"Physician, heal yourself! ... no prophet is accepted in his hometown. ..." (Luke 4:23-27)

"Surely you will quote this proverb to me: 'Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.' I tell you the truth, no prophet is accepted in his hometown. I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah's time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed - only Naaman the Syrian." (Luke 4:23-27)
Here Jesus is speaking in the synagogue in his hometown of Nazareth. Jesus had stood up and read from a scroll from Isaiah (as discussed previously) and told them their hearing his teachings "fulfilled" that scripture.

As we discussed, Jesus was indicating not that Isaiah necessarily predicted Jesus' coming, but that Jesus' teaching on behalf of God - being God's representative - carried out Isaiah's teachings that professed the passing on of God's message.

Now Jesus is responding to some in the congregation who doubted Jesus' position as God's representative, as indicated:
All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. "Isn't this Joseph's son?" they asked. (Luke 4:22)
This statement "Isn't this Joseph's son?" clarifies the mood of many in the congregation, who saw Jesus not as God's representative, but rather as just another boy in the town - a boy they had known as Joseph's son.

This offense against God's representative is serious, and Jesus was responding to that. To see God's representative as his physical body - and thinking oneself as an equal or peer - is to offend the Supreme Being.

This is because the Supreme Being has authorized and chosen that person - not arbitrarily - as a result of an intimate loving relationship that exists between the Supreme Being and His loving servant. This intimate relationship creates a bond between them, and as God's loving servant wants to please God, God authorizes that person to speak on His behalf.

This process is completely unrelated to any type of ecclesiastical appointment. God's representatives are not chosen by political committees, be they deacons, cardinals, bishops or otherwise. God chooses His own representative who is completely committed to Him.

What is being 'chosen' mean?

But it is not as if someone can simply proclaim they have been chosen by the Supreme Being. A person must also become the student of God's representative, and be guided by that person. This is the process, because God's representative introduces the serious follower to the Supreme Being, and their lost loving relationship with Him.

This is the ancient practice as authorized by the Supreme Being. We see it in the life of Jesus, as Jesus became a student of John the Baptist, evidenced by John's baptism of Jesus. Then he took on his own students, and taught them specifically, then asked them to teach it to others.

We also see it in the life of Elisha, the ancient prophet Jesus is speaking of in the verse above. Elisha was one of Elijah's devoted students. We can see this devotion in the following text from the Old Testament:
When the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, "Stay here; the LORD has sent me to Bethel." But Elisha said, "As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you." So they went down to Bethel. The company of the prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and asked, "Do you know that the LORD is going to take your master from you today?" "Yes, I know," Elisha replied, "but do not speak of it." Then Elijah said to him, "Stay here, Elisha; the LORD has sent me to Jericho." And he replied, "As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you." So they went to Jericho. The company of the prophets at Jericho went up to Elisha and asked him, "Do you know that the LORD is going to take your master from you today?" "Yes, I know," he replied, "but do not speak of it." Then Elijah said to him, "Stay here; the LORD has sent me to the Jordan." And he replied, "As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you." So the two of them walked on. (2 Kings 2:1-7)
We can see from this exchange the dedication Elisha had for his teacher Elijah, and the intimate relationship that existed between the student and his teacher. This was also seen with Jesus and his disciples. This is the relationship between God's representative and the serious student, who sees his teacher as his master, and himself as his teacher's servant.

This service and position of the student nurture the student's relationship with the Supreme Being. Because the teacher is dedicated to God, by becoming dedicated to such a teacher, the student is introduced into the loving relationship the teacher has with God.

Is Jesus our peer?

To see such an exalted teacher as Jesus - God's representative - as an equal or peer just because he wears a temporary physical body is a mistake. It is an error in judgment and harmful to one's spiritual life.

This applies to those historians who analyze Jesus' life and teachings as though he was an ordinary person. Just because he occupied a physical body does not mean that he was not God's representative. It is an offense against God to see His representative as a peer with typical human emotions.

This is what is transpiring in Nazareth with some of those in the congregation. And Jesus is clarifying this reality in his statement.

The phrase "physician heal thyself" was obviously part of the scriptures that Jesus and the Jews of that era utilized. Otherwise, he would not have quoted the statement as a proverb. We do not find that statement in the current Bible - indicating it was omitted at some point.

Indeed, there are many - some estimate in the several hundred and maybe even more - scriptural texts that were eliminated from inclusion into the Canon and then Bible as directed by early Church fathers and their eventual masters, the Roman emperors. As evidenced by the findings of many scriptures both written before and after the birth of Christ, there were many texts that were utilized and seen as Holy Scripture by many that are not included in the current Bible.

What Jesus discusses with regard to Elisha also indicates an important consideration as we reference Jesus' life and teachings.

Jesus discusses that while Elijah could have helped so many other widows at a time of calamity, he only helped a particular widow, the widow in Zarephath.

He also mentioned that while Elisha was a great healer, and many were sick with skin diseases (the word translated to "leprosy" (λεπρός (lepros) can mean any number of skin diseases) the only person that Elisha healed for skin disease was Naaman the Syrian.

What is Jesus trying to say here?

He is illustrating that God's representative is not some sort of doctor who comes to treat everyone's physical body and heal every disease. Otherwise, Jesus would have healed every physical body. Why didn't Jesus just heal every body then?

We know this because while Jesus could have healed virtually anyone of any disease, he chose specific people in specific circumstances - those who also had faith in God. As evidenced by Jesus' life, God's representative is directed by the Supreme Being to help particular people - those who are ready for spiritual healing.

Why is this? Is God or Jesus not fair?

God is the Supreme Being. If He wanted to, He could heal every body on the planet with a single thought. He controls everything.

Besides, the idea of healing the body as a physician is being used here symbolically. Jesus is not talking about healing people's bodies. He is talking about saving people. He is talking about delivering people from a life of bondage in the physical world to the resumption of their loving relationships with the Supreme Being.

Jesus is indicating that in order to heal others spiritually, a person must be healed first. "Physician, heal yourself" indicates that a person cannot be a teacher without being a student first. A teacher must have accomplished a loving relationship with the Supreme Being before being able to introduce others to such a loving relationship.

Why didn't Jesus heal everyone?

What about the question asked above: Why doesn't the Supreme Being, and Jesus - His representative - heal everyone's physical body? This is the same as asking a similar question: Why, if God is kind, is there so much suffering in the world?

The suffering in the world is caused by us, not God. The Supreme Being simply set up the physical world as a place of consequence so that we can understand the effect our actions have on others. It is our actions - and our choices - that have created for each of us, our particular situation.

The first action is that we decided we did not want to be in our natural position of God's loving caregiver any longer. We wanted to enjoy being the master instead of the servant.

So the Supreme Being simply set up a virtual domain where we could pretend to be someone we are not for a while, to experience being separated from God, so we could try to enjoy ourselves in a self-centered fashion. This is the physical world. Here we are given temporary physical bodies and given temporary identities so that we can exercise our desires.

The only problem is that once we are here, whatever we do comes back to us. If we hurt someone, we end up being hurt in the same way later. If we help someone, we are helped later. The physical world is like a mirror - it shows us precisely who we are.

This means our suffering was created by us either in this life or in a previous lifetime. Our previous actions - together with our consciousness - determines the type of physical body we are born into. It determines our family and many other things. For example, a person who forced slaves in their previous life will likely take on the body born into a slave family in the next lifetime, to experience precisely what was committed to others in the previous life as a slave-master.

We must remember, however, that these identities are virtual. They are not us. The pain that we feel and the suffering we feel is taking place for a virtual, temporary body. It is like a computer game icon in a computer game. They might be blown up or shot, but the computer operator is not blown up or shot. And when the computer operator turns off the computer, the game icon is deleted. What is left is only the learning of the computer operator.

It is the same in the physical world. What is left from the suffering and death of these temporary physical bodies after our body dies is only the learning experiences we take away from them. This creates conscious evolution - and the possibility of our choosing to return to our natural position.

Thus there is little advantage for the Supreme Being or His representative to remove the learning experiences of those in the physical world who are undergoing the consequences of their previous activities. This is part of our learning experience.

Can we ever graduate from the physical world?

However, should a person come to a point where they are finished with their self-centered desires to be separate from God: They are finished with their chase to be master and enjoy the world - and they sincerely ask God to take them back - this is a different story.

Such a person receives the direct attention of the Supreme Being. The Supreme Being sends His representative to such a person to reconnect that person to their relationship with Him. God sends His loving servants specifically to those who are ready to return home. For these, assuming they remain sincere, God's representative re-introduces them to the Supreme Being and guides them back to their original consciousness as one of God's loving caregivers.

God's representative is serving God. Where ever God wants him to go - he goes. And God utilizes such a loving servant to re-introduce us to God because the loving servant can show us how it is done. He is already healed: He can thus heal us.

This healing is not about the physical body. Every physical body will become diseased and die. It is all about love. Love for God and love for God's children is the lifeblood of our spiritual selves. And it only comes to those who are ready to give up their self-centered dreams. It is only then that the real physician can heal us with God's message:
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'" (Luke 10:27 and Deut 6:5)