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Newtown Bible Church

Messiah, Healing, & Atonement: Already and Not Yet (Matt. 8:14-17, Pastor Joey Newton)

Intro/Opening: We come this morning back into the gospel of Matthew. I don’t usually like to take such long breaks, but trust in the sovereignty of God and that the excursions were helpful for our spiritual good and the glory of God. 
  •  As we come back into Matthew’s presentation of Jesus Christ, writing by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, it is good to be reminded of what we have learned so far.
  •  Matthew’s goal is to present Jesus Christ in all His glory as the long awaited Davidic King and Messiah.
    •  Ch. 1 He is the King who can rightfully sin on David’s throne; He is a Savior (1:21); He is God (1:23)
    •  Ch. 2 He is the fulfillment of prophecy: One to whom all the prophets pointed. 
    •  Ch. 3 He is announced as King by John the Baptist; who prepared His way; He then is confirmed by the Father and Holy Spirit
    •  Ch. 4 He is the sinless One, proved righteous where all else failed; He is the One that commands repentance and for all to follow Him. 
    •  Chs. 5-7 His kingdom is a kingdom of righteousness, in which men’s unrighteousness is exposed and enter humbled and broken; King whose fulfills the law and exercises the same authority; King before whom all will stand; He is a King who speaks with all authority (7:29). 
    •  Ch. 8 He is King will all authority & power yet compassionate and willing to all who humble come, even lepers; a Savior to all who believe, even Gentiles; but who rejects those who reject Him; and now (14-17) King who displays His power with compassion & authority that we would embrace the cross and follow Him

 

(1) The Completeness of His Power over disease; (2) The Comprehensiveness of His Power over Demons; (3) The Connection of His Power to His Atonement

READ: Matthew 8:14-17

 

(1) The Completeness of His Power over disease

  • First, let’s set the context for these events: (14) “When Jesus came into the house of Peter” - Mark adds that it was actually the house of Peter and his brother Andrew (Matt. 4:18; Mk. 1:29); and that they were accompanied by the brothers James and John, who were all called together in (4:18-22). Now, Matthew just drops us into Peter’s house, but both Mark and Luke fill out some of the details prior to this event (turn briefly to Lk. 4). Just before entering into Capernaum Jesus was driven to the edge of a cliff by a bunch of angry Jews because He has reminded them of God’s favor to the Gentiles at a time when He over looked the Jews. 
    •  Lk 4:31-37 So, He came into Capernaum and began teaching in the synagogues, where the people “were amazed at His teaching, for His message was with authority.” Not only by His teaching, but also His authority over demons. Therefore, He entered the Synagogue on the Sabbath and delivered a man who was “possessed by the spirit of an unclean demon,” (33) which cried out to Jesus: “Let us alone! What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are - the Holy One of God!” (34) Jesus cast out the demon to the astonishment of the people who said: “What is this message? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits and they come out.” (36) Luke goes on to note: “And the report about Him was spreading into every locality in the surrounding district.” (37) 
  • All this happened just prior to entering Simon Peter’s home and the scene recorded also in Matthew. So, when He arrives at Peter’s house He has already caused quite the stir among the people and demonstrated Messianic power and authority.

 

Marked by Compassion

  •  “He saw his [i.e. Peter’s] mother in law lying sick and with a fever” - Obviously, Peter was married, which the apostle Paul noted was also true of others (1 Cor. 9:5) - Clement of Alexandria (2nd c AD) notes that she later served with him in ministry and that before he was martyred she was lead to her death before his eyes:

 

“On seeing his wife led to death, Peter rejoiced on account of her call and her conveyance home, and called very encouragingly and comfortingly, addressing her by name, ‘Remember, thou the Lord.’” Here we meet her mother lying in bed (lit. “having been cast down”) sick and suffering with a fever. 

