Study Mark 2:1-12. What can we learn regarding the connection between physical sickness and sinfulness? What lessons should we not take from this story, as well?
Contrary to biblical doctrine, ancient Greek philosophy separated the spiritual (soul) and physical (body) dimensions of human existence. Believing that human souls were immortal, many Greeks devalued the importance of their bodies. Because bodies were temporal, passing away with time, they were considered less valuable than was the enduring soul.
In fact, in one of the most famous texts from antiquity, Plato depicts his teacher Socrates, who is about to face death, as waxing long and eloquently on how corrupt and evil the body is, and that at death his immortal soul will finally be free to do all the things that the body has hindered it from doing.
The Bible, of course, teaches something radically different. Human bodies are the direct creation of God, who fearfully and wonderfully made them (Ps. 139:14). Furthermore, bodies are not separate from souls. Body, mind, and spirit are merely differing aspects of human personality or existence, not independently existent entities. Consequently, whatever affects the body affects mind and spirit, the other interrelated aspects of personhood. Thus, whenever Christ healed, He was not merely eradicating cancer or curing heart disease; He was transforming the physical, mental, and spiritual human experience.
Jesus healed more than just bodies. Christ always healed whole persons. His wholistic approach recognized that physical health was inseparable from spiritual health. Through physical healing He effected spiritual transformation. That was, to a great degree, the whole purpose. After all, why heal people who in the long run will die anyway and face eternal destruction at the end of time?
Though sickness can result directly from sinful practices, so often people, even infants, get sick for no obvious reason other than that we are all victims of a fallen world. Why is it so important to keep this sad truth in mind when seeking to minister to anyone who is sick or who is agonizing over a sick loved one?