The Great Physician’s Bedside Manner
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. – John 14:27
As I watched the T.V. show “House” years ago, I often found that I was of two minds about the main character. The show centered around his brilliant diagnostic abilities—he could solve the unsolvable puzzle. Whatever the patient’s ailment, you could know that by the end of the episode, Dr. House would finally discover the cause and bring the best possible outcome.
I would think to myself, “I really hope there are guys out there who are this good.” We suffer from ailments for which doctors—even the finest experts alive today—are not able to determine the cause, falling back to general diagnoses like fibromyalgia. They offer general solutions to increase the patient’s comfort, relieving him of the symptoms he’s suffering from.
And yet, as comforting as it was to know that Dr. House would be able to come up with a solution for the patient’s malady, there was another element, another quality about the man, which created a tension with the comfort of the solution he would bring.
He was a jerk.
As certain as Dr. House’s ability to solve the unsolvable illness to save the patient, you could know that he would enter the room with zero empathy for the patient. His abrasive and biting sarcasm and superior attitude over everyone around him made him intolerable. He would be shockingly blunt to patients, not sympathizing about their suffering, seemingly unable to empathize with their plight.
And I’ve realized that there is something magical about a true healer. I’m not talking about a technician who is really good at analysis and can give you the confidence that if there is a solution to be found for your ailment, and that if you can be healed, this technician will be the one to make that happen for you.
No, I’m talking about the one who comes to you and is personally involved with you. He cares what happens to you. Someone who risks caring enough about you that if the cure for your malady isn’t found and you were not to survive, he would ache over the loss on his own time, alone.
Imagine at the time of your most intense suffering that you had a physician who spent the extra time and made you understand that your suffering was personal to him—that he would do anything to make sure that you were not only rescued from death’s clutches, but that you weren’t afraid anymore.
We live in a fallen world where the law of the jungle reigns. It’s every man for himself. Hike by yourself into an area where nature is untamed and you will understand the forces we contend with simply to survive. But it is also true of us in our human condition—the darkness within our hearts that pours out of us. We lie, cheat, steal and murder. “The ends justify the means” and “you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette”. We shrug off friendly fire and “acceptable losses”. Not everyone can be saved, we deem some not worth the expense of saving and even purposely end the lives of some ‘for their own good’.
But we have been given a hope greater than that. A man came—a Jew born of a virgin, who, during His short life into His thirties, healed and forgave the undeserving and the broken around Him. This Jesus—the Christ for whom humanity had waited since Adam and Eve were told of His coming—healed the blind and the lame and the mute and the barren and raised the dead. He fed the masses and brought faith and peace to the scum of the earth.
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” – John 20:19-21
This same Jesus comes to you not as a harsh diagnostician, but as a loving Father. And when He enters to be with you, He always brings peace—He starts with it. His peace is the beginning as He brings healing words of forgiveness. He stays at your bedside and comforts you and doesn’t leave you. He speaks kindly to you. He lets you know over and over that He has already done all that needs to be done and that you are saved. You are safe.
And as you rest in that peace which He brings, you discover, contrary to your doubts, that He doesn’t leave you. He keeps being there with you, watching over you, feeding you and comforting you. It makes no sense. We have no earthly experience that matches His love and sacrifice for us. We can’t imagine it because in this world no one does that. Ever. Everyone is out to get something from everyone else.
But this Jesus is different.
And every time we close our eyes and begin to doubt that He is still there, we discover that He hasn’t left us. We open our eyes and He’s still there. He keeps speaking words to us broken sinners that bring us faith and peace and comfort.
And so it is for you. The bedside manner of the Great Physician is truly unbelievable. But His faithfulness is eternally greater than our doubt. He knows our malady, and He knows the cure: Himself. He literally pours Himself into us. His love for us is so great that He will wait there with us until it is time for us to enter that great and temporary sleep, so that He can be right there to carry us to be with Him in paradise.
This is the promise that God made to Adam and Eve. This is what Job knew to be true. This is what was revealed to be true when Jesus was witnessed by many after His resurrection.
The Father has poured out His condemnation for your sin upon His Son, that you may be rescued. He gives you His peace, all your debts having been paid. And it is this certainty which He brings as He blesses you with peace. The Great Physician, Jesus Christ, has cured your darkness, your broken and sick and unfixable heart. You are free. And due to His work and the faith which He gives to you, you will most certainly hear one day soon, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant! Enter into the joy of thy Master!”