  • The text is not specific about the type of fever, though Luke, the physician, adds that it was a “high fever;” 
  • Three basic types of fevers (in which the body temperature rises above 98.6) were common to the area: 
    • 1) Malta, which often lead to death 
    • 2) Typhoid - also serious: later stages attended with temperatures up to 104, delusion, and intestinal bleeding;  
    • 3) more common is Malaria - due to the mosquitoes that infested the marshes where the Jordan river entered the Sea of Galilee (est. 250 million a year today). Most believe that it was the latter, which is itself bitter and often accompanied by jaundice (yellow colored skin and other tissue with bile pigments), fever, shivering, sometimes vomiting & convulsions. So, there she is, yellow from jaundice, high fever, aggressively shivering; possibly moaning. 
      • and Mark that “immediately they spoke to Jesus about her.” The “they” here is probably friends and family who had come to attend her, maybe even pray for her, and obviously they were very concerned, such that they immediately approached Jesus upon His entrance into the house. 
        • Certainly they had already witnessed many displays of His power; and knew He had authority over disease, that God was with Him.
  •  “and He grasped her hand” (8:3) - Mark captures the sense of tenderness: “taking her hand into His own” After being lead to her room and the bed where she was lying suffering, Jesus reaches down and takes her and to His own: “In loving sympathy as the Great Physician and like any good doctor today.” A tremendous picture of His tenderness and compassion. Jesus was not a stoic, impersonal Savior; He was very gentle, personal, kind. Where others would not have come near (as with the leper), He drew close with personal warmth. 
    • Not a lot of flowery language, really Matthew reports it in a sort of ‘matter of fact’ tone, as with all His miracles. Not an attempt to persuade through over the top language and descriptions, but letting the facts and reality of Christ and His work stand on its own; in all its power and glory and purpose in revealing His Person. Marked, not only by compassion, but … 

 

Marked by Completeness 

  •  “and the the disease left her and she got up and waited on them” - Interestingly, Matthew does not record the peoples reaction, though we can imagine gratitude, maybe astonishment. In either case, he simply notes that she “was raised up” and then began was “serving Him.” Both Mark & Luke note that she served them all. Matthew is simply directing attention to Christ. 
    • Why the mention of her being raised and serving? To authenticate the reality of her healing! She was just cast down in bed, overtaken with fever, suffering under her illness and then in an instant she is made well and takes on the role of a servant as if nothing had been wrong only moments ago. “Not only the fever but the weakness it causes left her. ‘Ordinarily a long time is required for recovery, but then all things happened at once’” Such is the power and reality of the healing ministry of Jesus - no, “let’s see if your faith holds up!” like so many of the charlatans and false prophets today. When Jesus acts He does so finally, decisively, and completely; no half-way miracles, or temporary healing’s! 

 

(2) The Comprehensiveness of His Power over Spiritual & Physical Realm

  • (16) “But when evening came they brought to Him many having demons … and all who were ill” - Matthew now takes us from the intimacy of a single woman in private home, away from the fanfare of the crowds, to the public miracle working of Christ, showing the comprehensiveness of His display of power and authority (ties in with 4:23-25)
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    • Note first, it was during the “evening” (when 2 stars could be seen), now this is important, because it is still the Sabbath and they were not permitted to carry the sick lest they be guilty of doing work on the Sabbath. Rabbi’s had a ridiculous tradition that one could be kept from dying on the Sabbath, but not healed (which was work!). Jesus healing on Sabbath was constant provocation (12:9-14).   
    • Nonetheless, He healed and the news of His power has spread throughout the region and people were simply flocking to Him to get relief from all manner of disease and spiritual oppression (Mk. 1:28; Lk. 4:37)

 

Absolute Authority over all the spiritual realm

  • And what did He do with them? “He cast out the spirits with a word … He healed them” -  both the fallen angels and the physical world are under His authority. lo/gwˆ demonstrates the ease at which He accomplished His will and exercised His authority over the fallen angels and demons. No struggle; no arguing; simply giving the command
    • Demons hated and do hate Christ,but they now who God is; they know He is ht Son of God - people may be ignorant, but not demons (*8:29; James 2:19).
  • Never in the history of the nation of Israel (or the world) had such unlimited power been demonstrated through and individual. The only miracle working displays of power like this are those that were directly attributed to YHWH - Moses: Plagues; Red Sea; the manna in wilderness. Elijah and Elisha called fired down from heaven; raised the dead; but never on the scale as that of Jesus Christ. And, never was this power attributed to the prophets themselves as it is with Jesus.
    • These are undeniable demonstrations of Jesus’ power & authority. YHWH, the God of Israel was certainly among men (“God with us”). No one every denied the reality of His miracles. They denied the implications of them; some even denied the source of them; but none denied the reality of them because they could not.

