I am writing in response to a recent guest commentary by Steven Roberts titled "Love thy neighbor: Jesus would get jabbed."
I would like to say that the desire to care for the needs of others is genuine and admirable. There is nothing wrong with sharing the belief that getting a vaccine is a loving thing to do.
That is the writer's opinion and he is free to say it. The problem I have is that he wrote that Jesus would say it is the right thing to do. The writer is putting words in Jesus' mouth that he never said and that is a dangerous thing to do.
To show how dangerous that is I want to show you how the Bible warns against adding to scripture. The book of Revelation gives this warning for those who would add to its pages, “If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”
By writing that Jesus would encourage people to get vaccinated, you are effectively adding to God’s word. Any discerning Christian reading your article would immediately see you have crossed a line that should never be crossed.
Now, there is nothing wrong with the writer telling us what he thinks, and as I wrote earlier, he is free to voice his opinion, but don’t tell us it is God’s opinion.
By reading God’s word we actually discover that Jesus thought quite differently about disease than humans naturally do. One example of this is how Jesus responded when he learned that his dear friend Lazarus was sick. The gospel of John records how Jesus did not rush to heal Lazarus. Instead he waited two days and said that the sickness was “for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” (John 11:4). Lazarus ended up dying and then Jesus came and raised him from the dead.
Now, we might think it was unloving for Jesus to let his friend die. The fact is we know it wasn’t because Jesus never does anything unloving because he defines agape love and displays it perfectly for us.
The strange thing about the COVID-19 vaccine is that fallible humans have to decide whether to take it or not. Unfortunately, there is not unanimous agreement even from scientists on who should take it.
Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the FDA should cause the discerning citizen to be cautious about taking the vaccine. It has not been fully authorized like other vaccines have been in the past. A cursory study of vaccines in the US reveals that President Gerald Ford ordered a compulsory vaccine in 1976 for a swine flu.
Forty million Americans took the vaccine, but the campaign was later linked to cases of a neurological disorder called Guillain-Barre syndrome. I would hate for anyone to have contracted that syndrome because they took the vaccine after hearing someone say, “Jesus would do it.”
One last important point to make is that getting the vaccine does not demonstrate love toward others but rather toward oneself because taking a COVID-19 vaccine does not actually protect anyone except the person taking it.
This is why fully vaccinated individuals are still encouraged to wear masks, because the mask, not the vaccine keeps the person from spreading the virus to other people. I can speak about this from personal experience because I contracted the virus from a vaccinated individual. I am not upset though. I am actually grateful to God for helping me recover because now I have the antibodies against the virus, which makes me more resistant to it than any of the EUA vaccines.