Matthew 12:15-21; Mark 3:7-12; Luke 6:17-19
“Everyone tried to touch him, because healing power went out from him, and he healed everyone.” – Luke 6:19 NLT
Having read the stories surrounding Jesus’ earthly ministry for so long, it can be easy to become callous about the countless miracles He performed. We read about Jesus casting out demons, restoring sight to the blind, causing the lame to walk, the mute to speak, and making the diseased completely whole as if they were everyday occurrences in our world. For many of us, the miracles of Jesus have become mundane. They have lost their power and significance. But imagine what it must have been like in those days. Consider what the atmosphere surrounding Jesus would have felt like as hundreds, if not thousands of people flocked to Him everywhere He went, all in the hopes of being healed by Jesus. Think about it. There were few doctors in those days. Medical care was scarce and disease was a regular part of everyday life. Injuries and ailments abounded and there was little people could do about it except suffer with it. The general misconception was that most disease and illness was a result of sin, so there was a social stigma attached to it as well. So if given a chance to be made well, who wouldn’t have jumped at it? And the rumor was that all you had to do was touch Jesus and you would be made whole. That’s why Luke adds, “Everyone tried to touch him, because healing power went out from him, and he healed everyone.” Jesus wasn’t just a celebrity, He was a source of hope and expectation for thousands of people who had long ago given up and resigned themselves to a life of pain, suffering and despair.
So the people came from all over – north, south, east and west. Luke says “there were people from all over Judea and from Jerusalem and from as far north as the seacoasts of Tyre and Sidon” (Luke 6:15 NLT). Many walked for miles just to get to where Jesus was. They may have journeyed for days to get to the village where Jesus was last known to have been seen, only to find out that He had moved on. But in spite of their infirmities and disabilities, they kept pursuing Jesus. Their need drove them. Their helplessness motivated them. Their hope that Jesus could do something for them energized them. And Mark tells us that there were so many of them that Jesus had to tell “his disciples to have a boat ready so the crowd would not crush him” (Mark 3:9 NLT).
Jesus had healing power. So much so, that just to touch the hem of His robe would activate that power in a person’s life. A little later on in the Gospels we have the story of the woman who had suffered for years from constant bleeding. She had spent all her money pursuing treatment from doctors, but was simply poorer as a result, not better. In fact, she had actually gotten worse. Mark tells us, “She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. For she thought to herself, ‘If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.’ Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition” (Mark 5:27-29 NLT). Jesus was immediately aware that something had happened. Even in all the pushing and shoving of the crowd, He noticed that “healing power had gone out from him” (Mark 5:30 NLT). And that power revolutionized a woman’s life forever. Jesus told her, “God in peace. Your suffering is over” (Mark 5:34 NLT).
The miracles of Jesus were designed to reveal who He was and to reinforce His claim to be the Son of God. The demons certainly had no problem recognizing that reality. Every time Jesus cast one of them out of an individual, they would scream, “You are the Son of God!” There was no doubt in their demented minds that Jesus was just who He claimed to be. His power was self-evident to them. They were no match for Jesus. And while the people who happened to receive healing from Jesus may not have fully understood who Jesus really was, they had no trouble recognizing the fact that He had healing power. They had experienced it first hand. Their lives had been changed by it. They were walking billboards of Jesus’ miraculous healing power. And we should be too. Each one of us who have been healed from the deadly disease of sin should be a living testimony to the healing power of Jesus. We have not only been healed, we have been given new life. We were dead, lifeless and hopeless, with no means to do anything about our situation. Like the woman in the story, we had exhausted all our resources trying to fix our situation ourselves, only to be worse off than when we started. But Jesus touched us. His healing power transformed us. We immediately went from being spiritually dead to alive. He removed our sinfulness from us and replaced it with His righteousness. He took away our disease and replaced it with wholeness. He did for us what we could never have done for ourselves. But we run the risk of treating our miraculous transformation just like we do the stories of Jesus’ healings in the Scriptures. It can become old hat and pedestrian, losing its significance. We can easily forget what Jesus has done for us. We can take our healing for granted and allow our miraculous salvation to become mundane. Which is why we need to remind ourselves daily of what has happened and what Jesus has done. We must see ourselves in the lives of the people in these stories. We shared their hopelessness and helplessness. We were just as despairing. We were outcast and rejects, deformed and disfigured by sin. But when all hope was lost, the healing power of Jesus touched and transformed us. And our suffering was over.
Father, never let me take for granted the amazing transformation that has taken place in my life through the healing power of Your Son. I don’t want it to become old hat and old news. May I constantly be amazed at just what has happened in my life because of Your love and Jesus sacrificial death in my place. I am healed and whole. I am alive and well. I am sinless and righteous before Your eyes because of what Jesus has done for me. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men