When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him. When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all who were ill. This was to fulfil what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: ‘He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.’
Matthew 8:14-17 (NIV)
Read: Matthew 8
Consider: An aspect of Jesus’s ministry that catches the attention of anyone reading the gospels is the miracles that he did. We must remember that Jesus did not work miracles for show, or to draw attention to himself. While Jesus showed compassion to those he healed, the miracles were essentially evidence of his identity – the Son of God.
The miracle of healing Peter’s mother-in-law is recorded in three gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) and in each case is linked to general healing of the sick and driving out demons. However, only Matthew links these miracles to a specific prophecy from Isaiah. Matthew (8:17) quotes from within the Suffering Servant narrative – Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering (Isaiah 53:4). While Matthew links Isaiah 53:4 to physical healing, Peter (in 1 Peter 2:24-25) links a longer quote from Isaiah to Jesus bearing our sins. We can, of course, look at healing from both these perspectives – physical and spiritual, and Jesus often links physical healing with forgiveness of sins.
The healing of Bartimaeus recorded in Mark 10:46-52 contains an unusual exchange between Jesus and the blind man. In verse 51 it says: ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ Jesus asked him. The blind man said, ‘Rabbi, I want to see.’ Have you ever thought why Jesus would ask a blind man what he wanted from him? Surely it is obvious that he would want to see! Most commentators take the view that Jesus wanted Bartimaeus to express his need verbally and to reveal his faith in Jesus as his healer. Others see Jesus’ question revealing that he was more concerned about Bartimaeus’ spiritual condition (spiritual blindness), while Bartimaeus’ reply reveals his focus on his own physical infirmity. Whatever the reason, Jesus had compassion on him and healed his blindness. Notice from the text in Mark that after Bartimaeus was healed we are told that he ‘followed Jesus along the road’ (10:52). Unfortunately we don’t know if Bartimaeus continued to follow Jesus.
It is always important for us to remember that the major need Jesus came to meet is our estrangement from God, as a result of sin. While we might wish to focus our attention on physical healing, God knows that spiritual healing is more important.
Pray: Father, we thank you that Jesus died to free us and heal us from the consequences of sin. May we trust in your Son, Jesus Christ, at all times and follow him only. Amen