16 When 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. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

"He took up our infirmities
and carried our diseases."

Matt 8:16-17 (NIV)

“I will sing of my Redeemer, And His wondrous love to me. On the cruel cross He suffered, From the curse to set me free. I will tell the wondrous story, How my lost estate to save, In His boundless love and mercy He the ransom freely gave. I will praise my dear Redeemer; his triumphant power I’ll tell, How the victory He giveth Over sin and death and hell. Sing, oh sing, of my Redeemer. With His blood He purchased me. On the cross He sealed my pardon, paid the debt and made me free.” Philip Bliss

The worst form of human suffering produced by Satan’s agency our Lord here, in our verses for today, heals with but His Word. Of course He did. No surprises here. Scripture tells us His Word heals:

19 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. 20 He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. Psalms 107:19-20 (NIV)

“Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.” Thomas V. Moore

At the time of Christ’s coming into the world there appears to have been more of an outpouring of the devil to vex and harm the bodies of people. Perhaps God had wisely allowed this so that Christ’s power could be demonstrated over the power of Satan and hearts would turn back to Him.

“The devil wrestles with God, and the field of battle is the human heart.” Fyodor Dostoevsky

Interestingly and sadly, rather than turning to God – the all sufficient One - for healing – spiritually and physically - many then and now refuse to repent (turn), choosing rather to foolishly rely on the powerless arms of flesh or the fruitless and empty boastful claims of the world. This is exactly what the Israelites did when they turned their eyes from God - Who had established and sustained them – back to the land that had held them in bondage. Rather than trusting in Him, they lusted for and longed after Egypt even after He had removed them from that severe and dreadful state. We are such stupid sheep. Some things just never change. God tells us in Hosea:

2 But the more I called Israel, the further they went from me. They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images. 3 It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them. 4 I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them. Hosea 11:2-4 (NIV)

Next, Matthew quotes from the Prophet Isaiah regarding our Lord Jesus:

4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. Isaiah 53:4 (NIV)

Jesus came to bear the consequences of our sin and rebellion. His miraculous healings of man’s physical infirmities during His earthly ministry pointed to the greater work He would accomplish on the cross in the healing of our spiritual ones. Peter tells us:

24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. 1 Peter 2:24-25 (NIV)

“Christ bore away sin by the merit of his death, and bore away sickness by the miracles of his life. Many are the diseases and calamities to which we are liable in the body; and there is more, in this one line of the gospels, to support and comfort us under them, than in all the writings of the philosophers. He bore them for us in his passion, and bears them with us in compassion, being touched with the feeling of our infirmities: and thus he bears them off from us.” Matthew Henry

What I Glean

  • Jesus heals with but a Word.
  • I am to fix my eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of my faith. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Heb 12:1-3 (NIV)
  • Jesus takes up my infirmities and carries my sorrows – He is my Burden Bearer.