Why would someone choose the challenge of raising a child with no arms? Why would they adopt a kid with no arms? Why on earth would they adopt several of them?
Maybe because they understand that Jesus didn’t come to earth to save souls.
Maybe because they’ve been transformed by the good news that emphasized how near heaven is, not how far. Maybe because when they read how Jesus preached the good news, they heard a good news that wasn’t consumed with “soul winning.” Maybe because they saw that when Jesus preached the good news his words were invariably accompanied by physical healing. Maybe because they grasped that his miracles weren’t mere illustrations; they were part of the message itself.
The good news of Jesus was never that someone can go to heaven when they die. The good news of Jesus was the announcement of the inbreaking power and presence of the kingdom of heaven into humanity.
The question isn’t why on earth would they adopt. The question is why in heaven won’t I?
Jesus came to earth to save humans. So of course Jesus cares about souls–but no more than he cares about bodies. He came to save humans: humans are body and soul. Unfortunately, Evangelical thinking on this area has been more influenced by the following quote than by Jesus’ own words and actions: “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” This quote is attributed to C.S. Lewis, but not only is the quote untrue, it’s also unlikely that he ever said it! This quote has far more in common with Eastern mysticism than a human Messiah and physical resurrection.
The Christian hope isn’t to become disembodied spirits floating in clouds with harps. The Christian hope is to be reunited with our new bodies, living eternally with God in the new heaven and new earth. Sure, our citizenship is in heaven, but the story ends with heaven coming to earth, not us going to heaven! Turns out that this is our home, that we’re not just passing through after all!
There’s a scene in the video above of a young boy without arms playing the piano with his toes and singing; beauty in the flesh. And, as he reflects on his journey from abused orphan to a loved family member, he offers this profound insight: “You have a dying boy from Romania, starving kids from Africa and you bring them to a place where they can be human to the fullest, and that’s a generous, generous thing.”
Human to the fullest. Sins forgiven. Faith in Jesus. Eternal life. And body cared for.
Jesus came not just to save our souls, but to bring us to a place of being human to the fullest. That’s a generous, generous thing.
May we follow his lead.