 

Absolute Power over all physical effects of sin

  •  “Healed all that were ill” (lit. ‘having it bad’) - it is fair to say that during the time of His humiliation He essentially banished disease from many towns in and around the region of Galilee and Judea. 
  • Notice also: Jesus regularly healed without regard to the persons faith (4:23-24; 14:14). Though He did at times make faith the issue, that was not always the case. And in either case the result of the healing was permanent. A far cry from what is presented as the work of God in modern day miracle workers.
    • There was no disease, no demonic activity that did not fall under the authority of  Jesus Christ and so become a means by which His Person and mission are revealed. Absolute power; absolute authority; He is King; He is Messiah. 

 

(3) The Connection of His Power to His Atonement

  •  “So that the word, through Isaiah the prophet, may be fulfilled” - This points to the implications of His healing ministry: His demonstration of power authenticates Him as the Messiah to whom the prophets pointed (cf. 5:17)
  •  “He Himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases is taken from Is. 53:4,(NASB): “Surely our griefs He Himself  bore, And our  sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of  God, and afflicted.” Matthew is using his own translation from the Hebrew text; not a “free” translation of the LXX.
  • How did He take on our infirmities? Christ did in a real sense come under us & experience our suffering (Heb. 4:15)
    • He wept over the affect of sin at the death of Lazarus (John 11:35)
    • He wept over the hardness of heart of the Jews (Lk. 19:41)
    • His healing ministry is continually connected to His compassion for the people (Matt. 9:36).

 

“Christ’s sympathy with the sufferers was so intense that he really felt their weaknesses and pains.’ ‘In our burdens Jesus steps under the load with us and helps us to carry on.’”

A) The healing / miracle ministry of Christ is designed to point us to the Cross - His atoning death and resurrection (1:21 “save His people from their sins”)

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    • This is the purpose of the Isaiah passage; it is primarily explaining His work of laying His life down as a substitute for His people; as a guilt offering (12)
  • Now, the question is how is Matthew using the Isaiah passage? How does His healing ministry point to the cross? The point of contention is that Matthew here seems to relate Isaiah directly to the healing ministry of Christ. 
    • Because, sickness, sadness, death, demons are all the affect, or fruit of sin! Just casting out demons and healing doesn’t deal with the problem - we all dies and get sick; demons still exist! 
  • Jesus did not come to simply alleviate the (fruit) consequences of sin, but to destroy the very root of sin. He came to remove the curse by bearing the curse of sin for us; the curse that brings God’s judgement, damns to hell, alienates from God, and holds men in spiritual death. 
    • Sin is the greatest disease; Sin is the greatest threat to the soul; sin confines men to wrath of God; Sin is the chain which hold men in the prison of spiritual corruption, death, and then forever in the judgement of hell. Sin is the matter dealt with in the atonement; at the cross. Christ stands in all of His display of power and authority as the one who ultimately has both to conquer to sin. 
  • The healing’s pointed to the fact that He was / is the Davidic King, the Messiah, the Suffering Servant of Isaiah, whose power to cast out demons and heal the sick (the fruit of sin) pointed to His power to destroy the root of sin at the cross (cf. *9:6). That is the connection with the cross; that is the point of tying in with Isaiah; that is the point of all the miracles and displays of power. Jesus has the power and authority to fulfill His true mission: “save His people from their sin” “to give His life as a ransom for many”
    • There is yet the future, the day when sin will be totally removed and, therefore all its fruits from the earth. Thus the healing anticipates the cross, and the cross anticipates the ultimate aim of the new heavens and new earth where the curse and affects of sin are forever removed and there is no more tears, sadness, death, or the like (Rev. 21-22).
    • The Messianic kingdom was and will be a time of peace, the banishment of all disease, a rejuvenated earth in which there is a return to Eden like conditions in part in the MK (Is. 65:19-25 - which cannot be the eternal state because their is no death; but ultimately in the eternal state [1 Cor. 15; Rev. 21]). 

