Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words (Round 2)
Buried in the headlines today is news that the doctor in charge of fighting an outbreak of Ebola in his country has contracted the disease himself. The health minister of Sierre Leone said that Dr. Sheik Humarr Khan has a confirmed case of the deadly virus that has killed over 600 of his fellow-countrymen in 2014. Three of the nurses working alongside Khan recently died trying to treat this disease for which there is no known cure or vaccine. Despite meticulous precautions, Khan could not evade contracting Ebola.
It is an unappealing prospect to consider having a job like Khan’s. Exposing yourself to something utterly deadly (at times, Ebola has as high as a 90% mortality rate) to try and save your fellow-citizens is about as great a risk as a person can assume on this earth. Not surprisingly, Khan has been hailed as a hero for using his expertise as a virologist to combat this frightful killer. Now, his own life hangs in the balance (via news.yahoo.com).
The writer of Hebrews contrasts Jesus with the Levitical priests under the Old Law. They were “sick” with the very sin they were appointed to “treat” among the nation of Israel (Heb. 7:27). The writer says that Jesus had no need to do this for Himself because He was “holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners…” (Heb. 7:26). In other words, though thoroughly exposed to the deadly malady of sin, Jesus never succumbed to it. Earlier, the epistle says, “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (4:16).
Simply put, the One God sent to provide a cure for the deadliest condition ever known was fully exposed to it but did not fall prey to it. He did, however, die because of it. Incredibly, that was God’s intention from eternity. Yet, His ultimate sacrifice makes it possible for us to be cured of this otherwise hopeless and eternally fatal condition! No wonder we praise Jesus as the “Great Physician.”