All Current Classes Podcast
We provide a podcast of all the current classes in one podcast to make it easy to never miss a Bible class. Just copy the following podcast URL into your podcast app. www.deanbibleministries.org/podcasts/allcurrent.xml
Healing; Common Grace
Matthew Lesson #106
January 24, 2016
“Father, we recognize that we would not know truth if it were not for the truth that You have revealed to us in Your Word. As the psalmist said, it is in Your light that we see light, that our true understanding of reality is dependent upon Your revelation.
Because it is Your Word, we know that we can trust it and that we are to submit our thinking to it, that we may be rightly oriented to not only Your grace and Your love, but also to reality, that we live in a way that will honor and glorify You, that we may learn to relax in the midst of the difficulties and challenges of life, trusting You because we know that our lives are in Your hands and that you are directing our paths.
Now Father as we study today, we pray that You might help us to further understand Your Word and that God the Holy Spirit would make clear to us how we should think about things and how we should apply these principles and realities to our everyday life. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”
This morning I want us to open our Bibles to Matthew 19. In Matthew 19, I want to address two things that are going to come up just in the first couple of chapters, and that has to do with the doctrine of healing, as well as God’s common grace.
Some questions came up due to a couple of comments that Tommy had at the conference, so we’ll address that a little bit later on in the midst of this message.
So what’s happening here is we’re going into a new section in Matthew, and that’s easy to see as we read the first verse,
“Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these sayings, that He departed from Galilee and came to the region of Judea beyond the Jordan.”
What we’ll see is He is transitioning in His ministry to the last period of about five or six months prior to the Cross, prior to His arrest, trial, crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection. So this is some time in mid-fall, probably September or October, and this sets up a new direction in the Gospel of Matthew.
What we see in terms of the structure from Matthew 19:1 through Matthew 25:46, is this last period of His ministry in Jerusalem prior to the arrest and trial. He travels to Jerusalem and along the way He will increase His comments about the legalism of the Pharisees and His condemnation of their religious teaching.
Consequently, they will react more toward Him. This will culminate His ministry—culminate in His great pronouncement of judgment upon Jerusalem and Israel in the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 23–25.
So this section, Matthew 19:1–25:46 will be our focus over the next several months.
What we see in the basic division of this section is that as the antagonism and hostility increases between Jesus and the religious leaders (Matthew is going to weave into this), Jesus continuing instruction to the disciples.
He is preparing them now for their future ministry. Although He is not talking specifically about the Church Age yet, He is preparing them for what will come.
We’ll see, even with this section, again He will announce His impending death, and they just don’t believe it. They don’t want to believe it, they don’t understand it, and they want to argue with Him about it.
During this period of Matthew 19–20, He addresses the disciples in terms of some controversies that are going on. Then in Matthew 21–22, He reveals the increasing need for divine judgment on apostate Israel.
Matthew 19–20 focuses on the framework of His travels (Jesus is headed south toward Jerusalem), and the things that are encountered along the way.
Then Matthew 21–22 is more related to His instruction in different situations.
In Matthew 23–25, we see in Matthew 23 the set up for the Olivet Discourse, and then in the Olivet Discourse where He answers the disciples’ questions, “What is the sign of Your coming?” In that He predicts the judgment that will come upon Israel for their apostasy.
This pretty much sets the stage for Jesus’ arrest, for His trial, and His crucifixion.
So what we see at the beginning of Matthew 19 in these first two verses is that Jesus is on the road. He leaves Galilee in the north, and He travels to Jerusalem. When He gets to Jerusalem, He will stay in that area. He will teach in the temple. There will be further controversies with the Pharisees, and in this first section in Matthew 19–22, He will challenge the religious leaders’ teaching on marriage and divorce. He will also continue private instruction of His disciples.
He goes through various confrontations here, and there are three basic controversies that develop in Matthew 19 and 20.
