Matthew 8:1-17 — The Healing Ministry of Jesus Christ (Week 20)
PLEASE READ: Matthew 8:1-17
The Healing Ministry of Jesus Christ
We are all in need of healing. Every single one of us. We are broken, bruised, hurting, and even oppressed. I know very well what it’s like to be sick, to be broken, and to be oppressed. Time and again, the Lord has graciously healed me. He has been so faithful, to degrees and in ways which I find hard to utter or articulate.
My life has known much more pain than joy. My life, although very blessed, has not been easy. It’s been hard. When I came to Christ at the age of nineteen, I was desperate for Him. And although I’ve had seasons of weakness or wandering like we all have, He’s never left me.
As I read this passage of Scripture, there is so much that jumps out at me. We could talk and talk, and I could write for hours literally, because there are plenty of opportunities just in this one short passage to take this post in any given direction. We could dive deep. But for the sake of this post and for the core message I believe God wants to impart through His word, I believe this is our greatest takeaway:
When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses,” (Matthew 8:16-17, KJV).
Matthew’s Triage for the Reader
We see only three specific examples within a few verses. I have no doubt there was much more that transpired besides these few outlined here. We have to remember that the author of this Gospel was trying to give us a powerful “panorama” of how Christ brought this prophetic promise to pass. Matthew chose (or ‘triaged’) these accounts for us. Of all he had witnessed, these were the stories he was led by the Spirit to tell. Matthew’s message is clear: The healing ministry of Jesus Christ is for ALL people (Jew and Gentile), and ALL manner of sickness — the whole spectrum. It includes demonic bondage, minor ills such as a fever, the impossible cure of leprosy, and even the birth defects of the palsy.
Jesus Christ paid the full price for our healing in spirit, soul, and body.
We all need the healing ministry of Jesus Christ in some area, to some degree, every single day.
As a professional RN I see disease, defects, and common ailments, many which are incurable. I have also dealt with everything from emergent trauma to minor injuries that are otherwise part of a normal active life such as lacerations, bruises, and even broken bones. What I see Jesus demonstrating to us is the transcendence of His healing and salvation regardless of the affliction, what it’s called, how it happened, or when it occurred, although we later find that He at times asks. I believe He makes those inquiries for our sake rather than His own deficiency of knowledge. Regardless of the cause or effect, He has taken our infirmities and has borne our sicknesses. And according to Jesus Christ, that even included our sin, which He claimed to be a spiritual “sickness” requiring the care of a “physician” (see Matthew 9:12-13, KJV). In fact, as we will soon find, sin is what started this whole thing.
Where do you fall within this spectrum?
Where do you need healing in your own personal life?
Have you ever felt that your particular issue was outside the realm of His healing power? Perhaps you felt it was just too “common” or “normal” to even bother asking Him. Oh, it’s just a cold. Or, It’s just a sprained ankle. A bruise. Or maybe it’s just too much to ask, perhaps? It’s cancer. It’s a birth defect. It’s an anomaly. It’s an incurable disease, bacteria, or virus that is robbing and killing you. It’s a life-altering trauma. Perhaps you’re in demonic bondage and oppression, but don’t know how to break free. Are you struggling with sin in an area that has taken you captive? Have you been abused, violated, or victimized? Has your heart been broken? Are you suffering grief and loss? Are you depressed? Cutting? Suicidal? Are you an addict? Is it drugs, porn, overeating, gambling, shopping, spending…
What is it?
Where do you need healing in your life?
All of these things and more, Jesus has fully redeemed us from. He took them. He carried them. He bore them fully and paid the price God required in His perfect sacrifice. And that is the key Matthew wants us to see and fully grasp. Once we understand what Christ has truly accomplished — we will begin to ask and receive without any hindrance to our faith.
Isaiah’s Prophecy Fulfilled
Matthew’s Gospel, as we’ve previously discussed, consistently reveals Jesus’ prophetic fulfillment as the promised Messiah in a careful retelling of His life in chronological order, beginning with His genealogy. Matthew’s gospel account was obviously written for the Jewish people. And he knew the requirements for faith in Jesus Christ as their Messiah would include a meticulous delineation of His prophetic fulfillments. He carefully narrates for us, giving us proof through key examples with passages linking us back to the Old Covenant promises and prophecies. Powerful.
This particular passage, when we consider Matthew’s method, reveals the ninth prophetic fulfillment. Let’s look at Matthew’s reference in Isaiah:
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all, (Isaiah 53: 4-6, KJV).
To this day, this passage is one the Jews often neglect to read or give credence toward in regard to Christ’s life and death. It’s just too glaring a proof for them in many cases. Therefore, this passage has been shunned for centuries. Today, it’s become central to many Jews who have come to faith in their Messiah, Jesus Christ. For more on this you will want to read the powerful article by One for Israel.
What Matthew has done is profound, if we will recognize the inherent power of God’s word and what Christ has actually fulfilled.
Christ fulfilled the law explicitly, which is why He instructed the leper not to tell anyone, but to present himself to the priests directly and give the offering commanded by Moses as a testimony to them. If this man hadn’t done that, the legitimacy of his healing would have never been verified, and that man would have never been free or integrated back into society. That law had to be obeyed. This is merely one example of many in the Gospel accounts where Jesus graciously fulfilled the law. Not only did He fulfill the Law…
Christ fulfilled every prophecy ever written about Him. Matthew’s Gospel consistently reveals this fulfillment. Healing, as the Jews knew it, could only be obtained by God. Disease and sickness was often regarded as a curse due to sin or disobedience, perhaps even generational sin that was passed down through the fathers (see Deuteronomy 28-30). Therefore, due to its origin, no one could be healed apart from God. The fall of man and subsequent disease and death were all due to sin. Therefore, sin was the culprit of all manner of sickness, disease, death, and oppression.
The removal of sin through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
God does not look at sickness the way we do. We are often moved by what we see, experience, or feel. We are moved by test results, scary diagnoses, diagnostic images, and physician reports. We are moved by science. We are moved by medicine. We are moved by pain, suffering, and gross alterations in our bodies and lives. We are moved by all of these things and more. Let us understand, in the midst of all we see, know, and experience about disease, that Christ’s sacrifice does not differentiate between them. He does not pick and choose what is redeemable and what is not. Christ died for it all. His sacrifice was perfect. But notice, every story of healing in the Gospels was unique. He spat to make mud. He gave a command. He reached to touch. He never accomplished it the same way twice. Each individual’s experience was different. But the result was always the same. They were healed. They were delivered.
Let’s be moved by what Jesus accomplished and fulfilled.
That is the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. It has not changed. I pray that you can receive all He has fulfilled for you today. You, too, will have a unique journey and experience that you will some day be able to share with the world around you. He is faithful.
Again, we all need Christ’s healing every single day. Believe. Ask. Receive. And finally, be moved — by Him.
Because it is finished.
Cheers & Shalom,
Image Credit: SeppH | Pixabay