MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Tuesday, April 9th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. WORLD’s Jamie Dean now with some thoughts on the only One who can bring healing to the soul.
JAMIE DEAN, COMMENTATOR: During a recent convocation service at Liberty University, best-selling author Jordan Peterson had an unexpected encounter. As he talked about his book 12 Rules for Life, a man in attendance rushed the stage. He came with a pleading cry: “I need help! I just wanted to meet you. I’m unwell. I want to be well.”
Security escorted the man off-stage—and hopefully to some form of help. But his plea seemed to hang in the air: “I want to be well.”
Those words should pierce the heart of any Christian who understands Jesus is the only one who can make broken people well.
But those words seemed to pierce Peterson too. The psychologist doesn’t embrace saving faith in Christ, but he does squarely face the brutal reality of suffering in the world.
The father-like advice he offers for facing suffering and taking responsibility have captivated throngs of readers and followers on YouTube.
Many have become interested in Christianity because of Peterson’s secular wrestling with spiritual truths.
But in this moment at Liberty, Peterson seemed to feel the weight of those who have come to look to him as a kind of savior. That’s perhaps because he offers wisdom that resonates but doesn’t fully satisfy.
When David Nasser, Liberty University’s campus pastor, later asked Peterson how he could pray for him, Peterson teared up. He said he doesn’t want to pay “an undue price” for the mistakes he knows he will make as he continues to try to do good in the world.
It’s impossible to read someone’s mind or heart, but Peterson almost seemed to be saying: “I want to be well.”
Nasser applied the only balm suitable for such a wound: As he prayed for Peterson, he asked God to reveal Christ to him—not just as a great and noble man, but as a Savior for his soul.
The man who rushed the stage reminds me of the blind man in the New Testament. He cried out: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Peterson reminds me of the rich young ruler who seemed genuinely interested in Christ—but unwilling to give up what he thought made him rich.
In the young ruler’s case it was money. In Peterson’s case—and for many others—it might be their own wisdom.
Either way, the New Testament reminds us of Christ’s posture toward the rich young ruler: “Looking at him, Jesus loved him…”
It’s a love most worthy of imitation by Christians living in a world full of broken people not yet yielding to the only One who can pay the price for their sin. We bear the good news that we have learned for ourselves: Christ can make you well.
For WORLD Radio, I’m Jamie Dean.