The Supreme Court declared Obamacare to be constitutional this week. Whatever you think of that (and there is a wide variety of thoughts on that), it prompts me to respond to the claim that we (as Christians particularly) need to support “universal health care” because of Jesus and our call to be incarnational like He was.
So here’s my response:
If you are going to invoke Jesus’ healing as a basis for healthcare, shouldn't you also invoke Jesus' methods?
First, Jesus didn't heal everyone. He intentionally walked away from needy people in order to preach the gospel such as in Mark 1:32-38, though you don't hear that much in missional teaching. I don’t mean that sarcastically. People just seem to skip right over that. The fact is that Jesus showed his love by walking away from needy and hurting people in order to preach the gospel to others. What are all the implications of that? Well, I suggest it at least deserves some consideration.
Second, when he did heal, he didn't do it through hospitals, medicine (unless you count mud made out of spit), insurance (government or private), or free care. He did it through miracles.
Simply put, it seems to me that invoking Jesus in this is inappropriate, unless you are going to heal only some people only through miracles and leave the rest on their own so that you can preach the gospel to people who haven’t heard it.
So if you want to be like Jesus, heal some people through miracles and then leave a long line of sick and hurting people so that you can go preach in another town.
None of that is to say that healthcare (universal or not) is a bad thing. I happen to like health care. I happen to think everyone should have it. But that’s not because of what Jesus did on earth. It’s because all humans are created in the image of God and we need to honor that image by caring for it.
This is simply to warn about violating the third commandment by using the name of God the Son in vain. Jesus’ methods do not support (or refute) health care. They are about something entirely different, namely, proving that Jesus was the God the Son who can save sinners by reconciling them to the Father through His own death.
And that message must be preached because that’s a whole lot more important because it is eternal. Eventually all health care will fail and people will need to stand before God. At that point, “Brother So-and-So lived so missionally he got me health insurance” will not do a lot of good.