The first time we see Jesus perform any type of healing comes in Matthew 4:23, NLT.
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.
To get a good perspective on this, I think it is imperative that we back up a bit to Matthew chapter 3. In the end of the chapter Jesus gets baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. As he comes out of the water, the heavens open and the Spirit of God descends upon him. A voice from heaven then says,
This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.
This is the foundation that Jesus would operate on over the next three years. Even He needed to hear that He was a Son of God. This establishes his identity in relationship to the Father. Because of this declaration He is now able to represent the Father here on earth. After His baptism, Jesus is led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He is there fasting for 40 days. At the end of the 40 days, the devil shows up to temp Jesus. He is out to question his identity that was spoken over Him. The devil knew what God said about Him, but if he could just get Jesus to deny that identity out of fear, he would have won. Jesus passes the test and shows that He is secure in the identity his Father has spoken over him.
Matthew 4:17 says that Jesus began to preach,
Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.
The ESV says, ‘ the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.’ Jesus is telling people to change the way they look at things, because the Kingdom of Heaven is here now. He was ushering in a new kingdom and a new set of rules. Over the next three years he would set the example of a life lived by these new rules.
Something that stands out to me about verse 23 is that it says He healed every kind of disease and illness. Then in verse 24 it talks about people bringing people with all types of illness to Him, and again, ‘He healed them all.’ I know there are some differing opinions on the idea that Jesus did or did not heal every sick person who asked for healing, however, this first account seems to make it clear that everyone with disease or illness was healed.
When I looked up the word healed in my Logos iPad app, the origin of the word is Old English. This word is described in the sense ‘restore to sound health.’ When we look at healing as restoring to original design, it is easy for us to parallell that with the plan of redemption that God has for the earth like I talked about here. I enjoy finding connections like this that allow me to put things into perspective in my mind.
With this definition or sense of the word healing, we can look at it as God simply restoring a sick person to his or her original state.
Key points I see:
- Jesus had to be firm in his identity spoken by his Father to operate as the Father would operate.
- Before healing, Jesus announced the Kingdom of Heaven.
- Jesus healed every disease and illness presented to Him.
Questions this brings:
- If Jesus healed because the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand, shouldn’t we still heal for that same reason? Or has the Kingdom of Heaven gone away?
*Random, but I want to let you know that any scripture reference on this site is out of the New Living Translation, unless otherwise stated.