Jesus in the Temple

(Matthew 21:14-17)

Jesus cleared the temple of the moneychangers and the pigeon sellers on his return to Jerusalem. He restored the temple to be a temple of praise and a house of prayer. He removed and cast out those who practised commerce in the temple, returning it to a place of teaching and worship of God.

In this section we now see Jesus in the temple. He shows us an example of how the temple should operate. We see three distinct aspects to this operation of the temple in this section of scripture.

First we see all the lame and the blind and those with various afflictions come to him in the temple and he healed them all. This was to fulfil the words of Isaiah, “He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.” (Matthew 8:17, Isaiah 53:4) Second, we see Jesus teaching the people the words of God and the truth of the Kingdom of God. This is shown in following sections of this chapter. And finally we see the people praising Jesus, calling out “Hosanna to the Son of David.” As Jesus said to the priests and scribes, “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast brought perfect praise.” (Verse 16)

But there is opposition from the priests and scribes. They were indignant at the people who were praising God and Jesus. And they were indignant at Jesus because of the many wondrous things he did there in the temple. But what was the basis of their indignation? Why were they indignant when it was clear that the work of God was being done in their midst? It was because they did not recognise Jesus as the Christ and Messiah. He was not the Messiah they wanted. They expected the Messiah to come in great power and glory and to be all that they thought he should be, not a man of the people. They were expecting a ruler, one of their own classes, not a teacher and healer. Their pre-conceived ideas and notions of what the Messiah was supposed to be meant they were unable to see the Messiah when he stood in the temple doing the works of God that no other man had ever done. So they refused to accept him and believe, and thus they missed out.

Jesus in the temple was the most natural thing that could have occurred. When Jesus was about twelve years of age and his family went up to Jerusalem, Jesus was found in the temple discussing things with the elders. When queried as to his whereabouts by his mother he said, “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49) So now as an adult when we see Jesus in the temple, he is simply going to his Father’s house again. He is taking his appointed place in his Father’s house to teach, heal and be with his people.

This provides a brief glimpse of what it will be like in the Lord’s Kingdom in the new heaven and earth. We see this description of what it will be like in Revelation 21:3-4, “…and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.”

When Jesus restored the temple to it’s correct functioning, this is what he was doing. This was a precursor to what it will be like in the New Jerusalem. God will be with his people as Jesus was with the people in the temple. God will wipe away every tear from his people’s eyes, as Jesus taught and helped his people who praised him in the temple. God will take away all sickness, mourning, crying and death, as Jesus healed all the infirmities of the people in the temple, and they did not mourn but sung perfect praise.

When Jesus came into the temple he restored things to how they should have been, albeit for a short time only. He gave us a glimpse of how things will be when he returns and all opposition is taken away. When God dwells with man after the last judgment it will be a time of great rejoicing. Peace and righteousness will reign and we will sing praises to God saying, “Hosanna to the King of Kings.”

Jesus Healing the Blind

(Matthew 20:29-34)

There are a number of examples of Jesus healing the blind in the New Testament. These can be looked at from several perspectives, both as a physical miracle and the spiritual analogy. However in this section we see an additional teaching. Here we see a perspective from the position of the blind person.

The analogy of Jesus healing the blind works two ways. He came so that the blind may see, not just physically, but spiritually. (John 9:39) To have your eyes opened spiritually means to be able to perceive and understand the truth of the New Covenant. Your eyes can only be opened if the Lord opens them. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in us. The Holy Spirit opens up the word of the gospel so that we can understand all of the gifts of God and receive those gifts.

In this section of scripture showing Jesus healing the blind we find something more. There is a lesson that the blind men here can teach us all. As Jesus left Jericho a great throng of people followed him. Two blind men were sitting by the side of the road and on finding that Jesus was passing by they called out to him. “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” (Verses 29-30) The crowd rebuked the men telling them to be silent, but they cried out all the more and did not heed the crowd.

