Matthew 4:23-24 “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them.”
Many of us in this room have experienced some kind of healing during our lifetime. Let’s just take a survey.
If you have survived a heart attack or recovered from heart by-pass surgery will you stand? Thank you. You may be seated.
If you are a cancer survivor will you stand? You may be seated.
If you have had an organ removed or had a transplant of some kind will you stand? You may be seated.
If you have recovered from a broken bone will you stand? You may be seated.
If you have recovered from a major accident of some kind will you stand? You may be seated.
Anyone here been in a coma and come out of it or been pronounced clinically dead and been brought back to life? You may be seated.
So there is great proof that healing is a reality. No one can argue that healing doesn’t take place. We see in the Gospels that healing was one of the major works of Jesus, one of the major themes of His life. I venture to say every one of us in this room is in need of some kind of healing today or will be within the next year. Because we know that “God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (reference) we know that healing is still one of the major works God performs. The fact that not everyone is healed, especially when they are young or in the prime of their lives, does not negate that God can, will, and does perform healings. I want to develop three healing principles from this passage in Matthew with you this morning:
- Jesus’ healing is accompanied by the Word of God.
- Jesus’ healing is comprehensive! Matthew 4:23 tells us Jesus healed every disease and sickness. Psalm 103 is one of my favorite passages of all-time and it describes God’s comprehensive treatment. Turn there with me.
- Finally, I see in our Matthew passage that Jesus’ healing is personal. Matthew 4:23 says Jesus preached the Good News and healed the sick as He went out AMONG the people. No one can ever say about God that He is not approachable. Not only is He totally approachable, but He comes to us. He takes the initiative. He walks into our space and does so with the intention of improving our lives. He isn’t stingy with His healing power, and He is no respecter of persons. In what ways is He personal with us?
In our text today on the healing power of Jesus we see Jesus healed as He went about teaching and preaching the Good News of the Kingdom. The proclamation of the Word of God accompanied the healing power of God.
Don’t underestimate the power of the Word of God to bring healing into your life. Listen to these Scriptures that validate what I am saying:
Proverbs 4:20-22 “My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.”
Psalm 107:19-20 “Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.”
Psalm 119:48-50 “I lift up my hands to your commands, which I love, and I meditate on your decrees. Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope. My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.”
What we can understand this morning is that there is an increased quality of life or sense of wellness that reading and embracing God’s Word will bring. It is like medicine to us. When we allow God to speak to us through His Word, we experience a sense of well-being, a feeling of “it will be alright,” an empowerment, a feeling of hope even in the midst of physical and emotional challenges. To sum it up: God’s Word makes us better. It has healing properties.
My doctor has suggested several times that I take a multi-vitamin. I’m not opposed to taking vitamins. I bought the vitamins. They are sitting in my kitchen windowsill, and while I am faithful to take my prescribed medication, there is something about taking a multi-vitamin that just seems optional to me. For that reason, I take my vitamins sporadically. I know it would be good for me to take them, but I reason that I also eat a variety of foods and am getting a variety of vitamins just through my food choices. Sometimes I have thought, “I don’t really see a specific benefit from a vitamin, so why take it?” I’m sure my doctor would appreciate it if I would change my mindset on the issue. She has studied long enough and practiced long enough to know there are overall benefits whether I can ever pinpoint a specific benefit or not. When I don’t take the vitamins she wants me to take, I am not honoring her request, I am not utilizing what is available and what I already possess (it’s right there in my kitchen), so therefore, whatever the benefit is supposed to be, I am likely not experiencing it. I may be wrong, but I don’t think taking a vitamin three times a week will yield the results vitamins are supposed to yield because they need to be taken daily to accomplish those results. And yet, I also think that when I do take them a couple days a week that I am doing what I am supposed to, and I expect a benefit from it. I have the vitamins. I do take them once in a while, but I am not serious about it.
Is that how we are with the Word of God? Do we take it a couple times a week, maybe on Sunday or Wednesday or do we get a 2 minute “Daily Bread” dose once a week as an extra boost and then expect it to impact us the way it would if we were serious about ingesting it? Are we honoring the request of the Great Physician when it comes to His Word if we just pop a few Scriptures every now and then? Are we expecting the intended benefit with just partial exposure and use? What quality of life could we have if we saw the Word of God as medicine to be consumed daily? What if we viewed God’s Word as a prescription we were to take even every morning and every evening? “Now you’re getting radical!” Well, how much do you want to walk in wellness and to see your health improve? It only stands to reason that if you are supposed to take a vitamin daily in order to see the benefits, if you don’t do it, you won’t see the benefits. The same is true for us spiritually. If there is a healing benefit to the Word of God, the more regular we expose ourselves to it, and take it into our minds, hearts, and yes, bodies, the more benefit we will experience.
