Doctor, Cure Yourself!
When I read this passage, I was drawn to the proverb “Doctor, cure yourself” because both the Chinese and Burmese have similar proverbs. It seems doctors all over the world throughout history have to face this challenge. People want to see the doctor prove their skills by keeping themselves healthy.
You know I was diabetic, and my father died of diabetic related complications. My doctor told me that I was permanently dependent on medication and eventually I would have to take insulin just like my father did. With the information superhighway at our arms reach, I did some research and found out that my doctor maybe wrong. I don’t think he intentionally lied to me, but I found out that he was misinformed.
I have taken online courses on health and nutrition at Standford and Johns Hopkins universities. Here are my certificates of completion. We live in a society that idolize certificates from trustworthy institutions. So, there you have it.
During my research, I came across a book, Dead Doctors Don’t Lie, by Dr. Joel D. Wallach and Dr. Ma Lan. As you see on the slide, the book received over 800 four and five stars reviews. It’s one of the best sellers of all time. The book begins by asking one mysterious question. “The average doctor has a shorter life expectancy than the average American. Should we really be relying upon them to give us the health information we need for a long and healthy life?”
He found out that the average life expectancy of a doctor is only about 58 years old. With all the healthcare knowledge they possess, don’t you think an average doctor should live over a hundred years old? May be even 120, or 140 years old. Of course, the book title is an exaggeration, but they are written by real doctors.
I believe most doctors don’t lie. They choose the profession because they want to help people. However, they are just helping people with the information they have been taught. The problem is most medical school curriculums are controlled by the pharmaceutical companies and the doctors are mainly taught to make the big pharma rich.
Some doctors have woken up into this reality. They found out that they have been trained to cure the sick. The doctors are good for emergency care. However, they are not well trained for preventive care.
Almost all health problems come from what we eat. Most doctor don’t have nutritional knowledge because they were required to take only one course on nutrition in their entire eight years of medical school and they were not required to take the exam for that course. Just imagine. It’s simply because teaching the patient how to eat healthily takes time and it doesn’t make the big pharma money. The fastest way is to write a prescription.
There’s new book that I have been reading, “Lies My Doctor Told Me” written by Dr. Ken D. Berry. He has a lot of YouTube videos teaching people how to take good care of their health. 90% of our health can be managed by eating right and fasting right. Dr. Ken Berry mainly teaches what he has experimented on himself. He is a doctor that cure himself before trying to cure others. So, he found out the lies he used to tell his own patients.
When Jesus quote this proverb, “Doctor, cure yourself!” He is talking about himself because he just declared himself as the Messiah who was sent by God “to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19) This is the focus of last week’s message.
Now the people were impressed. They said, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph.” Our hometown boy is the Messiah. He should save his hometown before saving others.
So, Jesus said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself!’ And you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.’” (Luke 4:23).
They are saying, “Hey, doctor, cure yourself. We have heard you performing amazing miracles in Capernaum. Why don’t you do some here? Prove to us that you are the Messiah. Save your own town before you save others!”
Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown.” (v. 24) He is saying, I can’t save my hometown because I am not accepted here. It’s like saying no preacher can preach to his or her own children. I’m glad that I have good kids and a devout family and extended family, but I don’t take credit for it because they don’t listen to me. I have to thank the Sunday School teachers and God’s own blessings.
When I was young, I wanted to become a preacher, but a friend of mine, who is like a big brother to me, discouraged me to become a preacher. He said, preachers are Satan’s top target. Satan loves to destroy the preacher’s kids. He asked me to look at the kids of the pastor of his own church. They are all a mess. I was totally scared by him.
I thought, if I were to become a preacher, maybe I should not get married. Then I don’t have to deal with the misbehaving preacher’s kids. But that big brother said, “Oh, no. If you don’t get marry as a preacher, Satan has other tricks. He will use women to destroy you.” I don’t know what his problem is. He scared the hell out of me to become a preacher.
Many years later, I did become a preacher. Thank God, I did not have to go through that trial. At least, not yet.
I wonder if someone had scared Jesus that way to make him say that he would not be accepted by his hometown folks. In fact, he is talking about familiarity breads contempt. God’s salvation is available to the humble. His hometown folks are not humble in front of him. So, he gave them examples from two stories.
The first story is about a foreigner widow.
“But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; 26 yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon.” (v. 25-26)
This is fascinating story. If you haven’t read it or have forgotten about it, go home and read 1 Kings 17. There was a famine all over Israel. People don’t have food to eat. God send Elijah to this gentile widow with a son. Elijah asked her to make a bread for him to eat. The widow said, I have only one portion of flour and a little bit of oil just enough to make two breads for me and my son. We planned to eat this last bread and die.
Elijah said, “Don’t worry, just go ahead and make one for me. God will take care of you.” The widow made one for him. If it were you would you make it?
Later she went to look at the jars and found out that there’s still enough flour and oil to make a bread for herself and her son. So they made it and ate it. The next day, she went back to look into the jars and saw there’s just enough flour for the three of them, and they made the bread and ate. The next day, the same thing happened. Day after day, they found just enough flour left for the three of them in the jars, until the famine ended. It lasted three and a half year.
Jesus wasn’t talking about this fascinating miracle, but he is pointing out that God sent Elijah to help this foreigner widow and son, instead of the Israelites. The point is that this gentile widow is humble enough to obey God’s plan. She is generous enough to give her last meal to Elijah, and she was obedient to God’s servant Elijah to take the risk.
Jesus is implying, “You guys wants God to listen to your plan instead of having you listen to God’s. I perform miracles elsewhere because they are ready to believe in me.” Remember last week, we talk about sharing the good news with those who are ready. The Bible says that the good news is preached to the poor because the poor are ready to receive. Jesus is saying, “My hometown folks are not ready to receive. They are not poor in spirit. They are too arrogant. Too full of themselves.”
The next story is similar. We don’t have time to cover it in detail, but it means God’s help goes to the foreigners, instead of the Israelites, because they were ready to obey. Obedience and miracle go together. Jesus is telling them that where there’s no obedience, there’s no miracle.
The people got very angry after hearing this.
“When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. 29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. 30 But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.” (v. 28-30)
Can you imagine. They actually tried to murder Jesus right then by throwing him off the cliff. It shows how corrupt their minds are. They are too arrogant to obey God’s Servant, and they want to silence the very voice that tries to wake them up.
Here’s your homework. Imagine you have food only for your last meal, just like the widow of Zarephath. Elijah shows up at your door hungry and asks for food. Will you give your last meal to him? It doesn’t make sense, you might say. Or would you rather obey and see miracles happen in your life?
Until we meet again, keep cultivating a fruitful life. Amen!