Now here we see two things at work. The men were calling for the Lord to have mercy on them. They were asking for a healing so they could see. This is good and right to do for the Lord himself said, “Ask, and you shall receive.” (Matthew 7:7-8) Had they remained silent they would not have received their sight. What is more we see that the crowd stood opposed to them. They told the men not to cry out and rebuked them for their asking. Many times we will be in a position where we need to also go against the flow of the crowd. Many times going along with the crowd will not get us the things we need or want. The crowd mentality is not always right and people can get carried along with the crowd too easily. Today we hear often about the effects of peer group pressure, especially on the young. The need to conform to be socially acceptable amongst ones peers is a strong drive in many people. But to be a Christian we often have to step away from the crowd to seek the Lord. We often have to stand as an individual to have the Lord come to us as he did to these two blind men.

The two blind men ignored the crowd and continued to cry out to Jesus. Jesus heard their cries, stopped and called them over, asking, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Verse 32) Their continued crying to the Lord got his attention. They ignored the crowd and sought the Lord. If they had heeded the crowd and kept silent they would have never got the attention of the Lord and would never have been able to ask him what they wanted.

They answered the Lord saying, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” Jesus took pity on them and touching their eyes, he healed their blindness and the received their sight. (Verses 33-34)

There are several valuable lessons here for all of us.

First we must seek the Lord always. We must put our desires, requests, plans and issues to him.

Second, we should ignore the crowd who might say not to bother Jesus. Nothing is too much of an issue for the Lord and he cares about everything that affects us for he cares about us. Just because the crowd say something, and just because a lot of people believe a certain thing or a certain way does not make it right. For many years people (i.e. the crowd) believed the world was flat, they believed the earth was the centre of the solar system and all kinds of things we now know to be false. It is the same when we come to the Lord. The crowd is not always right so be prepared to stand as an individual to seek the truth from Jesus directly.

Third, we must not give up crying out to the Lord and seeking his answers. If we don’t get our response straightaway we should continue to ask, as the blind men continued to cry out to him. Had they remained silent they would not have received their sight. Likewise if we remain silent we cannot expect the Lord to give us what we need.

So we see that Jesus healing the blind has many applications and lessons for us. Let us take the example of these blind men and do likewise so that we too can receive our spiritual sight from the Lord.

Jesus Healing People

(Matthew 15:29-31)

Jesus healing people was a large part of why people followed him around. It would be no different today. When you consider the amount of sickness in the world today, and back in Jesus’ day, Jesus healing people was almost a full time job.

But the message he had to give was not just healing of the body. He also taught the people the good news of the New Covenant. There was a spiritual healing for the people too if they would listen and accept his word. That same offer of Jesus healing people spiritually is still available today. And the healing ministry along with all of the other miracles performed was done for the specific purpose of confirming the truth of the message. We see at the end of Mark that when the disciples were sent out to preach, there were miraculous signs performed to back up the message. The scripture says, “And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it.” (Mark 16:20)

Many people who first come to Christ do so when they have reached rock bottom. When they are completely down and out spiritually they begin to wonder if there is anything more to life, and start to seek in the spiritual dimension. Some go completely in the wrong direction and become spiritually ill, but those who seek the Lord find him or are found by him. When they come to the feet of Jesus in the spirit through prayer and repentance, they are healed as the people brought the sick and laid them at his feet for physical healing in this section of scripture. It says they brought the lame, the maimed, the blind, the dumb and many others and Jesus healed them all. None were missed. No sickness, deformity or issue was too hard or too great for him to overcome.

We see the people on seeing Jesus healing people were amazed and they were in wonder at the mighty power of God they were seeing in front of their eyes. They knew the source of this power for they glorified the God of Israel on seeing these miracles performed. And all the while Jesus continued to teach them the truth of the Kingdom of God.

