The Gospel According to 6 Hudson North

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As most of you all know, Danielle and I are back in the hospital. After a recurrence of her pericardial tumor, we came in on January 13th for what was supposed to be a 3 night stay for chemotherapy and after some complications, we’re still here two weeks later. Thankfully, her condition has drastically improved and for the last week or so it has been ridiculously boring (which is a good thing in the hospital). While sitting here, looking out at the Hudson River, I’ve had a lot of time to play Angry Birds, read, and do some reflection.

Where we are is the Inpatient Oncology Treatment Center in the hospital. Its a usual occurrence to see patients walking the hallways with I.V. poles connected to them containing a variety of chemotherapy regimens, and being here, you can see first hand how brutal chemotherapy is. It makes you sick, you lose your hair and it could potentially kill you if not given correctly or given in excess.

So why in the world would anyone want to take chemotherapy!? For one reason and one reason alone…for decades, chemotherapy has been curing people of their disease, which left untreated, would have literally killed them.

That got me thinking about the gospel message. One thing I’ve noticed in a lot of churches is a heavy emphasis on the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, with little (or no) reference to the disease that the Cross was sent to cure. We say its the good news, but fail to really drive home why that news is really good. By doing so, we run the risk of being very unfaithful to the gospel and present a message that makes very little of Jesus and His purpose in our lives.

Frankly stated, the cure makes no sense without the disease.

If I were to walk up to someone on the street and say “hey, you need to take this medicine that’s going to make you feel really weak, sick and make your hair fall out”, there’s a very slim chance that any sane person would do it. But on this floor, despite the side effects, people look forward to chemo, because they see its purpose, and want to live.

The medicine makes sense to them because and only because since they are convinced of their disease.

Spiritually, we all have a disease, and our disease is called SIN. David said it best in Psalm 51 where he stated “surely I was sinful from birth” meaning that when you entered this world, you had already been infected with a disease that spread throughout your entire body. Even worse, the wages of the sin are death and without the cure, that’s what’s going to happen.

If we limit the gospel message to “God loves you” and “Jesus died for you” (both very true), we cheapen what was the intent of the beauty of the message and in turn lower our view of Christ and how AMAZING the Cross truly is. The Cross makes sense only when the disease is understood, and although we certainly cannot earn our salvation, our willingness to live our lives for God really depends on our understanding of this. Christ is our cure, and while we won’t necessarily lose our hair following him, there may be some side effects.

Just like chemotherapy, Jesus’ way can seem drastic.

As He stated in Luke 9:23, “[t]hen he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

That doesn’t really flow in this post-modern culture (especially in New York, where people idolize their individualism), but I pray that God shows us the depths of our NEED for Him, not as a matter of convenience, but as a matter of life and death.

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2 Responses to “The Gospel According to 6 Hudson North”

  1. Donna Olivia says:

    Amazing reflection, Jordan. I am grateful that God is speaking to you through this tough experience. My prayers are with Danielle, and you as you stand by her.

  2. Carla says:

    Absolutely beautiful. May God continue to hear the prayer of your heart. Always praying for you and Danielle.

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