After my series on the parables, I found I was drawn to look into the miracles of Jesus in the Gospels. I have never studies the mighty works of Jesus as a focused effort before and am looking forward to finding nuggets of truth that we can be encouraged by.
I have provided a general introduction, with an opportunity to download two files for your reference in my initial post Signs and Mighty Works of Jesus – Introduction. I found that the format I used for the parable posts were useful to keep me on track, and will continue to use them for this series, with some minor tweaks. With that said, let’s take a look at
Jesus Heals Many Sick at Evening
That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.”
That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to him, and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them. And demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.
Now, in the previous post, we spoke of Jesus performing the miracle of Peter’s mother-in-law being healed, and how the audience was small, and of the closest friends to the Messiah. We made comment that God is God no matter who is watching, and that His purpose in displaying power over sickness is not always for the masses. He sometimes works in quiet.
If the intent of the previous mighty work was to simply heal his disciples mother, the effect seems to be that attention was drawn to Him no matter!
Questions to Consider
Who were the audience?
Two categories of people were brought to Jesus at sundown. The sick and the oppressed/possessed of demons. Although this is not be the first time we have come across in the gospels the existence of demons, this particular instance speaks of “many who were oppressed of demons”.
This audience was massive in relation to previous instances of Jesus’ mighty works. Mark 1:33 speaks of the whole city of Capernaum gathered at the door. Obviously not everyone was sick or demon possessed, but the spectacle of a miracle working Rabbi brought everyone out!
And the whole city was gathered together at the door. Mark 1:33
It is estimated that Capernaum had about 1,500 people residing in the city. The wedding at Cana may have had numerous guests (but few witnesses – see Signs and Mighty Works of Jesus #1 – Jesus Turns Water into Wine), but with this mighty work, many in the audience were intimately affected by the Messiah through His healing ministry.
When did the Lord perform this mighty work?
Where did the Lord perform this mighty work?
Check out the download file provided in the introduction to this series. Signs and Mighty Works of Jesus – Introduction
Why did the Lord provide this mighty work?
Matthew provides a reason. The healing ministry of the Lord, during the night of mighty works, was to fulfill prophecy.
This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.” Matthew 8:17
What prophecy? What prophecy is the apostle directing us to, that Jesus fulfilled on this night of mighty works?
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows – Isaiah 53:4a
For Matthew to assign the night of mighty works performed by the Messiah as to fulfilling this prophecy is totally unexpected. When I read the 53rd chapter of Isaiah, I think crucifixion, not a single night in Capernaum. And yet Matthew associates Isaiah 53:4 with physical healing and casting out demons.
Of course, this Old Testament passage is also applied to the crucifixion by Peter in his second epistle
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 2 Peter 2:24
So, if this prophecy is fulfilled during the night of miracles, how is Matthew wanting us to understand this? May I suggest one intent of Matthew was to inform of how the miracles were performed. The passage Matthew quotes here speaks of Jesus taking our illness and baring our diseases.
Notice that both verbs have the general sense of accepting something from someone, of receiving something from someone, of carrying a burden for someone. It is not my understanding that during this night of miracles, the Lord simply deleted demons and illness. In relation to the demons, the passages speak of them being cast out. The healing of the sick is another matter, if only in my understanding.
At this point I am simply riffing, that is, supposing a thought. Was it that the goodness of God, the life resident in the Messiah, would simply overpower the physical sickness of the “patient”? Or was it that the Lord Himself “exchanged” the sickness with His health? Questions of the curious I suppose. No matter, for in the grand scheme of things, Jesus declared His identification with the Messiah found in Isaiah 53, through this night of mighty works in a little city on the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee.
Jesus, healed and casted our demons, from residents of a city that would end up faithless towards Him.
And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. – Mathew 11:23
Why did Jesus chose to heal so many in a city that ultimately would reject Him?
What was the message for the original audience?
For the one receiving the miracle
The message was that Jesus was a miracle working rabbi, that healing and casting out of demons was not beyond this One who travelled the area. Each of the recipients of a healing, would have an experience, face to face with the Messiah, an experience that should have drawn them to the Messiah, caused them to have a desire to know His message, to know Him. And yet, I can’t get away from the fact that this city ended up in greater danger of judgement than Sodom and Gomorrah.
For the Jewish leadership
None of the passages speak of the Jewish leadership, but as we will find out as we venture through these mighty works, Jesus’ displays of power over nature were not welcomed by the rulers.
For the disciples
The message for the disciples is not explicitly referred to in the passages, yet I can’t help to assume that this extended concentrated healing ministry of the Lord would have caused more questions than answers.
When will He stop? Why is He taking in so many? How can He do this? Will this healing ministry eventually heal everyone? Is Jesus going to reign over a nation of completely healthy people? (Will doctors be put out of work?)
What is the message for us today?
Hind sight is 20/20. As we watch the Messiah walk His ministry, we find that the miracles were intended to reveal His person, the God-man. Physical healing and the casting out of demons during the Master’s time of earth primarily were works that revealed His arrival, of the Kingdom of God arriving, and that the Greater King David was on the scene.
Can we as believers, by faith, demand healings of multitudes? Will not mass healings exhibit His personhood even today? Of course , this is not the history of the body of Christ. Healings may occur, (through the mercy of God), yet it is often in sickness and grief we sense God’s loving care, and realize that no matter how God deals with us, He is good, He is able and He is wise.
Some may teach that healings of this nature are the natural outcome of being a believer, that is, we also have authority over sickness. This seems to be emphasized in the “ministries” of faith healers, touting their message to the weak and infirmed. Personally, I believe many of the current “healing ministries” I have looked into reek of greed and avarice, and bring much disgrace to the body of Christ
Have you a ministry of healing? Have you, through prayer and fasting, brought health to the sick, or casted out a demon? I would appreciate if you tell your story in the comments below. Although I struggle with healing ministries, I am open to being corrected, through your personal story and the witness of the Word of God.
Thanks again for joining me as we venture through Jesus Mighty Works!
Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.