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Health Care Can’t Cure Death - But Jesus Can!

Oscar Wilde said: "One can survive everything nowadays except death." Wilde's witty observation is confirmed daily by the deaths of 150,000 to 200,000 people worldwide. Scripture jolts us with a reality many people seek to ignore or deny — it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). The New International Version in this verse says "man is destined to die." Whether we are comfortable with it or not, and whether we ever get round to preparing for it or not, the certainty of death & then the judgement is one of the Bible's clearest teachings. Words of David, spoken to his friend Jonathan as David fled for his life from Jonathan's father King Saul, sum up reality for every one of the seven billion souls now alive on planet Earth: But truly, as the LORD lives and as your soul lives, there is but a step between me and death" (1 Samuel 20:3). Truly, we all live on the brink of eternity.

This truth is so plain, it should catch no one by surprise or unprepared. But it does! Dr. George M. Lundberg helps us see why in an article entitled, "The Best Health Care Only Goes So Far" (Newsweek, 8/27/01,P 15). He wrote, "Modern lore has it that in England death is imminent, in Canada, inevitable, and in California optional. Small wonder.

America's life expectancy has nearly doubled over the past century. Failing hips can be replaced, clinical depression controlled, cataracts removed in a thirty-minute surgical procedure. Such advances offer the aging population a quality of life that was unimaginable when I entered medicine fifty years ago. But not even a great health care system can cure death — and our failure to confront that reality now threatens this greatness of ours." Lundberg's article discussed what he sees as the crisis of contemporary medicine – pursuing cures at all costs, even if it's futile, and thereby restricting the supply of care patients can receive. Lundberg acknowledges medicine can accomplish great things, but warns we must not ask too much from it. The debate over what is the best policy for health care and medical treatment continues. But one thing is beyond debate – we ask too much from medicine if we ask (or expect) it to cure death. That power belongs to One and One alone — Jesus Christ! Two thousand years ago women came to Jesus' tomb early on Sunday morning to anoint His dead, crucified body, buried three days earlier on Friday afternoon. They worried about getting past a huge stone that sealed the entrance of the tomb, but on arrival they received stunning news that continues to astonish, excite, and create controversy to this day — "Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here" (Mark 16:1-6). Twenty centuries after that announcement, in spite of all our vaunted and celebrated advances in technology and medicine, in spite of all the 000h-ing and aaah-ing at how much longer men and women are living, the death rate remains one in one in every nation on earth. Hope remains that scientists and doctors will cure cancer and Alzheimer's and other diseases that cause death. But the cure for death itself remains outside the scope of human ability and knowledge.

Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though He may die, he shall live" (John12:25). Unless your healthcare plan can cure death itself, you need Christ. Will you think about it?

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