1. The first controversy has to do with the Pharisees’ teaching on marriage and divorce.
2. The second controversy relates to children, as children are brought to Him for blessing in verses 13–15 of this chapter.
3. Then there is the inquiry from the rich young ruler about eternal life in Matthew 19:16 through chapter 20.
In each of these situations Jesus has to correct certain misunderstanding on the part of the disciples. This leads to further discussion and correction of these misunderstandings.
So this is the setup, and what we read at the beginning of verse 1 is the typical phrase in Matthew as He continues the story. He says, “Now it came to pass.”
As we read it from our perspective, we have a tendency to say this is what immediately follows upon chapter 18.
But in comparing this with the Gospel of Luke, it appears that some other things in Luke intervene between the end of Matthew 18 and the beginning of chapter 19.
He’s not saying immediately these things happen, but that shortly thereafter, Jesus made His way to the south. Several things would have taken place along that particular route.
This phrase that we read “Now it came to pass,” really shows Matthew’s Hebrew background, and it tells us that we’re closing out one section of his Gospel and moving to the next one. His ministry in the north now comes to a final close, and His final ministry in the south begins.
When you look at Matthew, Mark, and Luke, which are the synoptic Gospels, you don’t get the impression that He went to Jerusalem very often. They don’t talk about His ministry in the south, but if you compare with the Gospel of John, you will discover that every year Jesus went to Jerusalem, as He was supposed to as an adult Jewish male, to celebrate Passover and go to the Feast of Tabernacles. So some of those sections in John also fit within this.
Now I’m not trying to put together a complete chronology on the life of Christ, but that gives you a little bit of an idea of how these things will fit together.
What we learned from this is that following His ministry in the north, when Jesus had finished these sayings (that is teaching the disciples about forgiveness in chapter 18), then He departed from Galilee, and He began to move toward the south.
As we read this, we see that He “came to the region of Judea beyond the Jordon.” The perspective here is a little bit different. It appears that either He moved south and then crossed over to the east side of the Jordan [River], or it’s written from the perspective of someone who’s writing from the east side of the Jordan. There’s a lot of discussion about that.
Here’s a map which gives you a little perspective geographically. He’s been in the north. Here we have the town of Nazareth.
For those who’ve been to Israel with me, here’s Sepphoris, which is a Roman town and later would become the capital of Galilee.
Nazareth was a very small town. There’s only about three or four miles between Nazareth and Sepphoris. This was probably the area where Joseph worked a lot as someone in construction, as they were building Sepphoris during most of the time that Jesus was growing up.
This blue area right here is the southern part of the Sea of Galilee.
The green line on this map marks out the route we think Jesus took on this trip down to the south.
He would have come down to the northern part of Samaria, which allows us to fit this in with Luke 17:11, which talks about Him going into Samaria. He wouldn’t have traveled all the way through Samaria, but He would have crossed back towards the Jordan.
Here’s the Jordan running from the Sea of Galilee south to the Dead Sea.
He crossed back over to this city, Scythopolis, which is better known for most of you who’ve been to Israel with me as Beit Shean. It was one of the ten cities of the Decapolis, which is a Greek term meaning literally ten cities; “DECA” for ten and “POLIS” for cities. The other nine were all on the east side of the Jordan.
This was named for the fact that it was probably originally settled by Scythians who had been serving within the Greek army a couple of centuries before as mercenaries and settled here.
Scythia was the name for Russia in the ancient times. So these were Russians who have come down here and settled. It’s quite an extensive archeological site today.
Beit Shean is actually the old Jewish city, which is on a Tel just behind Scythopolis. It was at Beit Shean that the Philistines hung the decapitated bodies of Saul and Jonathan after they were killed at the battle there at Mount Gilboa.
So Jesus would have followed this green line, which is roughly where the highway runs today, moving along the Jordan down to the south. He possibly crossed over, but it looks like from the description He probably stayed on the east side until He got down towards Jericho.
