GROWTH AND SUCCESS IN LIFE – Lessons Learned at the Feet of Jesus
Jesus now transitions from His Sermon on the Mount, with all the directions, exposure of the Counterfeit and their destruction, and commendation of the life of disciples who have chosen the narrow way, and life which is eternal in its promise and joy. Now, Jesus moves from this venue to traveling through the country and communities in Galilee. The focus moves to his ability to heal the sick, and how it instructs us about faith in the Kingdom. We now see the twin themes of healing – physical and spiritual – from Jesus and from Isaiah the prophet.
Matthew 8:14-17 14When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. 15He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him. 16When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.”1. Physical Healing and Lessons Learned. Jesus now enters his three years of life leading to the cross, demonstrating His Person and authority as One who is and speaks for God. Remember Matt 7:29? “…the crowds were amazed because He taught as one who had authority…” Certainly to those near to him – Peter, Andrew – these acts of physical restoration were a comfort, the ability to case out spirits, …and healed all the sick. But this was a foundation, a platform, a introduction into the greater healing of Jesus.
2. Spiritual Healings and Redemption Promised. Using the prophet Isaiah as the textual launching pad, Matthew ties Jesus’ physical healing to the promised redemption. In the famous section in Isaiah, bore our sins and made intercession for the transgressors (Isa 53:12). In that context, the context of bearing our infirmities, carrying our diseases, Matthew links his physical healing to the message of spiritual healing which is to come.What a comfort this must have been, as the disciples put these twin themes together – the power and authority of God in Jesus now provides a temporary respite to illness and disease, which is a precursor and forbearing of the work to come – the redemption work of the cross and the suffering of Jesus as the promised Messiah.
No wonder to those followers who understood – they followed Him with reverence and worship. Note: Best understood by the women who followed, the 12 disciples were confused up to the hill Golgotha and the cross.
Isaiah 53:4-9 4Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. 9He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
We now have the benefit of the whole of Scripture. The final story seen not in the life of Jesus, but in His death and resurrection, and the affirmation in the New Testament. How can we see this picture and not drop to our knees again in worship and gratitude? I hope this message encourages you as it does me. Next week – the cost of discipleship and following Jesus. Stay well.
— John Moore