Unfortunately many would reject his teachings at the time. The multitudes turned against him when he was brought before Pilate and put to death. But thereafter they recognised their error when Peter stood and preached to them on Pentecost day and they repented and turned once again to the Lord, this time for spiritual healing. Today this opportunity still exists to turn to Jesus for healing of the spirit. When we learn about the truth of the gospel, it is freedom and release that heals us in the spirit. In Jesus Christ we can find and receive his peace into our hearts and live in harmony with the Lord and one another.

The Hem of His Garment

(Matthew 14:34-36)

After Jesus had walked on the water with Peter and calmed the seas, they came to the other shore to land at Gennes’arat. On arriving the local people recognised Jesus and sent word to all in the region. People came from all around for healing and to merely touch the hem of his garment so they would be healed. And the healing power of Jesus was such that to merely touch the hem of his garment was sufficient, for as many as did touch the hem of his garment were made well.

Here we see that Jesus fame had spread throughout the land. Everywhere he went from here on there were crowds. They came to be healed, to see the mighty works and to hear the good news of the gospel of the Kingdom of God.

Jesus did not self promote to achieve such a presence in the land. There was no marketing, no hype, no trumpets or town criers going before him to announce his arrival. There was no You Tube or Facebook or Internet to spread the word of him in those days, but still his fame spread like wildfire. In fact in many of the healings Jesus specifically told the people to tell no one as we see in Mark 7:36, “And he charged them to tell no one; but the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it.” Despite telling the people to keep it quiet, the more they spread his fame.

It stands to reason that he would be seen for it is written elsewhere, “So also good deeds are conspicuous; and even when they are not, they cannot remain hidden.” (1 Timothy 5:25) And also, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid.” (Matthew 5:14) In this scripture Jesus was referring to the disciples and those who followed his word. If the disciples cannot be hidden, how much less the author of salvation, Jesus Christ himself?

The faith of the people had grown to such levels that we see them wish only to touch the hem of his garment and the believed they would be healed. And as many who did touch the hem of his garment were healed. In another section we see a woman with a flow of blood come to him and touch the hem of his garment without his knowledge and she too was healed. But Jesus was aware of the power going out to do the healing and when she realised she could not hide she confessed. Jesus made the comment for her to go in peace for, “Your faith has made you well.” (Luke 8:43-48)

The key to healing is faith. We see this also under the anointing with oil for healing. In James 5:14-15 we see this shown, “Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” In this case we see that it is a combination of faith. The sick person must have faith enough to call for the elders of the church to anoint and pray for him or her. And the elders must have faith that the anointing with oil and prayer to the Father, both in the name of the Lord Jesus will heal the sick person. Indeed our whole life in Christ is based on faith in Jesus and we live in him only by faith and the power of Jesus’ name.

Self Righteousness and Healing on the Sabbath

(Matthew 12:9-14)

By this time the Pharisees were seeking opportunity to condemn and destroy
Jesus. They were jealous of him and afraid of his power, for all the people
were following this new teaching and the Pharisees were losing their
authority and position over the people.

The problem the Pharisees had was they could find nothing on which to accuse
Jesus and prove him wrong. Here we see them ask him, “Is it lawful to heal
on the Sabbath?” (Vs. 10) They considered healing to be a form of work and
on the Sabbath no man was supposed to work. But they could not fault the
answer Jesus gave them. He said that if any of them had a sheep and it fell
in a pit on a Sabbath, would they not lay hold of it and lift it out? Of
course they would, for if they were to leave it in the pit until the Sabbath
ended, the sheep may die. To a man they would have removed the sheep from a
pit rather than see it harmed. And as Jesus pointed out, a man is of much
greater worth than a sheep.

Jesus showed that it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath. In the same way
that the Pharisees would not have allowed a sheep to suffer on the Sabbath,
why would they consider it a sin to allow a person with an infirmity or
sickness to be healed on the Sabbath? They were splitting hairs and being
contentious for the sake of their own evil ends. After Jesus had healed the
man the Pharisees went and took counsel how to destroy him.

