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You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
(1 John 4:4)
Most folk today, if asked what was uppermost on their wish list, would probably reply ‘to be vaccinated’. Vaccines have brought hope where there was none; have conferred protection against a disease which if left unchecked would bring about unthinkable numbers of deaths and worldwide despair. We thank God for the knowledge and wisdom and skills of those involved in research who have made a way where there seemed to be, initially, no way.
A well known pastor in Texas was reported as saying ‘Jesus is the vaccine’. Now while I understand he was talking about the power of Jesus to heal today, I’m not sure if he got the context, or wording, right on this occasion. But it got me thinking.
A vaccine is something that is injected into us to fight off and protect against an outside force of nature which would do us immeasurable damage if it entered our bodies by whatever means. Our immune system cannot fight off certain diseases on its own but need a helping hand. My thoughts took me to the letter of John where he wrote, and I paraphrase, ‘He that is within us is greater than he (Satan) who is in the world’, referring to the Holy Spirit which I’m sure will be the subject of Thought for the Week come Pentecost.
Jesus said to His disciples, ‘I will ask the Father and He will give you the Spirit of truth. You will know him for He lives with you and will be in you.’
In a sense, the Spirit is like a vaccine in that He protects us against outside forces which cause us to sin, which bring misery, despair and hopelessness. But just like a vaccine, we need to allow the Spirit to work within us and give us the daily strength to combat those things which would bring us down.
So, just as we put our faith in vaccines to protect us, let us also heed the words of the Apostle Paul who urges us to ‘be filled with the Spirit’, who is given to us by Jesus, as our guarantee of life everlasting.
Dr Stuart Chalmers, Oban Baptist Church