Jump Start # 2584
Matthew 15:30 “And large crowds came to Him, bringing with them those who were lame, crippled, blind, mute, and many others, and they laid them down at His feet; and He healed them.”
I am currently teaching a class on the miracles of Jesus. It’s a focused and detailed look at miracles from up close as well as what we call the 32,000 foot view. Fascinating discoveries! Great stuff! These videos and outlines can be found on our website (charlestownroad.org).
Our verse is one that brings some interesting thought in our study. So many sick and injured people were brought to Jesus. The crowds looked more like an emergency room than a Sunday church audience. Tucked here in our verse today are a couple of words that are so easy to miss: lame and crippled. There they are, lame and crippled, right beside each other. It’s easy to think that they are the same. A lame person is crippled and a crippled person is lame. But why two words? Why say the same thing if they are the same thing? The King James uses the words lame and maimed.
Lame carries the idea of a birth defect or a disease. Crippled or maimed is the result of an injury or an accident. And, one can just imagine how easy that would have been in the first century. Stone masons having a wall fall on them. Someone getting run over by a cart. Someone being kicked by a mule. Accidents. Injuries.
Now, here are some interesting things to see:
First, Jesus never seems to scold anyone for how they got injured. Every fourth of July someone gets hurt by fireworks. Often, it’s foolishness that gets them in trouble. Taking risks that are not necessary. Climbing up on things that one shouldn’t climb on. Jesus wasn’t the parent. He didn’t tell the crippled and maimed, ‘You shouldn’t do that.’ Jesus never seems to ask the “why” question. Why did you do that?
Second, Jesus never seems to give safety lessons to prevent future injuries. He doesn’t seem to take the time to show a better way of doing things. He doesn’t set forth a policy to prevent injuries. He healed. He fixed. He restored. But he left it up to us to figure out better ways of doing things.
Third, Jesus doesn’t favor the lame over the crippled. He doesn’t have a policy of birth defects or dieseases come first. He doesn’t discriminate who or how one got the way he did. Was it something that you couldn’t help? Were you born this way? Were you injured doing something dumb? Was it a work mishap? Were you too proud to ask for help? There is an old story about a guy showing up at the ER of a hospital. He told the emergency doctor that he thought he broke his arm in two places. The doc said, “Stay out of those places.” Funny joke. You don’t find Jesus saying things like that.
Fourth, Jesus never put qualifiers on His healing. He didn’t say, “I’ll heal you this time, but don’t do that again. If you do, I won’t help you.” That’s the kind of stuff we say. Not Jesus. Jesus never refused to heal someone because what he did was foolish and Jesus wasn’t going to waste His time on something like that. We don’t know how these people became lame and maimed. We can speculate, guess and assume, but we don’t know. We don’t know because God didn’t see the need to tell us. Jesus healed. That’s the point. He healed those who were injured. He healed those who had a crippling disease. It didn’t matter to Jesus. Some of His miracles were on people who suffered a long time. Some had blindness since birth. Some had diseases for decades. Some had their problems longer than Jesus had been on earth.
Fifth, Jesus didn’t develop a better and healthier life policy for people. He didn’t talk about diets, exercise, sanitation, or medicines. Jesus wasn’t here to prevent or eliminate sicknesses. He didn’t come to wipe out cancer. He wasn’t trying to extend life expectancies. The abundant life that He offered was spiritual. It was walking with Him. It was living now so one could live with God later. The abundant life had nothing to do with what one ate. It wasn’t about getting outside and getting some sunshine. The abundant life was internal. It was a relationship built upon God.
Finally, in many ways you and I have become maimed spiritually. And, Jesus forgives. He doesn’t ask us why and how we did what we did. He is there to forgive. And, through the Scriptures we do learn. We see with spiritual eyes the mistakes and poor choices that we made. We understand the value of good friendships that will connect us to the Lord. We learn to think better. We learn to do better. Jesus does instruct us on how to live better spiritually. He wants us to be well spiritually.
Lame and crippled—different words but they didn’t matter to Jesus. There was no sickness, disease or injury that Jesus could not make better. Likewise, there is no person that Jesus cannot help. We must be willing. He’s there to restore, forgive, and make better, if we will only allow Him.
The miracles of Jesus teach us so much about the power, position, authority, and compassion of the Lord. What a wonderful Lord we have!