The Scriptorium

Taker of Infirmities

Jesus has power over sin and its effects. Matthew 8.12-14

Matthew 8: Setting Things Right (3)

Pray Psalm 54.1, 2.
Save me, O God, by Your name,
And vindicate me by Your strength.
Hear my prayer, O God;
Give ear to the words of my mouth.

Sing Psalm 54.1, 2.
(Beatitudo: Father of Mercies, in Your Word)
Save us, O God, by Your great Name.
Vindicate us with power.
Answer our prayer, remove our shame,
in this our desperate hour.

Read Matthew 8.1-17; meditate on verses 12-17.

1. What did Jesus accomplish by these healings?

2. What “methods” did He use, and what do these suggest about His power?

Matthew continues reaching back to the Old Testament to explain Jesus and His work. He cites Isaiah 53.4 to explain Jesus’ power to take away illnesses and deliver us from spiritual oppressors. But that familiar passage deals more with His carrying our sins away, bearing them for us and being stricken in judgment because of that.

We cannot fail to make the connection between sin and spiritual and physical maladies – demon possession, illness, blindness, paralysis, and all the rest. These are not visited upon us necessarily because of our sin (cf. Jn. 9.1-5); mostly, they beset us because sin is in the world, and sin affects all aspects of life in the world. By taking away the sickness and fever of Peter’s mother, healing the demon-possessed, and curing those who had a variety of illnesses, Jesus demonstrated that He has power of the effects of sin, and sin itself.

Sin is the original, chronic, everywhere-pervasive pandemic which causes misery, suffering, sorrows, pain, and death. And Jesus came to take sin away, so that, even though we may yet experience various maladies, all who know Jesus enter into His victory over sin now, and can rejoice and give thanks even when pandemics befall us. For we know that, should our mortal bodies – temporal and frail as they are – succumb to the effects of sin in the sinful world, Jesus has taken away our infirmities, having borne them in His own body, and nothing can separate us from Him. We rejoice, that is, in the midst of trials and suffering, because we know these have already been taken away from us, and soon enough, we will bear them no more.

Notice Jesus’ method: touching and speaking. It’s not the only way Jesus brings newness to the world (cf. Jn. 2.1-11 – here He simply thought), but it suggests to me that we need to stay close to Jesus, both so that we can hear Him speaking to us, and know His Presence and glory. When Jesus touches us, and when He speaks His Word to us, we know that our infirmities – be they ever so persistent or pernicious – have ultimatel been taken by Him, and the joy of our restoration is just a prayer of gratitude away.

1. How does Jesus take away our infirmities and bear our sicknesses?

2. Why is it important to keep this in mind whenever we’re experiencing suffering?

3. How do we know that the Word of Jesus is powerful to help us in resisting the devil and gaining victory in spiritual warfare?

Note that Isaiah did not say that he merely did away with our infirmities but that he himself bore them. Here Isaiah seems to be speaking of our sins being carried by him, in harmony with John, who said, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
How does the Evangelist correlate infirmities and sins? He is either recollecting the Isaiah passage in its plain, historical sense, or he is pointing to the fact that most of our diseases arise from sins of our souls. For if the sum of all diseases, even death itself, has its root and foundation from sin, how much more is this true of most of our bodily diseases? John Chrysostom (344-407), The Gospel of Matthew 27.1

Strengthen me, Lord, in the face of every infirmity, that I may rejoice and give thanks, and continue to…

Pray Psalm 54.3-7.
Call on the Lord to be your Helper throughout this day, to uphold you, take away all your sins, defend you from the enemy, and receive you as a living sacrifice for this day.

Sing Psalm 54.3-7.
Psalm 54.3-7 (Beatitudo: Father of Mercies, in Your Word)
Strangers and foes against us rise, threatening woe and strife;
they have not set You in their eyes, but seek to take our life.

You are the Helper of our soul; You will sustain and bless.
Recompense evil to our foe in Your great faithfulness.

Willingly will we praise You, Lord, gladly adore Your Name!
You have redeemed us by Your Word and blest us by the same.

From all our trouble, by Your grace, You have redeemed us, Lord.
While all our foes in sad disgrace reel backward from Your Word.

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from
The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore