What Would Satan Do?

Two weeks ago, my counterpart to the left asked what Jesus would do in the health care debate. Her simplistic answer: endorse the public option. Her reasoning: Jesus healed people.

(Does she not know that GOP stands for God’s Own Party? Just kidding. I don’t really believe that…on most days anyway.)

I agree that Jesus healed people and empowered his disciples to heal people. At the same time, he also rejected some of those very same disciples’ urgings to take political control of Israel.

Common knowledge in ancient Judaism held that the messiah would be a military leader. He would root out the Roman occupation and establish his earthly throne with all of its political trimmings.

That’s likely what Peter had in mind when he confessed Jesus the Christ in Mark 8. So, he must have been confused by Jesus’ response to him: Don’t tell anyone.

Peter was clearly perplexed when Jesus then disclosed that the messiah would be killed, so much so that he took Jesus out back for a talkin’ to. At the woodshed, Peter’s Christ ended up giving out more than he received: “Get behind me, Satan. You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

Jesus healed people for spiritual, not political, purposes. He was most concerned about eternal life spans, not earthly ones. He said the physically poor (and sick) would always be among us. But would they be spiritually rich (and healthy)? That’s what kept him up at night.

Jesus said in John 10 that Satan’s mission is to kill and destroy. As such, Satan would have us seek life in substances other than God. Cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, shotgun sex, fast and fatty “comfort” food. Any medical provider worth her white coat will tell you that dependence on any of these destroys health.

Satan would also have us so discontent in our own skin that we stressfully strive for more stuff. Without regard for balance or boundaries, he would have us spend our health to obtain wealth only to then spend our wealth to get it back. By then, it’s usually too little, too late. Stress has taken its toll.

Satan would fracture families, leaving the world’s best recorders and worst interpreters (children), skeptical that stability, wholeness and health actually exist. He would leave relationships so shattered that adult children have no motivation to care for aging parents. It’s the ultimate payback.

Satan would render impotent people of faith. Through division or self-preoccupation or other “things of men,” he would keep God’s people isolated from the isolation that leads wanderers to unhealthy choices. With no knowledge of redemption, they dull their pain with a Big Mac, a one-night stand, a dose of heroin.

Oh, yes. And Satan would do all this while making us think he doesn’t even exist.

So, what would Jesus do in the health care debate? Be concerned with what Satan would do to people’s spiritual (and thereby physical) health.

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