B) Believer’s Healing is yet future, not in the present. 

  • Now some believe that this proves that their is healing in Jesus and that he atonement secured the physical health of all those who are in Christ, but this grossly misunderstands the nature of the kingdom and the intent of Isaiah 53:4.
  • The atonement does, in an ultimate sense, secure for all believers the full healing and health of the physical body, but that will not be realized until the future resurrection. The kingdom has been inaugurated, but it is not yet here. Jesus is still a returning King. We are still praying: “Your kingdom come”
  • It is impossible to make all this a promise for the present reality. There are many things Jesus purchased for His people int eh atonement that are yet future in their fulfillment:
    • Jesus conquered death in the atonement (1 Cor. 15:54-57; Heb. 2:14), but we all still die; believers and unbelievers. 
    • Jesus conquered the power of sin, but Christians still sin (Rom 7:14)
    • Jesus conquered pain, sorrow, and sickness, yet His people still experience all these things.

“The healing’s anticipate the passion in that they begin to roll back the effects of the sins for which Jesus came to die.” 

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    • We will experience all these things, they belong to us who are in Christ, but now we have them by faith, by promise. One day we will have them by sight even as with our Lord Jesus Christ. 
    • This life is full of pain, sickness, sadness - for a moment we get a dim glimpse of the time when that will all be taken removed forever. But sin is still present here in this life and so its consequences remain, for now, while we are here on earth - but the Christian’s hope is laid up in the future (2 Cor. 4; Col. 3:1-3; Heb. 11)
  • Does this mean God does not heal today? Of course not, it means that God does not guarantee healing in this life; sometimes He does; sometimes He has a greater purpose in the sickness - ultimately for the good of His children; and His glory. 
    • But the reality of the promise still awaits that future day after we depart from this world, see Him face to face, and one day receive our new resurrected bodies. 
  • Thus, the healing’s of Jesus and the atonement, both of which are dealt with in Is. 53 have a multi-level purpose: 
    • (1) Authenticate His Person & ministry (John 5)
    • (2) Give a foretaste of the Kingdom (Matt. 12 “If I cast out …”)
    • (3) Show the future fruit of His sin bearing death as Messiah.  

C) His Healing Power & Authority Requires all to make a decision

  • All of these miracles have been designed for one major purpose, to show that Jesus is the Messiah, He is the Lord who is the Savior. He has been building this case throughout. 
    • He is the One all will stand before as Judge, and yet as shown with the leper for all who come to Him, He is willing to help; to the Gentile centurion He is the Savior of all who place their faith in Him; to the Peter’s mother in law He is the compassionate Lord who graciously banishes sickness away from the fanfare of men. 
    • In all of this, He is the Suffering Servant who came to deal a death blow to death; to heal not just the affects of sin, but to destroy the root of sin which is man’s greatest enemy. The point of it all, then, is to point to the cross, 
  • And yet, in spite of all this, all the miracles, the demons cast out, to wisdom that could not be refuted, the life that overwhelmed. most of the people still rejected Him, even as today. This is a constant marvel. Why is it this way? 
    • Because despite the overwhelming evidence of His Person and power, men still love their sin more (John 3:19f). 
  • Men will always chose their sin above righteousness unless God graciously works within their heart. You must take ownership of your sin; see your guilt next to God’s holiness and what the law really requires. You must be willing to forsake all for Christ - which is where He will take us next week. Jesus stands before us as Lord, as Savior, as King. His kingdom has come and is coming. Both His judgement and His salvation are speeding our way. 
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