He may have crossed over—I think the language here could go either way—crossed over to Bethany beyond the Jordan, which is where John the Baptist had originally carried out his baptism ministry.
There we’re told that as He came to this region, great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them there.
This is the second to last statement in the Gospel of Matthew about Jesus’ healing. There are a number of these other statements that are made about His healing that are general statements related to the healing ministry of our Lord.
We need to stop a little bit and take some time to understand the purpose for His healing ministry.
There’s so much confusion among Christians today because of the so-called healing movement, the healing revivals, the healing evangelists that came out of the aberration of the Charismatic Movement back in the late 40s and early 50s.
It has caused a tremendous amount of trauma among a lot of Christians, as you have people who suffer from debilitating diseases and especially during those years—if you think back to the period in the late 40s, early 50s—that was when this country was still going through some of the large polio epidemics.
The last major polio epidemic that occurred in this country was centered in Harris County in 1952, and it was in that polio epidemic that my mother contracted polio. She was in a wheel chair paralyzed from the waist down all of my life, and I never saw her walk until I saw a video a few years ago that my uncle had taken some years, a couple of years before she had polio.
When I was a kid, I always prayed. I would pray every night, my nightly prayers, that my mother would be healed. I had the faith of a child.
The reason I say that is because one of the things that happens in this aberration, this false teaching about healing today, is the guilt complex that’s put on so many people, that if you aren’t healed, it’s because you don’t have the right kind of faith, you don’t have the faith of a child.
It’s all because there’s a distortion and a misunderstanding of healing in the Scriptures.
Healing occurs in the Old Testament in a few places like with Elijah, Elisha. In a couple of other examples, it occurs in the ministry of Jesus, and it occurs in the ministry of the apostles.
But it was not expected to be something normative in any age, or normative even in the Church Age, and it is a distortion—what we find within the Charismatic teaching—of what the Bible teaches about the role of suffering and the role of adversity in the life of a believer.
So we need to take a little bit of time just to understand the role of healing in Scripture. This was in the New Testament in the period of the life of Christ and in the period of the disciples.
Healing was something that was not something they did everywhere. It’s not the primary focus of Jesus’ ministry; it wasn’t the primary focus of the apostles’ ministry, but it served as establishing their credentials as having a ministry from God.
2 Corinthians 12 tells us that the signs of the apostles included signs, and wonders, and healing. It gave evidence of their calling from God, and it functioned in much the same way in Jesus’ ministry.
Now as we’ve gone through Matthew, we’ve seen some specific instances where Jesus healed, but there are a number of statements that are made related to Jesus just generally healing the masses. When Jesus healed in these environments, it was not a situation what was predicated upon the faith of the recipient of the healing.
A person may or may not have had faith in Jesus. Sometimes a person was brought to Jesus by someone who had faith, but they did not have faith.
Sometimes it had nothing to do with their faith at all, but was a manifestation of the common grace of God, God’s goodness to all mankind without regard to their status as being saved or unsaved. It is God’s grace initiating its outreach towards the human race.
So let’s just look briefly at some of the passages. There’s an interesting structure here that I discovered going through this, but let’s just hit some of these verses.
At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in Matthew 4:23, we’re told, “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.”
“Then His fame went throughout all Syria”—now Syria is going outside of the land into the land of the Gentiles. But these are general statements that describe the outreach of Jesus to a vast number of individuals. It’s just a summary that He healed all kinds of people, all kinds of diseases. As a result of that, as His fame spread, people brought to Him those who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, including those who were demon possessed; epileptics, paralytics, and He healed them.
Then in Matthew 8:16 we’re told—again a general statement—“When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick.”
So there are two categories of people: those who are afflicted with demon possession and those who had physical illnesses, and Jesus heals all who were sick. There’s no condition placed. He didn’t say those who are sick and have faith in Him. It was all who were sick.
In Matthew 9:35 we read, “Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages”—this was in Galilee—“teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.”
That verse connects back to the summary statement in Matthew 4 where it connects His preaching of the gospel of the kingdom with healing.
That’s important when you understand the Messianic prophecies—that one of the ways you would know and identify the Messiah is that He would come and would heal diseases. So this is a sign of His Messianic status.
Matthew 10:1, “When He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.”
Then in Matthew 10:8, they went out and they “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons”—This is Jesus’ command of them to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons—“Freely you have received, freely give.”
What we see here is four instances of general, gracious ministry to the people in Galilee where Jesus or His disciples are healing people. What’s interesting structurally in Matthew is there are four statements of this general healing ministry prior to the confrontation with the Pharisees in Matthew 12, and then there’s going to be four more general statements after Jesus is rejected by the Pharisees.
That emphasizes the fact that even in an environment of increasing hostility, you see Jesus’ grace in healing the people without regard for their faith in Him, and that’s not made a condition or issue.
Now, of course, the issue of His confrontation with the Pharisees and their rejection of Him as Messiah and claiming that He cast out demons in the power of Beelzebub is seen in Matthew 12:10 and following. There are three statements here related to His healing in Matthew 12:10, 12:15.
Matthew 12:15 gives us again a general statement in the midst of that confrontation with and the lead up to that confrontation with the Pharisees, “Great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all.”
Then in Matthew 12:22 there’s the healing of the one who is demon possessed, who is blind and mute. That’s the occasion that set off the opposition from the Pharisees.
Then we have these additional statements made in Matthew 14:14, when Jesus went out, “He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.”
Then in Matthew 15:30 we read “Great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them.”
In Matthew 19:2, the passage we’re looking at, “Great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them there.”
And Matthew 21:14, “Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them.”
Now why does this take place?
We must understand that this takes place as a result of establishing His credentials as the Messiah.
But it is also an outworking of God’s common grace.
Common grace is one of several categories of grace that are talked about and summarized by theologians.
Common grace is for all mankind without regard to their soteriological status, without regard to whether they are saved or not.
This is God sending the rain upon the good and the evil alike. It is God’s general revelation of Himself reaching out and initiating to all mankind with the non-verbal evidence of His existence.
That’s one of the important words that we have learned about grace—that grace is God’s initiative towards mankind.
As Tommy [Ice] commented in the conference last week—and this is a question I had from several people—he made the statement that nobody can respond to God, nobody’s seeking God unless God seeks you. Although Tommy’s a little more Calvinistic than I am, that is a true statement:
God is the One Who is always initiating grace. It starts with His common grace, which is related to His general revelation.
We see passages like Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.”
This is the non-verbal witness of general revelation. There are two categories of revelation that we’ve seen: general revelation and special revelation.
General revelation is non-verbal. As we look at the creation, we see the evidence of a Creator. We see His fingerprints on everything from the smallest particle in the universe to the greatest macro elements of creation in terms of galaxies and solar systems, etc.
Romans 1:18 and following is another key passage for understanding God’s general revelation. It starts with Romans 1:18, “For the wrath of God”—Paul is developing why God is judging the human race.
The wrath of God is the expression of God’s justice and condemnation of the human race—“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,”
Why?—“because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.”
That means every human being has an internal witness that reflects and echoes the external witness. It is manifest in everyone.
The most profound atheist, like Christopher Hitchens, knows in the core of his soul, in the bowels of his heart, that God exists, but he is suppressing that truth in unrighteousness.
Interestingly enough, if you didn’t catch it in the news in the last couple of weeks, he came out with this statement that he—and here’s one of the most vocal critics of Christianity and of theism around, as he expresses his atheism—made the comment that Christianity may be the only hope for western civilization to fight off the barbarity of Islam. Interesting comment.
So he at least recognizes a practical value to Christianity even he doesn’t believe that there is a God.
So Paul goes on to say, “For since the creation of the world His”—His, that is God’s—“invisible attributes”—His omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence—“are clearly seen”—now isn’t that interesting, the juxtaposition of invisible with clearly seen.
That means that even though His attributes are invisible (they lie behind the physical manifestation), man clearly understands that they are there. Verse 20, they are “understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”
There’s enough of a witness. There’s enough evidence in creation itself to hold every human being accountable for the knowledge of God. So they cannot say, “Well, we never heard. We never knew.” The Scripture says, “Yes, you did.” You saw, you heard, you witnessed creation, and as a result of that, you knew internally, inside your heart, you knew that God existed, but you suppressed it.
That’s what is described in verse 21, “Because although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
Now that’s how God initiates His common grace towards mankind—in terms of providing a witness for who He is and of His person and of His grace. That’s the foundation of Paul’s argument.
There’s another way in which God’s common grace is also expressed towards the human race in terms of initiating grace towards salvation and the understanding of the gospel. This is seen in John 16:7–11.
Now there are some fascinating things that go on in this passage that I’ve been studying a little bit recently. Jim Myers and I had some great conversations about this when I was over in Ukraine. But the one thing I want to point out from this is that when Jesus is talking to His disciples, this is the conclusion of the upper room discourse on the night before He goes to the Cross.
He’s going to finish in Matthew 16, pray for the disciples and the church in Matthew 17—the high priestly prayer. Then He’s going to go to the Garden of Gethsemane. So this is one of the very last things that He says.
He tells the disciples, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper”—which is the term PARAKLETOS, meaning the helper, the comforter, referring to the Holy Spirit—“if I don’t go away, the Helper will not come to you, but if I depart, I will send Him to you.”
We have to go on to the next phase in God’s plan.
Then Jesus said, “And when He has come, He will”—do the following: He will—“convict the world …”
Notice this is the same kind of structure and vocabulary that we have in John 3:16. For God loved what? The world. That is the inhabited world of mankind. Those who are unsaved.
God demonstrated His love towards us. Paul says in Romans 5:8 that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
So the term “world” includes believers and unbelievers.
Unlike Five-Point Calvinism, the term “world” is not hidden, coded language that it’s the elect in the world. It includes both believers and unbelievers.
So the Holy Spirit is sent to convict the world, and of course, this would primarily focus on unbelievers because believers would have already understood this and responded to the gospel.
He comes to “convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” This is the initiative of God’s grace. God is seeking all mankind to respond to the gospel.
When we respond, it is because God has already initiated that outreach, and that is clear from passages such as this. God sent the Holy Spirit, and when He came, He convicted the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.
The next stage in terms of the expansion of narrowing the focus of God’s common grace comes from a verse in John 6:44. Now in the five points of Calvinism, this is the proof text that they go to for what is called “efficacious grace” or “irresistible grace.”
In Calvinism, what that means is that no unbeliever can come to the Lord unless God specifically draws them, that He will only draw the elect, and it is an irresistible drawing. But this ignores an important aspect of this context, and that is a real problem.
“No one can come to Me,” Jesus says, “unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” Again, it’s emphasizing the priority of God’s grace initiating itself in calling and bringing a person to Himself through the Cross.
But how does He do this?
See, in Calvinism in efficacious grace, this is not done through a secondary means. It is interpreted to mean that God the Holy Spirit does it, but the Holy Spirit isn’t mentioned in the passage. So this is used to say that God will only draw the one who is elect.
So Jesus says, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” Well, how does the Father draw Him?
You don’t stop at the end of this verse. You have to go to the next verse to understand fully what Jesus is saying here.
In John 6:45 we read, “It is written in the prophets,” —and He quotes from Isaiah 44:18–20— “And they shall all be taught by God.”
How will God teach them?
If you look at the context, God teaches through His Word. So when you put this together, what we see is the way the Father draws people to Himself is through the teaching of His Word and the proclamation of the gospel.
What we see is a broad sense of God’s common grace where He is giving general revelation of Himself to every human being, so that they are without excuse. It is clear to every human being that He exists.
Then the focus is narrowed more in the Church Age, for God the Holy Spirit has come. And God the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, judgment, and righteousness.
Then third, we see that there is a specific work of the Holy Spirit—I think it was the Holy Spirit drawing people to the Cross through the proclamation of the Gospel.
But there is nothing within this passage that is saying that this applies only to the elect. But it clearly states the initiative of God prior to the response of the believer.
God is the One who is reaching out into a fallen world. That’s John 3:16. That’s John 16:6 and following. So that is clear. God is the One reaching out through common grace.
Now what do we learn about the healing ministry of Jesus? This again reflects God’s common grace because He is healing everyone without excluding unbelievers.
In terms of understanding Jesus’ ministry, we must first of all recognize that during the first advent, Jesus was proclaiming the kingdom. He’s presenting Himself as the Messiah of the Old Testament and that the healings were a sign of His authenticity, giving credibility to His claim that He was the Messiah.
We see in these prophesies in the Old Testament that the Messiah would come in Isaiah 42:7 “to open blind eyes.” The Pharisees thought that this was one of the unique signs of the Messiah, that no one else could perform this kind of a miracle.
“To open the eyes of the blind”—it’s going to be repeated again in Isaiah 35:5. “To open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon, and those who dwell in darkness from the prison”—that is spiritual darkness and spiritual prisoners.
In Isaiah 29:18, “And on that day”—referring to the kingdom—“the deaf shall hear words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see.”
In Isaiah 35:4–6, “Say to those with anxious heart, ‘Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance’ ”—that is God will eventually vindicate Israel in history when He established the kingdom—“ ‘The recompense of God will come, but He will save you.’ ”
“Then”—that is at the time the Messiah comes and establishes His kingdom—“the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.”
“Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb will shout for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness and streams in the Arabah.”
So when Jesus comes and heals people from all their sicknesses or their diseases; illnesses, blindness, leprosy, all these things, He’s giving His credentials and a preview of coming attractions, if they will accept the kingdom.
Jeremiah 8:22 says, “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has not the health of the daughter of my people been restored?”—It would be restored when the kingdom was established.
And in Jeremiah 33:6, “Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them; and I will reveal to them an abundance of peace and truth.”—This is what would characterize the kingdom.
Now first thing we ought to see in terms of healing in Jesus’ ministry is that it was never done for the sake of healing. He doesn’t heal anyone just to provide that physical benefit.
If that was His purpose, He would have gone to the hospitals of the day, the places where the sick were and just gone around the villages healing people. But that’s not what He did. There was discrimination in His healing. I guess that means Jesus can’t be politically correct. He only healed in specific circumstances and specific situations.
If we look at this, I’m going to run through some of these fairly quickly, so we understand what’s going on and why Jesus performed these miracles and their context:
1. In Matthew 8:17, we are told that this is a fulfillment of a passage in Isaiah 53:16. And so this foreshadows a Messianic fulfillment.
2. In Matthew 9:6, the healing of the paralyzed man was to demonstrate that Jesus had the authority to forgive sins. If He could heal a paralytic, then He could forgive sins.
3. In Matthew 11:2–19, the healings that He refers to there were to confirm His identity to John the Baptist when he was in prison. This is when John says, “Is the kingdom really going to come? Are you really the Messiah?” And Jesus told His followers, “Go back and tell them what is happening, that the blind see, the lepers are cleansed.” So this confirmed His identity.
4. In Matthew 12:15–21, the passages quote from Isaiah 42:1–4 foreshadowing His identity as the Messiah.
5. In John 9 He heals the blind man. Remember He spits on the ground, takes the mud puts it on his eyes, and he’s healed. It brings sight to the blind. Jesus is demonstrating that He is the One who will bring light to Israel. Only Jesus could heal the blind. No one else did. This is a specific sign.
