Following an account in the fifth chapter of Luke of Christ Jesus' healing of a leper is found this statement (verse 15): "Great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities." The very simplicity of this statement indicates the childlike receptivity of those eager throngs. They came "to hear"—great multitudes of them—"and to be healed."

Just so, in the period following the time of Jesus the experience of Paul gives us a similar picture as he journeyed through the cities of Syria, Asia Minor, and Macedonia. Emperor worship, ceremonial law, and personal favoritism had so enslaved many that the desire for spiritual freedom was dim. Into this state of thinking came Paul, whose personal experience of being healed of the blindness of untempered zeal and self-righteousness had so humbled him that he walked among the people, seeing their faults and longing to help them.

Paul, because he had been healed, knew that they too could be healed. His conviction that the message of the Messiah was not just for the glory of Israel, but was for a "light unto the people, and to the Gentiles" (Acts 26:23), brought these people hope, encouragement, and comfort. Paul's teachings, as one writer described them, were like "a cool sea breeze in the midst of the seething doctrines of the confused world thinking of his day."

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November 5, 1955

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