“And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: ‘He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sickness.’”Matthew 8:16-17
One question that we should ask about the Kingdom of God that Jesus ushered in is: what will Jesus do about sickness and death?
You will find the answer to this question in Matthew 8:16-17.
All throughout the book of Matthew, we are told about how Jesus is fulfilling Old Testament prophesies. In Matthew 8, after a series of three healing miracles, we are explicitly told that these healings point to how Jesus fulfils a prophesy made by Isaiah. The prophesy quoted comes from Isaiah 53 which we read at the beginning of the service.
It is by seeing the context of this prophesy that we see the answer to our question. The very next verse of Isaiah 53 says this: “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed.”
Sickness and death break our bodies. The Centurion’s servant was paralysed. His body was broken and didn’t work. Many of us here know what it is to not have our bodies do what they are meant to do. We know what it is to have our bodies cause us pain because of the effects of sickness.
Sickness and disease and death are terrible things, but they are not the root cause of our difficulties. Jesus could fix our diseases and we would still be miserable. He could heal us every time we become sick and we would still die one day. Healing a disease is like cutting off a thistle at ground level; the thistle will just keep on coming back. We need a solution that pulls out the roots of the thistle.
The root cause of suffering and death is our sin, our iniquities, our transgressions, our rebellion against God. Through these healing miracles, Jesus is pointing to the fact that he will take away, not just the symptom of our problems, our sicknesses, but the root cause of our suffering. He will make our broken bodies new. He will fix the problem of sickness and death.
He did this by bearing the awful weight of sin on the cross. His body was broken so that the bodies of his people might be made new. He suffered death so that his people would be raised to life. Jesus didn’t just heal people from sickness, “He Himself took our infirmities” upon himself, suffering the curse of sin on our behalf.
Through Jesus broken body, death lost its sting. The Father’s wrath was satisfied. And all those who trust in Christ, like the centurion, will one day be made completely new, free from sickness and death and suffering and pain.
This is what we remember in this supper – that Jesus body was broken on our behalf and that his blood was poured out that we might have the promise and hope of everlasting life.
As you eat and drink tonight, remember that Jesus did do something about the sickness and death that we all face. He dealt with these problems at the root by suffering and dying that we who trust in him will not perish, but will have eternal life.