Mathew 20:29-34.
by Dr. Keshomshahara, Bukoba, Tanzania

It is very interesting to realise that Jesus Christ was not only concerned with the spiritual aspects of human life but also the physical health of human beings. This is indeed a challenge to us Christians who sometimes put much emphasis on spiritual growth with less emphasis on physical health of human beings, especially when we focus on life after death. Jesus Christ challenges us to have an integral approach to human life which is not only spiritual but also physical. The crowd which accompanied Jesus was not ready to allow the two blind men to be accessible to Jesus Christ. This shows that the crowd was only interested in hearing the Gospel which they thought was not in connection with the needs of the sick people. But Jesus Christ whose mission addressed all human problems and needs, considered the cry and demand of the sick people and healed them. Jesus’ approach is very exceptional. Although he knows in advance what they need, he gives them an opportunity to express themselves, a situation which is indicative of a dialogic relationship between the healer and the client. Furthermore, Jesus had compassion and pity on them, the feeling which shows concern about others.

In our text Jesus healed the sick people by simply touching them. This shows us that Jesus healed the sick people by using various ways and approach. In other cases he simply said a word and the sick was healed. In other circumstances he used mud to heal the blind while in other cases he prayed for healing. The New Testament says that healing was also possible when a sick person touched Jesus’ clothes. Different ways of healing presents to us a challenge of accepting the fact that God heals people through different ways like modern medicine and prayers. In Africa, Tanzania, where I come from, we experience some situations whereby some Christians put much emphasis on healing by prayers at the expense of modern medical services. At the same time some modern people apply modern medicine without recognizing the aspects of spiritual healing. Both sides are challenged to abide by the reality that human needs are both spiritual and physical. That is why the Christian understanding of healing is very important to the Medical Mission Support (MMS) which addresses itself to the human health in totality, without departmentalisation. Again, Jesus’ dialogue with the sick people in the process of healing them fits the goals of the Medical Mission Support (MMS) which involves people and their context in addressing the challenges of health services in their respective areas. This goes hand in hand with encouragement of local workers in the provision of health services. Furthermore, making of research on traditional medicine is another way of making dialogue with those who need health services. This is like asking the sick people what they need and expect. Jesus’ dialogic approach towards healing shows that he goes beyond the problem to the aspect of human relationship. This, again implies that the relationship between a doctor and a sick person or the customer in the hospital or dispensary should go beyond healing the disease or money-service relationship and cover human social relationship as first priority.

Abednego Keshomshahara,
Dr. theol., theological studies at Makumira University College of Tumaini University, Bachelor of Divinity (B.D.-1997), worked as a pastor at the Cathedral of Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT), North Western Diocese (NWD) in 1998. Master of Theology (M.Th.-2000), teacher and principal of the Ruhija Theological Training Centre(2000-2003), doctoral studies in theology Kirchliche Hochschule Wuppertal / Bethel, Germany. He received his doctorate in 2008. Lecturer of Bukoba Lutheran Teachers College in Bukoba, Interim Provost of Josiah Kibira University College of Tumaini University (TU)in Bukoba (2008 todate).

In his book
“A Theology of Poverty Reduction in Tanzania – A quest for Christian Socio-economic and Political Vision” Dr. Keshomshahara emphasises the role of the Church in addressing socio-economic and political issues in Tanzania during this period of Globalisation. This book was written as a part of fulfilling the requirements for doctoral studies in Germany. It was published by CENTRAL TANGANYIKA PRESS (CTP) IN 2008, with ISBN number:
978 9976 662 280 1. You can order that book from Central Tanganyika Press through the following address: P. O. Box 1129 Dodoma, Tanzania, East Africa or through the following email for more information: