Today: [Matthew 9] Jesus Heals ALL and EVERY! In chapter 9 of Matthew we see the healing ministry of Jesus ramping up to white hot intensity. The crowds are coming, and masses are being healed, demons cast out, and the dead raised. We can look into this narrative and find hope for us today that what they experienced is available to us if we choose to believe the testimony of scripture as our hope and expectation from God.
[Mat 9:1-38 KJV] 1 And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. 2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. 3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This [man] blasphemeth. 4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? 5 For whether is easier, to say, [Thy] sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? 6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. 7 And he arose, and departed to his house. 8 But when the multitudes saw [it], they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men. 9 And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him. 10 And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw [it], they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? 12 But when Jesus heard [that], he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 13 But go ye and learn what [that] meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. 14 Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? 15 And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast. 16 No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. 17 Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.
After being rejected in the land of the Gergesenes, Jesus promptly enters a ship and passes over into His own city. Where was this? The country of the Gergesenes is thought to correspond to the village of Khersa near the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. The reference to His home area or His own city would have been Capernaum. Upon arrival there a group of men brought Jesus a paralytic. Verse 2 says that “seeing their faith” Jesus said to the sick man “thy sins be forgiven thee…”
Apparently, the condition of the man connected in Jesus’ thinking with the sin condition. It is as though Jesus considered them one and the same. This is interesting because that is not how redemption is understood by Christianity today. Healing of sickness is one thing and forgiveness of sins is another, in the view of modern scholarship, even among those denominations such as the Assemblies of God and the Church of God. The theological question they are reticent to answer is this: is healing part of the atoning work of Christ? To Jesus, in chapter 9 of Matthew it is obvious to the point of being indisputable that He considered healing and forgiveness of sins as one and the same thing. Why don’t Christians believe this today?
The cessationist denominations such as the Southern Baptist Convention, certainly believe that Jesus saves today all those who come to Him in repentance and contrition, accepting Christ as their savior. Yet they firmly believe and teach that miracles, gifts of healing, etc., passed away and ceased totally after the first century from the resurrection. Why is that? How is it that Jesus, purposefully connected His miraculous healing of the paralytic with healing, in effect making healing synonymous with forgiveness of sins, yet the most conservative, staunch theological organizations today have taught millions for decades that these are two indisputably distinct things. To them, healing is one thing and forgiveness of sins is another. If they are correct that healing is no longer available, and if Jesus is correct that healing and forgiveness of sins are inseparable, then we can only conclude sins healing is allegedly no longer part of what we can believe for (having ceased centuries ago) then we must then believe that forgiveness of sins passed away as well, if the Baptists are correct in believing as they do that God doesn’t heal anymore.
Renewalist (full gospel, Charismatic, Pentecostal) organizations will object that healing is still available today. They reject the cessationist doctrines that signs, miracles and wonders have ceased. To them, God still heals today, but in their doctrine they claim that God doesn’t always heal. They teach that it is not always God’s will to heal, but they teach as well that it is ALWAYS His will to forgive sins. Is this true? If these denominations are correct that God only randomly heals some, but chooses in His infinite wisdom to leave others in sickness and affliction, AND if Jesus is correct that healing is one another same as forgiveness of sins then we could only conclude that if God only randomly heals, then He only randomly saves whether we ask for forgiveness or not. This is preposterous.
It is true that all do not receive healing. This was true in Jesus’ day as well. The gospel clearly tells us that some did not receive healing – but the reason listed is because of their unbelief. That is the ONLY reason ever given in the gospels for why someone doesn’t receive healing. We may not like that, and we may vigorously come up with theological gymnastics and scripture wrangling to assert otherwise but the testimony of scripture is clear. Jesus healed ALL when faith was resident and present to accommodate that happening. Healing IS part of the atoning work of Calvary. If it is Jesus’ will to ALWAYS forgive sin then it is likewise true that it is His will to ALWAYS heal. To believe otherwise is to leave the door open to no miracles, no signs, no healing and that very likely explains why our generation see so few unimpeachable miracles.
In verse 14 Jesus addresses the issue of fasting. The disciples of John challenged Jesus as to why they were fasting often, but Jesus followers were not fasting at all. Why would they ask that? Because misery loves company! It isn’t fun to fast. When the disciples of John were fasting till their pants fell off, and they saw Jesus feasting with His followers, they thought “that’s not fair!” and asked the question. The disciples of John were operating under an Old Covenant paradigm. Jesus makes the statement that while the bridegroom (who is Jesus Himself) was with them, fasting was not necessary. He goes on however to say when the bridegroom would be taken away, then the disciples of Jesus would fast.
