Jesus saw the huge crowd as He stepped from the boat, and He had compassion on them and healed their sick. (Matthew 14:14 NLT)
On Sunday (service available online), we explored a few of the miracles Jesus performed while walking the face of the earth. Francis Chan challenged us to expand our view of God, letting Him get bigger that He's been before. I pointed out that we often read Scripture as quaint little stories, so we end up believing in a quaint little god.
Notice the last three words of the verse I quoted above: "healed their sick." What do you think that would have been like to live through at the time? What, did he give them cold medicine and flu shots? What kind of sick did he heal? How did he heal them?
I did a quick search of the word "heal" in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) and found over 100 verses with that word in it. Here are some examples from Matthew alone:
Jesus traveled throughout the region of Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And He healed every kind of disease and illness. News about Him spread as far as Syria, and people soon began bringing to Him all who were sick. And whatever their sickness or disease, or if they were demon possessed or epileptic or paralyzed—He healed them all. (Matthew 4:23-24 NLT)
Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached Him and knelt before Him. "Lord," the man said, "if You are willing, You can heal me and make me clean." Jesus reached out and touched him. "I am willing," He said. "Be healed!" And instantly the leprosy disappeared. (Matthew 8:2-3 NLT)
"Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain." Jesus said, "I will come and heal him." But the officer said, "Lord, I am not worthy to have You come into my home. Just say the word from where You are, and my servant will be healed. Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, "Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened." And the young servant was healed that same hour. (Matthew 8:6-8, 13 NLT)
When Jesus arrived at Peter's house, Peter's mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. But when Jesus touched her hand, the fever left her. Then she got up and prepared a meal for Him. That evening many demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. He cast out the evil spirits with a simple command, and He healed all the sick. (Matthew 8:14-16 NLT)
The book of Matthew alone has many, many more examples of Jesus healing the sick as a part of his ministry. Do you believe that he healed all these sick people, or do you just think that's crazy? Your answer to this question will give you a clue as to the size of your God.
Maybe you struggle because these stories tell of God healing the sick, but you, a friend, or a family member fell sick and God did not heal him or her. That's because miraculous healing was not the point back then. The miraculous healings in Scripture took place to get our attention and point us to God.
This fulfilled the word of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah, who said, "He took our sicknesses and removed our diseases." (Matthew 8:17 NLT)
Jesus performed miracles - specifically the miracles of healing the sick - to fulfill prophecies about the Messiah. He did it so people would know he was the one they were waiting for, looking for, and in whom they could believe. Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, and came to bring salvation to you and me. His miracles of healing were one way to get our attention and prove that he was who he claimed to be.