June 28 I Tuesday
“News about Him spread all over Syria, and people brought to Him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralysed; and He healed them.” —Matthew 4:24
Not only was Jesus going around teaching and preaching the good news of the kingdom of God, He was also “healing every disease and illness among the people” (Matthew 4:23). Jesus ministered to the whole person—the physical and the spiritual needs of humanity. In His compassion, He was restoring what was hurting and broken in their lives.
Throughout the Gospels, we see Jesus sharing the message of the kingdom with compassion and justice. While He was proclaiming the good news and healing the people, He was at the same time confronting the unjust systems that existed in society and misrepresented who God is and amplified the pain of the downtrodden. The good news that Jesus was proclaiming starts to bring about great joy. If there is anything we know about great joy, it is infectious and starts to spread throughout the region.
People from all over—from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan—were drawn to Jesus. These people had various diseases, suffered severe pain, were demon-possessed, had seizures and were paralyzed. To understand the significance of this, we have to understand what happened between the Old and the New Testament time. During the inter-testament period, the nation of Israel was dominated by different world powers that oppressed and slaughtered people. Kingdom after kingdom came through the Holy Land and ravaged the people. The context of this time was a volatile political environment mixed with theology. Jesus’s ministry was not attracting the upper crust of society, but the very people that the nation of Israel would consider their archenemies.
One of the distinguishing changes between the Old Testament Law and the time of Jesus was that the Old Testament Law could only expose sin and pronounce one as unclean, but it was powerless to do anything about their condition. Jesus, however, was offering hope to those who were considered unclean because He could actually offer them cleansing. They were drawn to Him because He could provide them an avenue back to acceptance with God. This new teaching illustrates that God actually welcomes the cursed, the cast aside and the unclean to come close and discover His healing power.
If we are not growing in our compassion for those who are suffering, the diseased, the demon-possessed or the downtrodden, then we may have to question whether we have wandered away from Jesus. May we see the world with the heart of Jesus—full of compassion and love—and boldly proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ that can heal lives.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank You for demonstrating compassion and love for everyone. Give me the boldness to proclaim Your good news that can heal lives. Amen!