Matthew 8 records amazing accounts of healings done by Jesus. Here are a few. He heals a leprous person (8:1-4); Jesus heals a soldier’s servant by merely speaking a word from a distance (8:5-13). He heals Peter’s mom-in-law and many people who had demons. He ordered the demons to leave and he healed all the sick (8:14-17). This is followed by his healing of nature. He calms a storm (8:23-27), a prelude to nature’s redemption. He also heals two men who had demons in them. The demons begged Jesus that he sent them to possess the pigs, instead of being sent to their final destiny (8:28-34). For some reasons, only He knows, he listened to them.
These healings continue in the next chapter. Jesus also heals a paralyzed man. This is the same story quoted in Mark 2. Some men cut through Jesus’ rooftop to bring their friend to Jesus. Jesus saw their faith so he healed him physically and spiritually. That is just incredible. In the middle of the chapter, Matthew presents Jesus healing a haemorrhaging woman while on his way to raise a dead girl back to life!
What do these healings show? Matthew says these healings fulfil a prophecy made by Isaiah, “He took our suffering on him and carried our diseases” (Matthew 8:17). These healings and exorcisms and resurrections point to God’s future sickness-death-demon free world.
I spent a great deal studying this passage for my dissertation decades ago. Advocates of healing for all in the atonement use this Scripture to assert that if one has faith, every sick person should be healed now for Jesus has already suffered for our sicknesses. That is not the point God is making here.
The point being made concerns God’s rule. Where he rules conditions brought by sin are reversed. One day, the last condition, that is, death will be removed. These healings, therefore, prove the presence of God’s kingdom working in these conditions. These are also promises of the complete healing that is yet to come.
So how will God bring this reversal? Matthew’s quote of Isaiah 53 tells us that the future redemption will take place because of Jesus’ substitutionary sacrifice on the cross.
Earlier, I was just told that one of our church members died. Last week, I spoke at two funeral services, one of them is a very dear friend.
For many, they would avoid talks about sickness, death, sufferings and funerals. They’re taboo topics. But for anyone who understands the gospel, these topics affirm our faith. Funeral services remind us that while death is a terrible enemy, it is a defeated enemy. Death has lost its power to keep us from God and his gift of life. Sickness and death are sober reminders from our loving Father that earthly life is short and fleeting. These remind us of the healing that has already begun but its completion is yet future. We are headed towards our new home where sickness and death are gone completely.
Thank you, Jesus, for taking our place on the cross.