Q: “What does it mean when Scripture tells us that Jesus came to heal the broken hearted?”
A: It is clear that Luke 4:18 is not talking about our physical heart. The heart in the Bible is often describe as the very bowels of the soul that houses the spark of life. It is the core of man’s soul that determines his attitude towards the matters of life (Proverbs 4:23).
There is a mental, emotional, and spiritual aspect to this heart. When the heart of the soul is broken it will cause mental anguish, emotional fallout, and deep-seated sorrow. It is important to point out what will wound the heart. When it comes to mental anguish it is caused by hopelessness, emotional despair by betrayal, and sorrow due to loss. The Lord can heal a broken heart caused by hopelessness by changing the focus to that which is eternal. He heals the heart beset by betrayal by making it whole so that the person can forgive from the heart, while releasing all bitterness as the heart is filled with new life and expectation. He gives the sorrowful heart a place of mourning so that He can comfort and restore the person with the presence of His Spirit (Matthew 5:4).
The presence, work, and activity of sin will bruise the heart (Hebrews 3:12-14). Sin causes separation in relationships and plants destructive seeds that will bring utter ruin. It will pervert the innocent as it robs them of purity, shipwrecks the sinner, and cause the righteous spirit to be vexed causing the individual to mourn. In such cases God will give the broken heart of the innocent a clean heart when they cry out to Him, a sinner a new heart upon repentance, and the righteous a revived heart where the joy of their salvation is once again fully restored.
It is important to point out that a person must seek the healing of the Lord if they want their heart healed (Matthew 7:7-8; 9:12-13). A physician never seeks out the sick; rather, the sick must seek out the physician. Some people think if God loves them, He would heal them without them asking, but this is improper thinking. Healing has nothing to do with proving one’s love; rather, for the Christian healing has a lot to do with faith (James 5:13-16). If I believe God wants to heal me, I must ask Him for that healing. In a sense, I am giving Him permission to heal and when it happens, guess who will also receive the honor, recognition, and glory for His intervention?
Those who have lost a loved one will taste a depth to sorrow that can’t be imagined or described, but God is able to enter in with such a person because His Son experienced everything man could experience except sinning. God gave His Son as a sacrifice to address the sinful plight of man so believers could be made partakers of His Son’s life and made the righteousness of God in Him. His Son’s physical heart was broken as He became fully identified to the plight of mankind. However, at the darkest point of sorrow, a cry of victory rang out from the cross, “It is finished!” and it was then that Jesus gave up His Spirit to enter through the door of physical death. To this day Jesus’ experience with the cross and the grave serves as a memorial to all who look back at the cross and upon the sacrifice of Jesus, while seeking mental healing from the torments of the past, despair in the present, and unbearable suffering that initially appears to have no end to it (Matthew 27:50; John 19:30, 34; 1 Corinthians 11:23-33; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:14-16; 2 Peter 1:3-4).
Jesus’ death became a way to life and serves as an established memorial every time communion is observed by believers. Jesus, the man of sorrow revealed that no matter how morbid, dark, and long the experience of sorrow is upon the soul, the light of victory will break forth to shine upon the saint once again (Isaiah 53:3).
Jesus’ example shows us that personal sorrow can establish a memorial. There are those who do not want to give up their sorrow because they never want to forget. To such individuals, to forget the importance or impact of someone feels as if they are betraying the deceased one. However, when God heals a person, it is not by taking away the memories or impact of this person, but by making the sorrow into a memorial where mourning can take place. A place of memorial is more than a place of remembrance, it becomes a place of consolation, healing, hope, and resurrection. Since we are creatures of time, the Lord will use it to take the bitterness out of the loss while filling the vacant place with a sweet fragrance of consolation and ministry (2 Corinthians 1:3-7). It is a place of identification where a life was experienced, and as a result joy can take flight while expectation resurrects those precious moments and memories to remind us of the blessing of that life and not the absence of it.
Finally, Jesus told His disciples that He would go away, but the Father would send the Holy Ghost who would serve as the Comforter (John 14:25-29). As believer, the Holy Spirit is the breath and presence of God in our lives. It is the Spirit who causes the hopeless to remember promises, while bringing peace to a troubled heart, rest to a weary soul, and healing to a broken heart.