Matthew 18:16 “When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill.”
I am currently teaching a class, via video, on the miracles of Jesus. Fascinating discoveries and insights into the life of our Messiah. There was no disease that He could not cure. There was never a situation in which Jesus shook His head and said, “I’m sorry, nothing more can be done.” Never! And, it is remarkable to see how the crowds were filled with injured, diseased and sick people. They all wanted Jesus to heal them. They wanted physical wellness. There is no way to know how many Jesus healed. Our verse is one of many that generically tells us that Jesus healed all who were in that crowd. Village after village He did that.
But there is something of interest to me about all of this. Jesus healed these sick, diseased and injured people, sometimes, the people did not even know who Jesus was. What happened after these people got well? When Jesus cleansed the ten lepers, He told them to go show themselves to the priest. They had begged for mercy from Jesus. He did what no one else could do. In that specific story, one leper, the Samaritan, returned to thank Jesus. The other nine, gone. Went to the priest as Jesus said. After that? Probably went home. Probably returned to a normal life again. Back to work. Back to social interactions. Back to family. Back to whatever life had been like before.
And, this is what I wonder about. They got what they wanted. They got the impossible. They got a miracle. They got healing. But now that they got well, did they need Jesus anymore? He changed their lives. He gave them future and hope. He gave them what no one else could. Yet, I just wonder how many never saw Jesus again. I wonder how many went back to their lives, joyous to have a life and never realizing that Jesus had so much more to give them. He had eternal life for them. He had salvation. Their disease and injuries was not near as serious as their plight with sin was. The diseases end with death. Sin kills us spiritually. It transcends death and impacts our eternity. Did these folks get that? Did they know that there was something that they needed much more than wellness of their bodies?
Of course, that very thought must be put before us. Have I gotten from Jesus what I needed or wanted and now I am good and I do not need Him? Have I put him on a shelf. I know where He is. If I need Him, I’ll just reach out and take Him down. But for now, I’m doing ok.
Paul had a different Heavenly view of things. He gladly said that “Christ lives in me.” He had not gotten all that he wanted from the Lord. He wanted the Lord in His life all the time. There doesn’t have to be a problem. Things do not have to be wrong. I think we often view our relationship with the Lord like a husband and wife conversation. The wife says to her husband, “We need to talk.” He immediately thinks, “I’m in trouble,” or, “I forgot something important.” The husband dreads the “we need to talk” conversations. To him, it usually goes this way. She talks and he listens. She tells him what he needs to do and then he needs to do it. And, in some way, that can describe how we feel about our relationship with the Lord. Too much of Jesus around and He’ll likely say, “We need to talk.” And, we know that will be a one sided conversation that won’t end well for us. So, to avoid that, we get what we need from Jesus. The sick got healed. Then they went home. We get forgiveness. Then we go about our lives.
When you look at that, it sure looks like people were taking advantage of Jesus. They got what they wanted and then they didn’t need Him anymore. And, could that be the same for us? We want problems to go away. We want to feel well. We get those things and then we think, “I’m good.” Don’t need anything else.
Here are a few things to consider:
First, in any relationship, the more we put into it, the more energy, effort, time, dedication we commit to it, the greater it is for all involved. It’s that way with our families. It’s that way with our fellowship. It’s that way with the Lord. The more you pour into your faith, walk and love to the Lord, the stronger, closer and more confident you will be. You don’t need Jesus only for problems and valleys. You need Jesus all the time.
You can tell the people who have done what Paul said, allowed Christ to live in them. You can see it in their attitudes. You see it in their willingness to serve. You see it in the joy that they carry in their hearts.
Second, having Jesus with you all the time and being one who follows, thinks, prays and worships the Lord every day, will likely generate fewer problems in your life. This doesn’t mean you won’t get sick or some day the car won’t start. But many of our problems are caused because we allow worry, fear and doubt to dominate us. Not being as close to the Lord as we ought to be, we make the choices that are not the best. We lean more toward self more than the Lord. We are patient more when we are walking closely to the Lord. We don’t let things bother us as much when we are walking closely to the Lord. We forgive more. We extend grace more. We are kinder and more gentle when we are with the Lord.
Third, our outlook in general improves when we are with the Lord. We are a people whose destination is Heaven. Hopeful, optimistic and joyful are the common qualities found with those who are near the Lord. Dark thoughts. Negative attitudes. Sour moods. Defeatist spirit. That thinking just doesn’t belong with the Lord.
Many of those who were healed actually believed. And, I expect many on that day of Pentecost, when Peter was preaching connected the dots. They had seen the miracles. They had heard about Jesus. Now, they came to understand. And, at Pentecost, many turned their lives over to the Lord. Salvation was the greatest healing Jesus ever did.
I need Thee every hour—more than just a hymn, a truism and a reality in our lives. Oh, the difference Jesus can make.