And sometimes the benefit isn’t necessarily physical, but it is spiritual or emotional which can impact our feeling of wellness even if we are sick. God’s Word can help us feel better, even if we don’t feel better physically. There is a kind of healing we can experience without the Word of God. If you have a headache and take some ibuprofen, you are most likely going to experience a suspension or lessening of your pain. That is a kind of healing. You don’t need the Word of God for that. You simply need Walgreens or Wal-mart. But there are other times when you need a healing, when you need your body impacted or your mind impacted because your body is in pain, and Wal-mart and Walgreens won’t be enough. The Word of God will bring healing to you when other healing aids can’t. Medicine is limited. God is limitless. His Word is limitless. His Word has creative and healing power that medicine can’t begin to compete with.
Notice that as Jesus was preaching in Matthew 4, He was preaching the Good News of the Kingdom. What does that mean? He wasn’t preaching the message of the cross because it hadn’t happened yet. What does the Kingdom of God have to do with healing? We see the Kingdom of God paired with healing again in Luke 10:9 when Jesus was sending His disciples out with instructions to heal and preach about the Kingdom. He said, “Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’”
The Kingdom of God is simply the rule and reign of God. God wanted people to understand His desire to be Lord over everything in our lives. Part of our healing includes allowing God to be Lord in our times of physical desperation and pain. He can heal us, but that may not His first and foremost goal in our times of suffering. Perhaps His greatest desire is for us to allow Him to be Lord.
God wants us to be so submitted to Him and allow Him to be in such control of our lives that whether He chooses to heal us physically in a way that removes all earthly symptoms or not, we still experience a healing, an empowering, a quality of life that comes through accepting His Lordship in our sickness. One way to allow God to rule and reign and to experience the Kingdom of God in our times of sickness is to cling to His Word, pray His Word, ingest His Word, and proclaim His Word because the promises of God include more than the removing of symptoms. They involve peace, endurance, perseverance, hope, joy, contentment, and other intangibles that bring wellness and abundance and quality to our lives. If you need healed, get ahold of the Word of God.
Psalm 103:1-5 “Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits– who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
We see in this passage there is a kind of spiritual healing when He forgives all of our sins through the blood of Jesus. There is also spiritual healing available to us through the deliverance Christ brings. He can cast darkness, evil, demonic presences (yes, they are real) out of our lives. The Gospel is FILLED with episodes. Satan didn’t just decide to quit oppressing believers and possessing unbelievers when Jesus rose from the grave. He is still at work in the world today to try to cause spiritual suffering.
There is physical healing when God heals all of our diseases. God has never said, I will heal some diseases, but other diseases I won’t. Whether it is something you can pronounce or even something doctors have a known name for, God can and does heal any kind of condition. It might be epilepsy. It could be paralysis. It could be diabetes, kidney trouble, a blood disorder or shortness of breath. It could be cancer or asthma. God can and does heal all kinds of physical diseases. God isn’t like your insurance company who will allow treatment for some things and not for others. God is willing to treat every condition.
There is also an emotional healing when God comes to us to redeem our lives from the pit. That pit has a name. Your pit has a name. Perhaps your pit’s name is depression. God can heal you. Maybe your pit’s name is anxiety. God can deliver you. Could your pit’s name be low self-esteem? God can replace that negative image with confidence. If you are down and out emotionally, God wants to raise you up. He wants to put a crown on your head, one of love and compassion. Through the tenderness of His love and the mercy of His compassion He wants to restore your emotional self to a place of wholeness and trust in Him.
I think I can also seek out a psychological healing from this passage. Psalm 103:5 says God satisfies our desires with good things. Good things rather than the shallow pleasures of this world. Good things rather than addictive substances and compulsive behaviors. Good things rather than evil things which will lead to the destruction of our minds and self-concepts. God wants to provide us with “good things” like grace, mercy, contentment, hope, peace, and love so we don’t have to get angry and destroy things, so we don’t have to cut ourselves to try to get rid of pain, so we don’t overeat to crowd out loneliness, so we don’t stay in destructive patterns that will compromise our emotional wellness, our physical wellness, our relationships, and our spiritual status.