6. In John 11:4, He is going to raise Lazarus from the dead. And that’s designed to demonstrate the glory of God.
7. In John 20:30–31, the healing is to demonstrate the various miraculous evidences that verify Jesus’ Messianic claims.
8. Then when we get on into Acts, we learn from Peter’s sermon in Acts 2 that God the Father was authenticating Jesus’ claims through these miracles of healing.
Now we see examples of two kinds of things with Jesus’ healing:
The first is that these are situations where the faith of the recipient was not present at the time of healing. There are numerous examples of that.
1. We see this in the healing of the nobleman’s son. The nobleman came to Jesus, not the son. So the son is healed, and afterwards he became a believer.
2. The cripple at Bethesda was not a believer, but afterwards he became a believer. So he’s not being healed because of his faith.
3. The demon-possessed man in Capernaum is healed on the Sabbath. He was not a believer.
4. The paralyzed man was healed. His friends had faith and brought him to Jesus. He did not have faith.
5. The centurion’s servant: the centurion had faith, not the servant.
6. The blind and mute man in Matthew 12:22 did not have faith either.
7. The deaf mute, that demon possessed man in Matthew 9:32–33 did not have faith.
8. The Canaanite woman’s daughter: the mother had faith, not the daughter.
9. The deaf mute in Decapolis did not have faith.
10. The demon possessed boy in Matthew 17:14–18 does not have faith.
11. When Maichus, the temple servant, had his ear chopped off by Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane, he didn’t have faith. Jesus just picked his ear up and put it back on. He didn’t have faith.
12. The two blind men healed in Matthew 9 did not expect it. They didn’t have faith.
13. Nine of the ten lepers Jesus healed did not respond in faith. Only one did.
So we have numerous examples in Scripture where faith was not the condition for healing, but that is what we often hear from these so-called healing evangelists today.
There were a number of examples where faith was also present in the recipient.
1. There’s the healing of the leper.
2. The healing of the crippled hand in Matthew 12:9–13.
3. The man that’s born blind
4. The healing I mentioned a minute ago in John 9.
5. Restoring sight to blind Bartemaeus in Matthew 20.
6. The woman with the hemorrhage in Matthew 9:20–22.
7. And one of the ten lepers responded in faith.
These all had faith and trusted in Jesus.
So what we see when we look at these first two verses in Matthew 19, as we’re transitioning into this next section, is that Jesus is demonstrating the grace of God—that the grace of God has been initiated to reach out to man, not as a response to man’s faith or his positive volition, but to reach into the world of fallen sinners in order to bring them to Himself.
It is God who is initiating, God who is seeking, God who is reaching out to all mankind. God does this through various means through general revelation, through the preaching of His Word, and through the verbal witness of believers who are giving their testimony and witnessing to those who are lost.
With our heads bowed and eyes closed.
“Now Father, we thank You for this time to reflect upon Your grace, that You are the One who initiates in history to reach out to the lost, to draw us to Yourself through various means; through non-verbal general revelation, through the Holy Spirit who is now convicting the world, and through the proclamation and teaching of Your Word.
Father, we pray that if there’s anyone listening that has never trusted in Christ as Savior, is unsure of their salvation, or uncertain of their eternal destiny, that they would take this opportunity to make that both sure and certain.
Scripture makes it very clear that all have sinned and fallen short of Your Glory, that we are all born in condemnation for Adam’s sin, and we’re born spiritually dead. And the only way that that can be reversed is to trust in Jesus Christ, that He paid the penalty for our sins on the Cross.
But the issue is whether or not we will accept that. It’s offered as a free gift. We do nothing to earn it or deserve it. We simply accept it.
The instant that we trust in Christ, the instant we trust in Jesus’ completed work on the Cross where He paid the penalty, at that moment we have eternal life. It can never be taken from us. We’re given His righteousness. We’re born again, and we have a new destiny to spend eternity with you.
Now Father, we pray that You would challenge us with the things that we have learned today, trusting in You that even when we go through adversity and difficulties, and they involve physical suffering and illness and disease, we know that You are working those things out for Your glory. And we pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”