My Dear Partner in Faith:
As we return to our chronological journey through this gospel, now Matthew highlight a number of remarkable healings of Jesus, beginning with cleansing a leper (Mt. 8:1-4), and concludes by relating that Jesus, “healed every disease and every infirmity. For when He saw the crowds He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Mt. 9:35-36).
Jesus’ entire ministry is that of “the great shepherd.” He saw the need, and made people whole. All our gospels emphased that truth. This is something even affirmed by the ancient Jewish writings, where Jesus’ healings are attributed to His being a “sorcerer.” A scurrilous charge not unlike what Mathew records the Pharisees as saying; “He casts out demons by the prince of demons” (Mt. 9:24). Such an accusation is ludicrous, which our Lord exposes as such by stating, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand; and if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Mt. 12:25-28).
Jesus was always compassionate and thus would heal, proving that God’s kingdom had come. In the Greek it is literally that he did “signs and might works.” Jesus touching a leper would make others unclean, but He made them clean. With a word He heals the Centurion servant, and a touch heals Peter’s mother-in-law. This is followed by a story I especially enjoy, for again He silences the slander of the religious elite. They are incensed because He has the audacity to forgive a man’s sins. So Jesus responds, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? What is easier to say, ‘your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then He said to the paralytic. “Rise, take up your bed and go home” (Mt. (9:4-6). By this might work Jesus proves He not only has the power to heal, but the authority to forgive sins.
This is why He came, and in the kingdom of God needs are to be met, and the haughty brought low. Jesus in these versed will exorcise thousands of demons, a woman will touch only the decorative tassels on the edge of His cloak and be healed. She will do this because her condition makes her “unclean,” and the outer edge of a cloak cannot be defiled. He will raise a little girl from the dead; open blind eyes, and deliver a “dumb demoniac.” And the crowds will marvel, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel” (Mt. 9:33). Of course, there is so much more, so ask for my CDs, for there is nothing like our Lord’s proclamation of the kingdom of God and those “mighty works” of His.
Such things have rarely been seen. There is the early Apostolic Church, and anecdotal tales of phenomenal healings in many foreign lands, and I have been privileged to witness such. There are stories of remarkable growth of the fledgling churches in Nepal, in parts of Africa, China, and India all due to divine healing. It is said this is because this is where gather the spiritual forces. Here where God’s kingdom confront paganism, or where desperation and the abandonment of any other hope will meet in ultimate conflict.
If this is true, and it appears so, the ministry of Jesus, and the early church was the inauguration of God’s kingdom. It was to bring wholeness to all those previously excluded; lepers, the blind, lame, deaf, all those unclean, including the Gentiles. Yet, is this not still the Kingdom? Is this kind of proclamation not still needed? Is this not why we still need “mighty works?” I have never worked in a church that did not see a plethora of healings. And I am assured, as our culture strays further from its Christian roots, as our societies embrace this paganism, that spiritual forces will certainly empower our evangelism to confront this twisted secular religion, just as it did in the past and does in our world now. Thus I am not discouraged by the decent of our culture into a moral morass, but intend to continue to proclaim the Kingdom. Fully expecting by His Spirit to experience God’s kingdom proclaimed with such “might works,” as we confront our same adversary dressed again as paganism.
We shall always proclaim the kingdom of God,
Thomas Randolf Wyatt