|Jesus Healed Them – not just individuals, but crowds. Matthew 19.1-2
Read Matthew 19.
Don’t miss the fine print. Right at the start of Matthew 19, it is recorded:
“When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.”
Sometimes it is in what seem to be almost transitional verses that Jesus does something quite extraordinary. Did you see it? “Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.” Jesus healed them en masse. When you turn through the pages of the gospels, it seems like Jesus was always healing someone! Nearly one-fifth of the Gospel accounts is devoted to Jesus' healing ministry,1 and there were at least 20 different references to mass healings—that is remarkable.
What would that have been like? Well, imagine a crowd of people, many who were sick or infirmed. Word was out. The rabbi was performing miracles all over the region. And so in their diminished states—some blind, some mute, others afflicted, they walked great distances to get to Jesus. “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.”2
Was there some kind of rhythm to Jesus’ ministry? Looking at the verse, I see teaching, proclaiming the gospel, and healing. . . yes, I believe so. And always the miraculous points to something greater than the thing itself; it establishes the One who heals, the One who alone has the power to do what only he can do. The miraculous—in this case, healing—points to the power of God.
In Jesus’ person, there was divine power; Jesus had such power that even touching his clothes wrought healing. Matthew recorded, “And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding region. People brought all the sick to Him, and begged Him just to let them touch the fringe of His cloak. And all who touched Him were healed.”3 Wow!
Many were instantly healed by Jesus, but others received a touch from him that began a healing work that took place over time. It is the same today, is it not? I saw it when Danny was healed by God 15 and ½ years ago. There was clearly an initial touch by God—when the bleeding disorder was removed from his diagnosis/prognosis--but the healing of the ‘failed kidneys’ took place over time. His blood pressure started going down, the blood loss lessened . . .within two months, he was almost well. Within four months, he was well.
Which makes me think of this - “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”4 Friends, Jesus still heals, often over time, not in an instant. It is ours to pray in faith, not wavering. As our Lord’s brother wrote, “And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.”5
Two things I know: we are to pray in faith that God will heal. Without faith, it is impossible to please God.6 Secondly, we should first search our hearts for unconfessed sin, that our prayers would not be hindered. Look up Psalm 66.18.
The Bible clearly says that God wants us to ask him for help when we need it, and it is clear that asking for healing when we are sick is part of that.7 Whether –or how or when-- God heals us is another story, but if we don’t ask for it, we are preempting the very possibility that it might happen. “You do not have because you do not ask.”8
God delights in hearing and answering the prayers of his children . . . go ahead, ask him. He loves you.
Lord my God, I called to you for help,
and you healed me. Psalm 30.2
1 – Stronginfaith.org
2 – Matthew 4.23
3 – Matthew 14.35-56
4 – John 14.12
5 – James 5.15
6 – Hebrews 11.6
7 - Miracles Eric Metaxas, p. 164
8 James 4.2b