Many times I have heard people call Jesus “the Great Physician.”
In fact, the reason I bring this up is because in yesterday’s post, I called Jesus that.
I consider myself someone who knows the Bible pretty well. I won’t regale you with all I’ve done to get to know the Book, but I know it pretty well.
I went over to Bible Gateway to do a search for the phrase “Great Physician,” because what an awesome way to end that post: with a fine verse about the Great Physician, our great Savior who can fix people!
Bible Gateway returned one verse for Great Physician, 2 Chronicles 16:12
And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians.
Hmm, that’s weird, I thought. Maybe it’s a phrase a non-KJV version uses. I looked up the English Standard Version: 0 returns. New American Standard: 0 returns. And, Lord help me, I even searched the NIV: 0 returns.
I then went to my preferred search engine and typed in “where does the phrase ‘Great Physician’ come from?” It was decidedly unhelpful. It came up with a bunch of links to pages about what Jesus thinks about doctors and people calling Jesus “the Great Physician,” but nobody would tell me where this title comes from.
Perhaps this sort of thing is not interesting to you. It fascinates me. I love how we take things and assume the Bible says it, only to find out it never does. There are verses that imply that Jesus is a physician
They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Jesus “said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself.”
That’s it. Certainly Jesus is comfortable with the metaphor, so I don’t think there’s any problem using it.
I just find the absence of the title in the Bible fascinating since, no doubt, 98% of believers would swear it was in the Bible (while ignoring the verses in the Bible telling us not to swear!). Maybe I’m weird that way, I don’t know.
So, based on this, here’s a theory:
Our desire to call Jesus “the Great Physician” might have a sinister motive. Perhaps in referring to Jesus as the Great Physician, this leads us to believer we’re physicians too, just a little more minor than the Great One.
Saying He’s the GREAT physician implies there are lesser ones. But the Bible doesn’t rank physicians. Christ calls Himself, “Physician.” As in: the only one! Not just better than the others; the ONLY ONE.
I prefer to keep things the way the Bible says them. Some people think I go overboard with this, but I think the Bible uses words fantastically and uses them for a reason. He’s not the Great Physician; He’s THE Physician. I like that.