God can heal us physically, emotionally or psychologically with one thought toward us or one “touch” of His Divine hand, but He also chooses physical, tangible methods of healing to assist us with our physical, emotional and psychological needs. Don’t be afraid to pursue those. God has created medicine. It is a gift from God intended to help us experience a better quality of life. We don’t substitute those things for Him, but we make use of them as we also trust Him.
God knows your name.
In Exodus 33 we read where God said He was pleased with Moses and knew him by name. He is personally acquainted with you. The Psalms are filled with references about how intimately God knows us, how interested He is in us, and how ready He is to come to our rescue when we call on Him. We are individuals. We matter to God. Unlike every nurse or doctor with whom you have an appointment, God won’t ask you to repeat your first name, middle name and last name and state your date of birth. He was there when you were born. He has known you by name your entire life.
You might think what you are dealing with, muddling through or praying about is small or insignificant. God doesn’t see it that way. If something is troubling you, God is personally concerned about it.
Perhaps you remember the woman with the issue of blood. We read her story in Luke 8:40-48 Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. Then a man named Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying. As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped. “Who touched me?” Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.” Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
This healing took place in the context of a crowd, but what Jesus did, He did JUST FOR HER. He healed her. Before she even asked. Reaching for Him through the crowd was all the faith needed for the power of God to be released. He not only healed her, but He took time to listen to her story in verse 47. He didn’t only care that the bleeding stopped, but He also cared about what she had gone through, how she had suffered, and how long her struggling had been going on how in Mark’s Gospel she told about how she had gone from doctor to doctor for many years and was only getting worse.
Listen, you might be sitting in a crowd of people this morning, but God can spot you in the crowd. He is right up close and personal and ready to minister to you. He is aware of who you are. He is not only aware of who you are, but He is also aware of your need, and He is aware of how long this situation has gone on and how much you have suffered and what it took for you even to press on to make it here this morning.
God knows your need.
Matthew 6:32 tells us God knows what we need. Matthew 6:8 tells us that God knows what we need before we even ask. Doesn’t it just drain you sometimes to have to give all of the details to people when you are going through a medical procedure? You can begin to feel like a broken record. You tell one person all of the details in an intake process and then have to repeat it to various medical professionals one at a time. Those of you who have had lots of surgeries, don’t you wish you could just call the whole team of people in who will be working on you and say, “Let’s just have a group meeting?”
God doesn’t have to be brought up to speed on your situation. If you are in pain, if you are broken-hearted, if you dealing with muscle weaknesses or a blood disorder, He knows all about it, and He knows what it will take to fix it. What comfort, what healing can come just when we relax in the reality that God knows it all.
God walks with you.
God’s personal touch continues as He promises to hang right with us in times of sickness and trouble. Isaiah 43:2 is such an encouragement. It reads, ”When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.” Psalm 23 tells us that even when we walk through what is like the Valley of the Shadow of Death, God is with us. His healing is so personal that He will escort you through your pain, through the process, through the chemo, through the surgeries, through the rehab, and through the complications. He’s there. He won’t bail when you get cranky. He won’t bail when the doctors scratch their head in confusion. He won’t bail when you start to question or doubt. He is there.
God will work in you.
God isn’t just like someone who will accompany you to an appointment or hold your purse and glasses while you are having surgery. No, He is hands on, working in you to bring about healing. And if healing isn’t His plan for whatever reason, He is still hands on working something else in your body, mind, and spirit, and it is called His grace. II Corinthians 12:9 tells us God’s grace is sufficient. Even when the physical healing doesn’t come, perfect grace, healing grace, helping grace, sustaining grace, grace to trust and rest, will still be worked in and through us as we deal with the circumstances that come from sickness. And God’s grace is more than enough.
The Word of God has been spoken this morning about God’s healing power, about His ability to address any sickness, and about His personal acquaintance with your need. If you need healing this morning, I invite you to add your personal faith to God’s personal concern about your life. God’s Word says in James chapter five if we are sick, we should be anointed with oil in the name of the Lord and the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well. I believe God desires to do something special, something compassionate, something powerful in this place today. The Healer is here. Will you give Him your need? Will you bring your condition to Him? Will you present your sickness to Him and ask for His healing touch on your life? Whether you get the physical results your heart longs for, God will touch your heart and life and bring a special healing to you to enable you to walk on by His grace.