Let me ask you a question: Is the bridegroom with us? Is Jesus in your heart? Is He in your heart more fully than He was in the hearts of the disciples of John? These men, though followers of John the Baptist, were not born again. Christ did not dwell in their hearts by faith. That is also true of the disciples following Jesus at the time He made these remarks, BUT He was with them in His physical body therefore, in His view fasting was not incumbent upon them. What about now? Since we do not have Jesus’ physically with us, are we at a disadvantage, and therefore should be fasting? Most would say, yes we must fast for Jesus is not with us as He was with the disciples at the time He made these remarks. However, Jesus later taught the following:
[Jhn 16:7 KJV] 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
Notice what Jesus says: it is expedient (better) for you that He would go away, suggesting that we are better off with the Holy Spirit IN US, then we would be if Jesus was walking physically among us. If that is true then the bridegroom IS with us, in a capacity such as and in fact superior to that which the 12 disciples experienced, and if fasting was not as necessary to them because they had Jesus physically with them, it is likewise not as incumbent upon us to fast who have the Holy Spirit IN us.
That doesn’t mean that we NEVER fast. But we do not fast as the disciples of John in the context of an Old Covenant paradigm. We need to learn what the New Covenant dynamic of fasting entails.
What Jesus says next shows us that this subject of fasting or not fasting is part of a much broader discussion about having a New Wineskin to put New Wine in and the necessity of moving on with God and staying flexible, not clinging to old ways of thinking that do not serve of facilitate the ongoing purposes of God in His church.
18 While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. 19 And Jesus arose, and followed him, and [so did] his disciples. 20 And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind [him], and touched the hem of his garment: 21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. 22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. 23 And when Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, 24 He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. 25 But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. 26 And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land. 27 And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, [Thou] Son of David, have mercy on us. 28 And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. 29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. 30 And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See [that] no man know [it]. 31 But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country. 32 As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. 33 And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel. 34 But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils. 35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly [is] plenteous, but the labourers [are] few; 38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
In verse 18 a man comes to Jesus whom we understand to be Jairus who was a leader of his synagogue. His daughter was dead, and he asks Jesus to come and heal, or raise her up. Jesus proceeds to do so without so much as a word. The man’s faith and desperation compelled Jesus to act. While He is making His way along with Jairus, a woman with an issue of blood who had suffered many years pressed through the crowd to touch Him. She believed in her heart if should could but touch the garment Jesus was wearing she would be whole. When she did in fact do this, Jesus perceives it, turns around and tells her that HER FAITH made her whole. In this case it was not Jesus saying “I will, be thou made whole…” He wasn’t even aware of what was happening until HER FAITH had already accomplished what she believed would happen. We need to get this. The paralytic was healed in the beginning of our chapter because of the FAITH of those who carried the sick man to Jesus in Capernaum. This woman’s faith brought healing BECAUSE she SAID WITHIN HERSELF what would happen before it happened.
What are you saying in yourself when you are desiring to be healed? Are you saying, “I hope this works?” Are you thinking, “let’s see what happens?” Because of the polluted doctrines of men regarding healing this kind of thinking is acceptable. We want to prepare ourselves for not getting healed, just in case it doesn’t happen. That woman was doing nothing of the sort. She believed and held that regard in herself what would happen and did not entertain any other outcome. Her faith healed her. Her faith did for her what Jesus would have done for her had he realized she was coming up behind Him in the press. Do you realize what this is saying? When Jesus says “your faith did this” He is saying that YOUR FAITH will do for you what Jesus would do for you if He was standing right in front of you. This applies to the men who brought the paralytic to Jesus in verses 1-3 of our chapter.
The paralytic may or may not have had faith, it didn’t matter because Jesus said that the faith of the men who brought the person to Jesus did for the man what Jesus was prepared to do for the man and did in fact do when they brought him to be set free. Again, if it is true what Jesus says so many times that “your faith has made you whole” then that is telling you that YOUR FAITH will do for you what Jesus would do for you if He was standing right in front of you today!
Jesus goes on in our chapter to heal two blind men, and then a demon possessed man is set free. The Pharisees are so offended that they claim He is casting out devils in league with the devil because they didn’t like they way He did it. Here is where you know you are dealing with a Pharisee and a religious mentality. The Pharisees could not gainsay WHAT Jesus did, so they criticized HOW He did it. People will come to you, who are choking on the OLD WINESKIN of their religious thinking, and say “I don’t have a problem with what you did, I have a problem with HOW you did it…” Jesus apparently did not answer these men in this case, and neither should you feel obligated to always explain yourself to those who are looking for a reason to meddle in your affairs and criticize your walk with God.
In verse 35, Jesus proceeds in His itinerate tours preaching, and teaching and the crowds began to grow exponentially. During this time, He was recorded to have healed EVERY SICKNESS and EVERY DISEASE among the people, just as in ch. 8:16 that they brought Him those that were sick and possessed with devils and He healed them ALL. We need to get a an ALL and an EVERY mentality in our thinking about healing. We need to start thinking as the woman with the issue of blood “If I can but …. Then I shall…” We think according to religious conditioning “if God will but do thus and so…” but to the woman with the issue of blood who had apparently watched Jesus for some time, she knew without question what Jesus would do. She was looking to her own resolve to receive what she knew Jesus would do for her. We might object, well if we had been there we would have pressed through the crowd for our healing too… but we may not have been there but we have the record of the gospels so the only question remains is do we believe the good report? God is no respecter of persons, but He is a respecter of faith. If we do with our faith what these did with their faith we will see the same results!
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