The New Covenant came into being so that we could be set free from the law
of sin and death and have life. As Paul wrote, “For the law of the Spirit of
life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans
8:1) Paul also showed us that, “Christ is the end of the law, that everyone
who has faith may be justified.” (Romans 10:4) But the Pharisees were not
able to see the righteousness that came from God. Instead they were seeking
to establish a form of self-righteousness based on keeping the letter of the
law. Paul showed the folly of such an approach in Romans 10:3, “For, being
ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish
their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.”

Jesus was showing this same point to the Pharisees when he healed the sick
on the Sabbath. He said to the Pharisees earlier, “I desire mercy, and not
sacrifice,” (Matthew 12:7), but the Pharisees did not understand him. In
healing the sick he was showing mercy to the sick people. The Pharisees
would have made it hard for the man causing him to wait for another day to
be healed. They would have preferred he showed “sacrifice” by waiting in
pain for the sake of the law. They were legalistic to the extreme and could
not see that what God sought was for man to be merciful to his fellow man.

Jesus showed in another section the degree to which the Pharisees went and
failed in their self-righteous approach. In Matthew 23:23-24 we see these
words:

23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and
dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law,
justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without
neglecting the others.
24 You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!

The Pharisees and scribes went to extreme lengths to tithe tiny amounts of
their produce, even down to herbs grown possibly in a window garden or a
pot. But then, as we saw with the man with the withered hand, they neglect
the more important aspects of the law, justice, mercy and faith. Jesus then
shows us a comparison of how foolish they were.

Jesus compared tithing to a gnat, which is one of the smallest insects
known. If we had a drink and swallowed the gnat most people would not even
notice because gnats are so small. If a fly fell in most people would throw
out the drink and get another, or if they swallowed it would gag and cough.
This shows how small a gnat is in comparison to even a fly. But Jesus says
that the failure of the Pharisees was as if a camel fell in their drink and
they continued drinking and swallowed it.

Now a camel compared to a gnat is a huge comparison. A camel stands taller
than a full-grown man and can weigh up to 700 kg (1540 pounds). A gnat on
the other hand is so light you would not even feel it on you. In this
analogy, Jesus showed the difference in the importance of tithing as
compared to mercy, justice and faith. Tithing is insignificant compared to
these other matters. And yet the Pharisees thought that by their tithing
they were doing God’s will. This same issue rages still today with some
churches promoting the importance of tithing over many other matters of the
truth.

But self-righteousness through works of the law, which is the path the
Pharisees were following in their tithing, is no righteousness at all. The
only true righteousness that exists is given by God through faith in Jesus
Christ. To walk in God’s righteousness means to follow Jesus’ example. Do
good and show mercy when it is warranted, as he did to the sick man who was
healed on the Sabbath, for Jesus also showed, “The sabbath was made for man,
not man for the sabbath.” (Mark 2:27)

Your Faith has Made You Well

(Matthew 9:18-26)

At this point in the book of Matthew we begin to see Jesus teaching on the power of faith. In the next few scriptures Jesus performed several healings and miracles, and in each case pointed out that it was through the person’s faith that they were made well.

The first of these was when the woman suffering a haemorrhage came and touched the fringe of his garment. She believed and had faith that the power of Jesus was such that if she only touched him she would be made well. In another version of this section (Mark 5:25-34) we see that Jesus was not even aware who the woman was when she had touched his garment. He perceived that power had gone forth from him to do a healing, but did not know who it went forth to and asked, “Who touched me?” When the woman realised she could not hide she fell at his feet in fear and trembling, explaining her situation before him. Jesus again said, “Your faith has made you well,” showing that it was on the basis of her belief that she received this healing.

