My mother died of cancer, as did my wife’s father. Our older son survived cancer only through surgery and intensive radiation. Since cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the world, chances are good that you have been touched personally by this terrible disease as well.
Now comes an astounding announcement from a team of Israeli scientists: They might have discovered the first true cure for cancer. One of them told the Jerusalem Post, “We believe we will offer in a year’s time a complete cure for cancer.” He added, “Our cancer cure will be effective from day one, will last a duration of a few weeks and will have no or minimal side-effects at a much lower cost than most other treatments on the market.”
The scientists describe their discovery as a kind of cancer antibiotic. It uses a combination of compounds called “peptides” that kill cancer cells in a way that is unaffected by mutations. Their treatment attacks cancer stem cells and targets cancer cells so specifically that side effects are minimized. It can also be tailored to the specific cancer it is fighting.
The company will soon begin clinical trials that could be completed within a few years and would make the treatment available for specific cases.
As a medical officer with the American Cancer Society notes, it is far too soon to know if this revolutionary treatment is the cure its developers hope it will be. But imagine for a moment that it is. If you created such a drug, wouldn’t you want to give it to the world? Wouldn’t cancer patients everywhere want to try it?
The best possible news
“Gospel” translates the Greek word euangelion, meaning “good news.” Jesus began his public ministry by calling people to “repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).
The Christian “gospel” is the best possible news: You can be saved from an eternity in hell for an eternity in heaven as the transformed child of your Father. The God who made you loves you so much he considers your eternal life worth the death of his Son. If you will repent of your sins and believe in this good news, asking Jesus to forgive your sins and make you the child of God, he will always answer your prayer.
Everyone needs to hear this good news. Everyone deserves to hear it.
But there’s a catch.
“Lord, let our eyes be opened.”
As Jesus was traveling toward Jerusalem and the cross, he came upon “two blind men sitting by the roadside” (Matthew 20:30a). When they heard that Jesus was coming, they cried out to him, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” (v. 30b). The crowd rebuked them, but they repeated their cry to Jesus (v. 31).
Our Lord stopped and asked them, “What do you want me to do for you?” (v. 32).
They replied, “Lord, let our eyes be opened” (v. 33).
And “Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him” (v. 34).
Lost people are as blind spiritually as these men were physically: “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4). But unlike these men, most lost people don’t know that they are lost.
Growing up in a family that never attended church, this was my story. I assumed that if there is a God, my “good” life would be good enough to get me into his heaven. I had no idea I was destined for hell and would have been offended if you told me so.
This is why so many Americans are lost in a country where the gospel is so accessible. If they understood their peril, they would change. This is part of the enemy’s deception.
Four steps to spiritual sight
Spiritual blindness is a good metaphor for our culture. We are all born with such blindness. But like the men on the road to Jerusalem, some of us meet the Great Physician and our eyes are healed. Now it’s our job to “pay it forward,” helping those who are blind meet the One who can do for them what he did for us.
But if a blind man won’t admit that he’s blind, he’s likely to resist and reject our message in the belief that he doesn’t need what we are offering and that we are trying to impose ourselves on him. This is inevitable and logical. We feel the same way when Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses knock on our door.
What would cause such a blind person to welcome our help? Consider four steps.
First: Build a relationship with him so that he knows we care genuinely for him. We must earn the right to tell him what he does not want to hear.
Second: Live in such a way that he wants what we have. If we claim to be sighted but stumble as much as he does, why would he want to be like us?
Third: Be present in his life when the burden of his blindness becomes so great that he is willing to consider our offer of sight.
Fourth: Lead him to the Great Physician. Help him confess his blindness to Jesus and ask for his forgiveness and grace. Then celebrate with our friend as his eyes are opened and his eternity is transformed.
There are only two kinds of people in the world
If you discovered the cure for cancer, you’d do what the Israeli scientists are doing: You’d announce it to the world, believing that everyone deserves what you have found. In fact, you have discovered a far greater cure, one that prevents eternal death and gives eternal life.
What will you do with what you have found?
Craig Denison: “God believes that you are worth the death of his Son, and there is nothing you can do to change his mind.” The same is true for every person you meet today.
There are only two kinds of people in the world: those who are spiritually blind, and those who can see and are therefore responsible to help those who cannot.
Which are you?
For more from the Denison Forum, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
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Publication Date: January 30, 2019
Photo Courtesy: Kendal James/Unsplash