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The NHS and the shroud

And when Jesus entered Peter's house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him. That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.” Matthew 8: 14-17
Yes, the National Health Service. Should it be renamed the National Illness Service because it’s only used by those who are ill. Perhaps not because “only by those who are ill” means everybody. The “Health” in the initials NHS is correct after all. Health is one of the major focuses of all human beings – if not the major focus…. For good reason.

But the kernel of that health focus remains unsaid: we are all going to submit – totally – to illness in due course. Every Death Certificate must contain the certified cause, the precise illness which finally made it into death. 

The Jewish people have long preserved in their Holy Scriptures a book containing many promises of the LORD God to them in their time of ethnic, family and national disaster around 600 BC. The book was written by a Jerusalem resident named Isaiah and one of the promises he passed on to the Jews related to this shroud of illness and death. It reads like this: -

On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the LORD God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken. (Chapter 25: 6-8)

‘Nobody has to ask the question, “Is there death after life?”’ (John Blanchard, b. 1932)
The LORD God will swallow up the (shroud) that is cast over all people, the (shroud) that is spread over all nations. The LORD God will swallow up (the shroud of) death for ever. Was that true. Has it been fulfilled? Has the shroud of death which hangs over nations, over national health been removed? Is the inevitable no longer inevitable?

Fast forward from Isaiah in Jerusalem to AD 30 and the appearance of Jesus on the scene. See bold above. This extract from Matthew’s eye-witness biography of Jesus mentions another promise of the LORD God though Isaiah to the Jewish people: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.” (Chapter 53: 4) Matthew was reporting that Jesus was dealing with all their NHS requirements….

Indeed, the quote above starts with the word, “And…” Immediately before healing Peter’s mother-in-law, etc., Matthew reported that Jesus had completely cured an outcast leper and healed, from a distance, the paralyzed, suffering servant of a Roman army officer.  Leprous? Paralyzed? Suffering? Dangerously feverish? Demon-oppressed? No NHS there. The shroud was hovering over all. But shrouds were not immediately necessary. 

When Isaiah wrote about the shroud covering all peoples and the promise of the LORD God to remove it forever, the promise was not only to Jews but to all nations. And he promised it “on this mountain”. He lived in Jerusalem.

In Jerusalem, outside the city and on the Mount of Olives in AD 30, this man who had healed others was himself crucified - put to death as a criminal. Writing around BC 600 Isaiah wrote more of what the LORD God had to say about the one who would come to earth to be despised, opposed and killed – in order to remove the shroud from the nations: -

‘The only real answer to death is life.’ (Derek Prime, b. 1931)
He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Chapter 53: 2-6)

This man, who rose again, is worth consulting about the shroud and the illnesses which are all symptomatic of it.
Sinner Syvret

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