Likewise in this same scripture we see Jairus who was one of the rulers of the synagogue of the Jews who in desperation came to Jesus to heal his dying daughter. Now Jairus was taking quite a risk for the Jews had agreed that if anyone should confess that Jesus was the Christ they were to be put out of the synagogue (John 9:22). And yet here we see this ruler of the synagogue showing his faith in Jesus to be able to heal his daughter. It is evident from this and other scriptures that there were rulers of the synagogue who did believe Jesus in spite of the general opposition from the Pharisees and rulers (Note that Nicodemus in John 3:1-2 was also a ruler of the Jews and a Pharisee, but he too came to Jesus and confessed his faith to Jesus). Jairus’ daughter died and while others told him not to bother Jesus any further, Jesus said to Jairus to only have faith. When he had come to the house of Jairus he went into the girls room where she lay dead, and taking her hand he raised her back to life. Again this healing was performed because the father of the child had faith and called on the Lord to help.

Faith is fundamental to come to Jesus for anything, whether it be healing, learning or life. Without faith we cannot receive any of God’s gifts for they are all based upon faith. In order to receive anything from the Lord we must first believe and then go to him convinced that he can do what we desire. As it says in Hebrews 11:6, “Without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” If we do not believe, how can we receive? The whole of that chapter in Hebrews 11 is devoted to the many men and women of God who through faith in God did and received many wonderful things. Faith is the key to coming to God as it was truly said by Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:7 that we, “Walk by faith, not by sight”

Jesus’ Power to Forgive Sins

(Matthew 9:1-8)

In the previous chapter of Matthew we saw that Jesus showed he had the power over all physical ailments, demon possession and the elements of this world. Now we begin to see the spiritual power he has to enable us to conquer and overcome the passions and weaknesses in our lives.

In this first section of chapter nine we see that a paralytic is brought to Jesus for healing. Previously we saw Jesus heal the sick and lame and so there is no question that he would have the power from God to do this healing as well. But we see now that Jesus takes a different approach to this healing than he had previously.

Instead of just saying to the man, “Rise and walk,” Jesus says to him, “Your sins are forgiven.” This is an unusual statement given that the man has come to be healed. But the lesson here is quite profound. The scribes who were there at the time said that Jesus was blaspheming by saying that the mans sins are forgiven. Their position was that only God can forgive sins, and to a degree they were correct. But they still did not understand that Jesus is both the Son of God and he IS God. So when Jesus said, “Your sins are forgiven” he was within his rights to do so and was not blaspheming at all.

He then upbraided the scribes for thinking such evil of him. It is clear that no man on earth, and certainly not a sinner or blasphemer can say to a paralytic to rise and walk. Man does not have the spiritual authority let alone the healing power to do such a thing and the scribes as well as the people at the time knew this too. So Jesus used the power of healing in this case to prove that he had the authority to forgive sin. He said to them, “Which is easier, to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk?'” (vs.5) He knew that they knew no man could say to a paralytic “Rise and walk” and see the man healed. So using this knowledge he then said to them, “But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins” — he then said to the paralytic — “Rise, take up your bed and go home.” And the man rose and went home, fully healed of the paralysis that had kept him bedridden.

The healing was done in this case to prove to the people that Jesus could forgive sins. The healing was not for the sake of the healing alone, but to prove Jesus had AUTHORITY to forgive sins. The testimony of John the Baptist when he bore witness to Jesus was, “”Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) And in this section of Matthew we see Jesus proving he had the authority to do exactly that. In this healing he showed he could and would be able to take away the sins of mankind. This is an important point for without the removal of sin we cannot enter the Kingdom of God. No sinner will enter God’s Kingdom, but in Jesus our sins can be taken away for he has both the power and authority to do so. This matter will be discussed in greater detail in future posts or can be studied further on the website www.freegiftfromgod.com.

The Power of Jesus Conquers All Things

(Matthew 8:28-34)

When Jesus took a boat across the water he came to the district of the Gadarenes where he met the demoniacs living amongst the tombs. When these demoniacs saw him it is evident that the demons in the two men recognised who Jesus was and understood his power over them, for they were subject to him.

