Holistic medicine is not new. Plato said, “The great error in the treatment of the human body is that physicians are ignorant of the whole. For the part can never be well unless the whole is well”. Plato was a Greek philosopher and a scientist and his findings date back to several hundred years before Christ came.
According to Quaker theologian Richard Foster, “ancient Hebrews saw persons as a unity, and they found it unthinkable to minister to the body without ministering to the spirit and vice versa”. This I found in Dr. Reginald Cherry’s book Healing Prayer.
I find this fascinating. I remember when doctors looked at you oddly if you mentioned prayer and got real nervous if you thought your physical and emotional symptoms could be connected. I remember being dismissed and regarded as odd. Things have changed, thankfully and it is possible to find doctors who know the wisdom in treating the whole person.
It wasn’t always this way, physicians long ago knew the value of holistic treatment. When Jesus walked on the earth and ministered healing to the people, they would have understood the concept of holistic healing. They would understand that Jesus isn’t just talking about just spiritual healing when the word “sozo” was used for the word salvation. He was a holistic healer healing people who were accustomed to being treated holistically. The word sozo is translated saved (Mark 16:16) but also used as healed when the demon possessed man was set free (Luke 8 :36) and whole when the lepers were healed (Luke 17:19).
We are coming back to this place in our society of recognizing the importance of holistic healing but I wonder if we are arriving there in the church. When we hear the word salvation does it quickly make us think of physical healing, deliverance, and wholeness or do we only think of spiritual rebirth? Jesus didn’t separate them in His ministry but somewhere along the way, we, the church did and how many people have not been healed simply because they didn’t know it was God’s will to heal their body and their mind and their heart and deliver them from all forms of bondage? Jesus touched every part of brokenness in the people He ministered to and He probably wouldn’t have been considered a good healer by that culture had He only looked at one aspect of their brokenness. I suspect that part of what drew the thousands was the belief that He was a great healer and they would leave His presence changed. Do we believe that?
Lord, when I think of all that Your salvation includes I am humbled and blessed and overwhelmed. Forgive me I pray, for any and all times I have limited the Limitless One of Israel by thinking that physical healing was a lesser agenda and not a part of the whole. Thank You for revealing our Father’s will in all that You did when You walked among the people. Walk among us today, touch us today like You did then, bring Your healing to broken people, help us to see Your salvation as the holistic treatment You paid for it to be. And when people are healed and delivered and set right, may You get the glory and the honor. In Your saving name, I ask. Amen.