The word panacea comes from a Greek word meaning “all-healing.” The ancient Greeks worshiped the goddess of healing named Panacea, who was said to administer a medicine that was able to cure all diseases and injuries. In the Middle Ages, alchemists labored to find this panacea that would cure all ills, but no such medicine was ever found.
In modern English, the meaning of the word panacea has been broadened to refer to a single, total cure-all for a difficult problem. But complex problems can’t be solved with one simple solution, so people often criticize the very suggestion of a panacea as either naïve dreaming or deceptive dishonesty.
So there is no cure-all for all problems, no panacea that will instantly change everything for the better. Or is there?
We are about to remember and celebrate an event that is the foundation of the Christian faith—the resurrection of our Savior on that first Easter Sunday. In that single momentous event, our loving God brought to us what really is a cure-all—a panacea for every problem that sin has brought into this world and into our lives.
The biggest problem we have, of course, is our own sin, our own rebellion against the God who fervently wanted us to be his own. Sin separated us from God from the time we were conceived. It’s what we are by nature. Sin then messes up our lives in countless ways because of what we do and fail to do. The cure is a Savior who took our sin and guilt on himself and was punished in our place, a Savior whose resurrection from the dead serves as the proof that God the Father had accepted his Son’s sacrifice. Our sins are forgiven and our guilt removed.
Yet death relentlessly stalks each of us. But when we begin to tremble with fear at the thought of our own mortality, a living and resurrected Savior says to each of us, “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19). The all-consuming fear is replaced by a sense of peaceful reassurance of the Savior who has conquered death for us. The message of Easter is a powerful message that dries our every tear and brings joy to our hearts. Our fears are cured by the Easter gospel!
We live in a world that seems to be spinning out of control. But then we are reminded in the book of Revelation of a risen Savior who guides and controls all things according to his saving purpose. He shall reign forever and ever—and he reigns now. With the Easter message in our ears, we can look out at a world in disarray and know that Jesus, our living and reigning Savior, is fully in control.
Then we have a cure when we sense our gnawing uncertainty about the future. Because he rose, we know, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). He told us, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Our doubts and fears are cured. That’s the unfailing cure that Easter brings.
We will continue to see sin and evil in this world, and we ourselves will struggle to serve God with our lives. But the panacea is there. His victory gives us power to live for him. On judgment day he will come again and call us out of our graves and invite us to come into an eternal life where sickness, heartache, war, and tears will not exist. That’s a panacea.
Author: Mark Schroeder
Volume 109, Number 04
Issue: April 2022