There were many demons afflicting these men. In the other gospel versions of this section the demons called themselves “Legion” indicating not so much a name but a number. The structure of the ancient Roman army was made up of a number of legions of soldiers. A legion was essentially a complete army which included cooks, armour bearers, smiths and tradesmen to maintain and repair equipment as well as soldiers. It was effectively and army in its own right along with all the necessary service and support personnel necessary to wage war. Typically a legion comprised of up to about six thousand men. So when the demons possessing the men Jesus met called themselves “Legion” they were most likely referring to the number of demons possessing the men, which may have been as many as six thousand evil spirits.

These demons recognised Jesus as the Son of God and were afraid. It is evident also from other scriptures that when a demon is cast out of a man it is most unpleasant for them. Matthew 12:43 says, “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he passes through waterless places seeking rest…” So when the demon is cast out it is like wandering through a hot, dry and hostile desert for them and they suffer much torment as a result.

Now the demons in this case, having been commanded to depart from the men, did not wish to be tormented and so they begged Jesus to be allowed to enter the herd of swine. Jesus gave them leave to do so, but their wish was short-lived as the herd immediately rushed down to the sea and drowned and the demons would have to wander the waterless places anyway.

James wrote in his epistle that, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe–and shudder.” (James 2:19) We see here in Matthew that they had good reason to believe and shudder for they knew they would receive no mercy for their evil ways and would be cast into a place of despair. Nor should they receive mercy as in this case they had tormented these men they possessed and caused them much suffering and harm. The end judgement of these demons was a just punishment for their actions.

The last few verses are interesting too. The people who came out to see him from the town nearby were greatly afraid at what they heard and saw. They were so afraid that they asked him to go away. Jesus did not attempt to force himself on them and nor does he force himself on anyone today. He did as they asked and got into the boat and left. It is interesting that even though a great sign had been performed among them, they did not want any part of what he was doing. There are many people today who say, “Show me a sign and then I’ll believe.” In reality if the do not believe without the sign, the sign may not make much impact. Jesus showed this same principle in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). For after the rich man died and went to Hades he asked that Lazarus be sent back to warn his brothers. But he was told that the brothers had the teachings of Moses and the prophets that they needed to listen to. But the rich man said, “…if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.'” Then he was told that, “‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.'”

A miracle means nothing to one who has no belief. The miracles Jesus did confirmed the truth of the message he taught, but it is the message that is most important, not the miracle. We must listen to the message and not get dazzled by the miracle for the message of Christ is what will lead us to life.

In the whole of Matthew chapter 8 we see that Jesus has power over all things. He healed the sick, calmed the storms and cast out demons all to show that his is the power from God. We who believe in him should take comfort from the knowledge that he cares for and protects us. And he also showed that no issue was too small or too great for him to handle if we only have faith and believe in Jesus.

The Unlimited Healing Power of Jesus

(Matthew 8:14-17)

In first part of this section (vs.14-15) Jesus goes to Peter’s house and seeing Peter’s mother-in-law lying sick with a fever he heals her. There are a couple of interesting points here in this small section. Firstly this woman was Peter’s mother-in-law which shows that he had a wife and thus was married. This was further indicated by Paul who likewise showed that Peter was married in 1 Corinthians 9:5. Some have thought that Peter was celibate but this was clearly not the case.

The second thing we see in this small section is that Peter’s mother-in-law had a fever. Most fevers are associated with infection of some kind and usually not too much to worry about. We don’t know how serious this fever was or the underlying condition causing the fever. It may well have been associated with something quite minor such as a common cold or could have been something more serious. The point here though is that if this was a minor condition it shows that Jesus was concerned not with just major health issues, which were the “big” miracles, but he was also concerned with the small infirmities as well. God is not just God of the big stuff but of the small stuff too. And there is no problem too large or too small that we cannot take to him, even a minor fever from the common cold.

