decisions about healthcare, they miss an important point. Jesus’ healings were miracles. Straight up, inexplicable, unrepeatable miracles. He did not provide healthcare; He displayed His power as the Son of God over the natural world. He did this so that when He claimed to be the Son of God, His miraculous works would validate His incredible claims. Jesus’ works proved His words. Jesus healed physical maladies to prove that He is also able to heal our great spiritual maladies: sin and death and Hell. Nothing in the Scripture suggests that we are to look to Jesus for guiding legislative principles in a national healthcare debate; everything in the Scripture suggests that we are to look to Him for salvation.
Every one of Jesus’ patients suffered from a preexisting condition called sin. Some of them were indeed physically ill. All were spiritually afflicted. He took no co-pay for His services. Jesus was thus singularly compassionate, not merely giving sight to the blind and health to the sick, but also offering Himself unto death so that we might live eternally.
Forcing Jesus’ miracles to serve as the template for a particular legislative agenda in a healthcare debate is simply a misuse of Jesus, and it sadly draws attention away from His true agenda, which was to provide healing that lasts forever.