“…he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ..." (Ephesians 1:5)
A doctor describes pancreatic cancer. It is “the most deadly; the one people have nightmares about.” Thankfully, pancreatic cancer is rare.
Understandably then, this doctor was surprised to encounter a man who claims that pancreatic cancer runs in his family. This 40-year-old man is afraid that he is next up for “the curse in my family.” Already, his father, grandfather, four uncles, and three cousins have all died of pancreatic cancer. Each of them has gone rapidly from great health to the grave.
So this doctor takes another doctor—a friend who is a pathologist—to investigate. The two doctors set up a lab in order to draw blood from members of this family. They do this in order to run genetic testing, so that they can try to track down “what’s making this family sick.”
The pathologist is in new territory here. As a pathologist, she is usually distanced from her patients. She is usually looking objectively at samples under a microscope. But today she is face-to-face with them. Today she is talking with a healthy young man who is a member of this family. While they are talking, it dawns on her that this man who is sitting right in front of her has “a time bomb inside [his] body.”
She describes what happens next:
“And then this little boy comes in… and just runs up to this guy… throws his arms around Daddy’s neck, and kisses him. And all I could think was, ‘Oh my God. This beautiful child, he has a 50% chance of having this hideous disease.’ And I was just so upset about that. I was just so torn apart inside.”
On the way home, the two doctors were talking about their day. The pathologist was talking to the other doctor about how sad she was about this little boy.
The other doctor laughed. She knew something about the boy that the pathologist did not know: “Him? Don’t worry about him—he’s adopted!”
Pancreatic cancer exists because sin exists. Pancreatic cancer is indeed a hideous disease, but how much more hideous is the root of all cancer—the root of all sickness and confusion and brokenness and pain. Sin brings death 100% of the time to 100% of the population (Romans 5:12–14; see also Genesis 5). Sin ruins everything: us, our relationships, our world. Sin brings shame and alienation. Sin brings death (Romans 6:23a).
And to top it all off, sin is inherited. Sin is “the curse in [our] family.”
How good, then, is the news of adoption (Ephesians 1:6)! In saving us, God removes us from our old family (the one full of sin and death) and brings us into his own holy family. “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).
And again, “you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ…” (1 Peter 1:18–19a).
1) Like the pathologist, I must feel great pity and compassion for the afflicted. Human beings are beautiful; each and all of us bear the image of our Creator! But sin infects us, and our sins afflict us. We are living in the midst of unspeakable tragedy. We must be compassionate.
2) Like the doctor, I must rejoice in adoption. Because of what God has done for me in Jesus Christ, I no longer need to fear the curse of sin in any form. I no longer have to live under the dread of the diagnosis—because my Savior has taken my disease upon himself! My disease was nailed to the cross, and in Christ I am healed.
3) And so, I rejoice in the Gospel, even as I share the Gospel. And I share the Gospel, even as I rejoice in the Gospel.
"Me? Don't worry about me—I'm adopted!"