The Worst “Disease” in History

Historians say that from 1347 to about 1351 AD so-called “Black Death,” a devastating pandemic, “result[ed] in the deaths of an estimated 75 to 200 million people in Eurasia” (

Modern Diseases

Today, man is confronted with other diseases. For example, Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (or AIDS) is ravaging our modern world. According to the World Health Organization, AIDS has killed more than 35 million people since it was first recognized in 1981, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history. Cancer –how much we HATE that word– killed 9.6 million people in the world in 2018. As if this were not enough, we are now hearing a lot in the news about the “novel coronavirus” or “Wuhan coronavirus” that is spreading throughout the world at the time of this writing and produces a deadly form of pneumonia that cannot be treated with antibiotics.

There Is Something Much Worse

How horrible! “Can there be anything more terrifying than these diseases?” we ask. The answer is yes! That which is far worse than any physical affliction is to be separated from God because of our sins. This is, and always has been, humanity’s worst “disease.”

Those Who Didn’t Want the Remedy

Speaking of how this disease was destroying his Jewish brethren, the prophet Jeremiah asks, “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of the daughter of my people not been restored?”(Jeremiah 8:22). The spiritual condition of the people of Israel was unnecessary because medicine and a physician were readily available. Many, however, did not want to believe in the word of God or repent of their sins. This was the “remedy,” but the Jews refused to accept it.

Other’s Rejected the Remedy in Jesus’ Day

Today, Jesus Christ is our Physician par excellence. On one occasion, the Lord said to the scribes and Pharisees, insensitive to their true spiritual condition, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners”(Mark 2:17). In contrast, the tax collectors and harlots recognized their need to go to the Physician (Matthew 21:32) because they knew full well that they were spiritually sick.

Someone once said that sin is the most empirically-verifiable fact, but also the most intellectually-resisted. However, there has never been a more blunt description and condemnation of sin in any religion than that given by Jesus Christ. Speaking sin’s grim reality, Jesus said, “Out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person” (Mark 7:21-23).

Do I understand the seriousness of MY sins? What steps am I taking to avoid it in my own life and help others recognize this “terrible” disease?

–Jerry Falk