Thoughts During Grief: Will Jesus Patch the World?

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Recently my mum passed away. In the week before she died, I was reading the Bible about Jesus’ life on Earth. In the chapters that I came to, Jesus was performing back-to-back healings. He made blind people see, lame people walk, sick people well, and even raised a girl from the dead. Jesus made it happen by a word or a touch. Healing is easy for Him. He made our bodies in the first place. I was amazed while I read because I knew that Jesus could heal people who were on death’s doors, or beyond them. But while I read, amazed, I also questioned: why doesn’t He make Mum better again?

To be honest, I know some of the ‘answers’ to this question, but they all seemed academic and hollow. I kept reading.

Then I came to something different. There was a short conversation, in the middle of all those amazing miracles, which suddenly stood out to me like a beacon. Jesus was asked a question. In His answer He mentioned that soon He would be leaving Earth, which made me think of Him returning to Earth. Then He used a little life illustration, which was what really struck me. He started talking about patching old clothes with the wrong fabric (which ruins them) and about putting new wine into old wine skins (which makes them break). (See Matthew 9.)

I’ve done a little fermentation recently. Not with wine, but with liquid yeast. As it fermented in a jar on my worktop, bubbling away, I had to be careful to only set the lid on the top. If I had sealed the jar, the pressure inside of it would have built up so much that the glass would have shattered. Similarly, if new wine is put into old, not-flexible wine skins, they will burst.

The conversation wasn’t about healing, but it was surrounded by healings and it suddenly struck me that we are like clothes and wine skins. The world is like them. When people are healed in this life, it’s only temporary. It’s a bad patch which pulls away from the clothes. It’s like pouring new wine into an old wine skin. It might seem to work for a while, but then it tears or breaks.

Jesus did leave Earth but one day He is coming again. When He does, He is going to make everything new. He isn’t going to put new wine into our old wine skins. He’s going to give His followers new bodies, which will never die or suffer again. Being healed in this life is just a bad patch; like pouring new wine into these frail containers until they burst. Instead, His followers look forward to something much, much greater: complete and total renewal. Healing that will last forever. This is our certain hope.

We see this ‘loud and clear’ in Revelation 5:

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away . . . ‘Look! God’s dwelling is with humanity. . . He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will no longer exist; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away.’ . . . ‘Look! I am making everything new.’” Revelation 21v1-5 (Read the whole thing, it’s amazing!)

Posted by Esther Harding, 19th August 2020