Here we have a collection of Jesus’ healings. In it, we notice that there is no limit to the number of people, type of person, or manner of sickness that Jesus is willing and able to heal.
In the midst of all these healings, Matthew tells a story about Jesus calming a storm. The disciples are amazed and ask themselves, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and the sea obey him?” (Matthew 8:27). In the same way, Jesus rebukes diseases and demons, he also rebukes the weather. It is clear - Jesus has authority (Matthew 9:8).
Matthew concludes this section with Jesus continuing to preach and heal with a heart of compassion. When he looks at the crowds, he sees sheep without a shepherd. Israel is described this way throughout the Old Testament (Numbers 27:17; 1 Kings 22:17; Isaiah 53:6; Zechariah 10:2; 2 Chronicles 18:16). Jesus picks up on this imagery to show that he is the shepherd God’s people had long-awaited (Isaiah 40:11; Ezekiel 34:16; Micah 2:12).
Why is this good news?
Jesus has total authority to heal diseases, drive out demons, and calm storms.
But, to some, authority doesn’t sound like good news. After all, a God who is totally in charge is only good news if he is also totally compassionate. That’s what the leper understands when he says, “Lord if you are willing, you can make me clean” (Matthew 8:2). The good news is that Jesus is both able and willing to heal. He has authority and compassion.
All of this healing and authority is about a deeper point Jesus is trying to make.
While eating with some less-than-reputable company, some religious leaders object to Jesus’ choice of who to commune with (Matthew 9:11). Jesus responds, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.”
Jesus has been healing all kinds of people with all manner of sickness, but sickness is just a symptom. The real disease is sin. Everyone is sick from the death that entered the world through sin, and Jesus is the only one who can heal it.
All of Jesus’ authority demonstrates the fact that he alone can heal us from the real sickness and storm in our lives - sin and death.
In fact, Matthew says that Jesus’ healing ministry fulfills Isaiah 53 (Matthew 8:17). In this Messianic prophecy, Isaiah describes a suffering servant who would heal his people by taking on their diseases and sin (Isaiah 53:5). This is just what Jesus did on the cross for us. He provided ultimate healing for our bodies and souls by putting an end to the sin that brings destruction into our lives. He died in our sickness so we could live in his healing. “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases” (Isaiah 53:4).
See for yourself.
May the Holy Spirit open your eyes to see the God who has authority over all creation, but became flesh in Jesus to heal our diseases and sin.