So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.
(Matthew 4:24-25 ESV)
Jesus taught and healed people in the region of Galilee, northwest of the Sea of Galilee. And as He did His fame spread.
In an age without email or telephones or any other type of mass communication people from hundreds of miles away heard about Him. This included the Decapolis (southeast of the Sea of Galilee, east of the Jordan River), Jerusalem and Judea, and other places beyond the Jordan River.
Interestingly it was both Jew and Gentile who heard about Jesus and who came to Him. Syria, the Decapolis, and the regions beyond the Jordan were Gentile lands. Jerusalem and Judea were primarily Jewish. Jesus’ appeal was universal.
People came from these regions bringing those who needed healing. And [Jesus] healed them all. There wasn’t one that He turned away. He healed physical ailments (diseases and pains). He healed psychological ailments (demons). And He healed permanent conditions (epileptics and paralytics) that doctors 2,000 years later still can’t fix.
There was nothing beyond His capabilities or His willingness to heal. Jesus came not to be served but to serve [Matthew 20:28]. He came to provide relief. As such He extended mercy to those in need. But notice that these people had to come to Him.
They came to Him because they had faith that He could heal. As I read today’s passage I wondered how many people did not come to Jesus. I wonder how many didn’t believe so they stayed home and in so doing they missed out on receiving His mercy.
The same situation remains true today. God offers us Jesus – and only Jesus – as the way to heaven [John 14:6]. It is up to us to accept that truth (i.e. “come to Jesus”). God will not force us. He lets us make that decision.
Jesus didn’t give out healings just so people could have a better life on earth, although that was part of it. No matter how healthy someone is their life on earth is just a drop of water in the ocean. The vast majority of our life will be spent in eternity. Our earthly problems, while sometimes severe, are only temporary. We have a bigger, more permanent condition that needs to be cured.
Sin affects 100% of the people on this earth. We need Jesus to cure our sin problem more than we need Him to cure our diseases, or political problems. And this is why He healed.
He healed not to draw attention to the healings themselves, but to validate His teaching of forgiveness through repentance.
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