Matthew 8:14-17; Mark 1:29-34; Luke 4:38-41
He Took Our Illnesses and Bore Our Diseases
We now enter upon that time in Jesus’ ministry which was marked by much activity – healing and casting out demons, but always, most important, preaching the kingdom of God. After healing the demoniac we discussed yesterday, both Mark and Luke report that “at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee” (Mark 1:28; Luke 4:37; also see Matthew 4:23-25).
But the next healing miracle the gospels cover after the demoniac is a fever that Peter’s mother-in-law had. The report in each of the gospels is quite simple: they inform Jesus about her condition, he takes her by the hand, and the fever leaves her. Luke adds that he “rebuked” the fever. This teaches us that not all of Jesus’ miracles were dramatic; indeed, it seems Jesus did not want them to be. When the demons cried out, he shushed them. Jesus’ miracles always have a dignity about them that lends credence to their integrity. Jesus did not seek the limelight; he did seek to minister, however. Another point I wish to make about this passage is what Peter’s mother-in-law did after she was healed. All three gospels report that “she began to serve them.” (Matthew says that she began to serve “him,” meaning Jesus.) Luke even adds that she did so “immediately.” This should be instructive for us. When the Lord blesses us, we are not called to bask in the glow of that blessing, but to bless others. In other words, our Lord blesses us that we may be a blessing to others. This usually takes the form of some service done in the name of Christ. Please remember that last part. If we don’t let the person receiving our service know in some way that we are Christians and doing service in his name, then they will not bless the Lord on our behalf but bless us. We take the glory – and we don’t want to do that.
The rest of the passage relates how people came to him from all over even at sunset, the sick and demon-possessed, and he healed them all. Indeed, Jesus never seemed to tire. And Matthew gives us the reason: “This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, ‘He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.’” This is from Isaiah 53:4, a passage normally read in churches on Good Friday about our Lord’s passion. But here, it is used in relation to his healing of our illnesses and diseases; indeed, not just that he healed us of them, but bore them or carried them. We usually think of Jesus’ bearing our sins, not our illnesses. But this passage includes our infirmities in his bearing of us. You see, Jesus bore everything about us throughout his entire life and ministry. Remember, he bore everything for us.