Matthew 14:34-36; Mark 6:53-56
The Great Physician, Now and Always
Here is a short passage summarizing this part of our Lord’s ministry in Galilee. Was it weeks or months? We don’t know, and we don’t need to know. Were it necessary for us to know the details of this particular tour in Galilee, the Lord, no doubt, would have provided us with them. This reminds us of what John wrote: “These [things] are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (20:31). And the same writer in another place: “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (21:25). This is all to say that Scripture does not exist to provide us with information for our amusement, but to show us the way of salvation. We are simply given a snapshot in this passage of our Lord’s endless compassion, mercy, and sympathy for those in need. Indeed, in this particular case, our Lord’s healing of others seems quite, well, promiscuous; that is, everyone who wanted to be healed was healed, even if they only touched the fringe of his garment. And as with the poor woman who came up from behind and touched Jesus’ clothing, power was going forth from him to heal. Such was and is the authority and power of our Lord over sickness, disease, sin, and death.
This may lead to the question as to why we do not see such miracles today. And when I say, “miracles,” I mean of the truly extraordinary sort, not the gradual healing we receive of sickness – which we certainly credit to our Lord, though it be through doctors as His agents. And I certainly don’t want to say that God does not heal miraculously today, as if He were on vacation. We do hear such stories, especially on the mission field. But we don’t generally see the signs that the early church saw our Lord do or his apostles afterwards. And many people have fallen by running off with cults which claim to be able to do such things. The answer I think lies in the last verse of Mark: “And [the disciples] went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.” That is, the miracles were “signs” which “confirmed” the message of the gospel which the apostles preached – which is all to say that the word has been confirmed, and that once for all. Now abideth faith, hope, and love, many wonderful and useful gifts such as administration, encouragement, and others, and the gifts which belong to office, such as pastor and deacon. Yes, God still heals, God still speaks, but does so through His Spirit and His word, which we now have in the God-breathed Scriptures. God be praised.