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Daily Devotional


More Than a Placebo

Apr 27, 2018
Daily Devotional
Average reading time is about 5 and a half minutes
AN AMAZING FACT:  A placebo is a harmless pill or solution made from a neutral substance, such as sugar or starch, which is used to avoid bias when testing new drugs. But in some tests, patients have experienced dramatic results from these placebos based simply on their belief that the pill will help them.

Doctors have administered placebos to patients who are thought to have incurable illnesses to induce the so-called placebo effect: a temporary or even permanent improvement of the patient’s condition corresponding to their faith in the doctor or medicine. In 1955, a study by Dr. Henry Knowles Beecher reports that 35 percent of patients had their conditions improved by receiving placebos.

Little is understood of how this works, but one theory is that the patient’s faith in a cure might be related to the release of brain chemicals that help promote healing. Perhaps this is one reason why Jesus always said to those He healed, “Your faith has made you whole.”

Modern medicine is returning to the conclusion that a person’s faith has a great deal to do with their rate of recovery. In fact, a 2001 Reader’s Digest reported on a nationwide study that found those who attend religious services more than once a week have a seven-year longer life expectancy than those who never attend. The Bible also teaches that a person’s eternal life expectancy is directly connected with their faith.

Thomas struggled with faith. He said, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe” (John 20:25). Fortunately for Thomas, Jesus revealed Himself and he believed. But notice Christ’s words, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (v. 29).

John’s Gospel intends to bolster the faith of people who have not physically seen Jesus. Until we get to, we can exercise our faith in the risen Lord as we read Scripture, pray, and hear His voice speak to our hearts. Faith will change us; Christ is more than a placebo.

But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. John 20:31

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