Michael P. Maddox, M.D.
Gospel is a word that gets thrown around a lot and has taken on a variety of meanings. It most often is used in reference to a genre of music. It is also applied to some principle accepted as unquestionably true even if there is no reference, directly or indirectly, to deity. Even when referring to the One true God of the universe our understanding of it, in my opinion, appears to be incomplete. The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is central to the gospel but this does not fully encompass what the gospel entails.
The word is most commonly defined simply as “good news,” an oversimplification that misses the specificity of it’s meaning. There are lots of things in the world that could rightfully be deemed good news but we don’t apply the term “gospel” to such news. Why not?
Historically, the word carried a significance unfamiliar to most of us. In the ancient world, a gospel was an announcement of good news of a great joy of something that happened in history, something that was done on your behalf that changed your status. The issuing of a gospel announced a change in regime as recorded in Luke 2:10-11.
10 But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: 11 today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David. (HCSB)
This announcement informed the people that an old ruler had been overthrown and a new ruler, a new authority, was now in place. The Gospel of Jesus Christ informs the world that we are no longer in bondage to the sinful ways of the evil ruler of a corrupt system and we are now freed to operate under His righteous authority. It is, by grace, offered freely to all.
So, what does this have to do with Rophe Free Clinic?
There is very little dispute that our current health delivery system is segregated — economically and socially. Far too many, even those who are “insured,” are shut out of the system due to lack of affordability of necessary services. Such segregation functions as a moral statement contrary to the gospel. Poverty is not a hindrance to the gift of grace. The Rophe Free Clinic is our humble effort to change that and demonstrate to our community the love and grace inherent to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We want to operate differently and in keeping with the spirit and character of our Jehovah Ropheka, “The LORD our Healer”.
35 ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 40 ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me’
(Matthew 25:35-36, 40 NASB)
It is our prayer that all will understand the motive for our effort at Rophe Free Clinic so that when we stumble, as we inevitably will, it is not from lack of caring. We all had to crawl before we walked, walk before we ran and even in our running stumble on occasion. We pray for your patience and understanding.
In praise and honor of our gracious Lord and Savior, welcome to Rophe Free Clinic.