In the next verse (vs. 16) we see many people were brought to him for healing and to have demons exorcised and he healed all of these people. There were no questions, no requirements to be healed, no offerings given or requested. It was a matter as simple as, they came, they were sick and he healed them. All who came were healed. None were too difficult and no case was a bother to him.

Matthew then wrote in the final verse in this section (vs. 17) that Jesus was fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah who said, “He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.” So we see from this and my previous posts that there were many purposes to these miracles and healings. They were a sign to confirm the message he preached, they were to fulfil Old Testament prophecies and of course they were to show the power of God.

Why Jesus Healed the Sick

(Matthew 8:1-13)
 
(At the end of chapter seven of Matthew we see Jesus finishes his sermon on the mount. The people having heard his words were astonished at his teachings for he taught as one who had authority. He spoke powerfully and boldly to the people all the words of life and what would be the keys to entry into God’s kingdom.
 
(Then as evidence of this authority he had, he confirmed all of the words through the acts that he did. This is one of the reasons he did many of the miracles including healing the sick and infirm. We see over in Mark 16:20 saying, “And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it.” The signs the disciples were given to practice included healing the sick and the purpose of these signs was to back up the ministry. Likewise when Jesus preached, his ministry and words were confirmed by the signs. No man could do the miracles he did unless the power of God was with him to do it, and so it was evidence that the words He spoke were the words of God.
 
(Now after finishing the sermon on the mount Jesus went forth and healed many who were ill which confirmed the message he had just given. But there are other teachings in this message as well. We see in the first section of Matthew 8:1-5 where Jesus cleansed the leper. Under the Mosaic law there were explicit teachings as to what needed to be done if ever a leper were cured of leprosy. There were offerings to be made over a period of time and they needed to be pronounced cleansed by the priests at the temple and various other practices. At the time of Jesus there was no New Covenant in effect because it did not commence until Jesus died, so the people were still under the law. Also Jesus could not be seen to be breaking the law and he would not, for he came to fulfil the law and the prophets (Matthew 5:17). So in accordance with the law he instructed the leper now healed to go and make the offerings and show himself to the priests in accordance with the ordinances on the cleansing of leprosy.
 
(Jesus was not making a great song and dance about this healing either. He was not doing the healings so that people would come to him and look upon how great and marvellous he was. On the contrary he typically told the people who were healed not to tell anyone but go and do as he instructed them. The point of the healings was not personal edification or gain but to confirm the message of the Kingdom of God.
 
(We then see a second healing in this section on the servant of a centurion in Matthew 8:5-13. This healing is different in several ways. Firstly, Jesus was prepared to go to the sick man and heal him, but the centurion said it was unnecessary to do that. The centurion recognised the power of Jesus and that if he would just say the word it would be done. He knew that the power of God was everywhere and that it did not require the Lord to be physically present for his healing power to go forth. Jesus marvelled at this centurion for Jesus saw that the man’s faith was great. This man had an understanding that many others did not. He had faith and so the Lord did the healing as the man requested and his servant was healed instantly.
 
(Although there were many healings done by Jesus and many miraculous things occurred, they were done for a purpose. They showed the power of God and were a wonder and blessing to those who received them, but the main purpose of the healings was to back up the words that Jesus spoke. It is the ministry that is important for the ministry and teachings are what will lead a person to life. Eventually all of the miracles will cease for they will not be required. In God’s kingdom there will be no sickness or death and so healings will not be needed. But the teachings of life are eternal. It is these that are more important and must be noted.
 
(Some Christians and some churches today are seeking miracles once again. It is more important to seek the kingdom. We should rather seek the truth and find the faith that will lead us into the kingdom of God as this is everlasting. Miracles and healings are temporary and of this world only, but the truth lasts forever. Focus on finding the truth that leads to God through Jesus Christ instead.