The Function of the Christian in the World -- By: David J. MacLeod

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 05:2 (Winter 1996)
Article: The Function of the Christian in the World
Author: David J. MacLeod


The Function of the Christian in the World

David J. MacLeod1

An Exposition of Matthew 5:13–16

Introduction

It began suddenly, in the autumn of 1979. Young homosexual men with a history of promiscuity started showing up at the medical clinics of New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco with a bizarre array of ailments. Some had Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP), a rare parasitic lung infection seen almost exclusively in cancer or transplant patients taking drugs that suppress their immunity. Others bore the purplish skin lesions of Kaposi’s sarcoma, a cancer that is usually confined to elderly men of Mediterranean extraction and young males in Equatorial Africa. Still others had developed strange fungal infections or other rare cancers. All had one thing in common: an immune system so severely impaired that they were living playgrounds for infectious diseases. As soon as one bug could be brought under control, these patients would fall prey to another, gradually wasting away.2

By 1981 medical experts had put a label on the strange new disease: Aids, or “Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.” It has proven to be a deadly plague that has triggered one of the most intensive investigations of an epidemic in medical history. In 1983 the death toll stood at 489. By 1986 24,000 cases of the disease had been reported. Then Surgeon General C. Everett Koop was projecting that by the year 2000 the number who would die from Aids worldwide could reach 100 million.3

What we know is this: In the marrow of our bones are factories that turn out a variety of defensive cells so specialized that each is able to recognize and attack one type of germ. These sentinels spend their whole lives prowling through our blood vessels, looking for their own type of invading enemy. As Dr. Paul Brand, the famed leprosy doctor, says, “The whole system is fantastic in beauty, and we need to pause in thankfulness.” Aids is caused by a retro virus, similar to many other viruses. But this one has the unique ability to seek out and kill just those cells of the immune system that ordinarily defend the body. When these are destroyed the body is defenseless, and many common infections suddenly become serious and even fatal.4

The immune system of the human body and its destruction by Aids serves as a good introduction to our Lord’s words in Matt. 5:13–16.You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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