“Emmanuel’s Restoration Part 2” – Matthew 8:14-17

May 31st, 2015

Matthew 8:14-17

“Emmanuel’s Restoration Pt. 2”

Service Orientation: Jesus has authority over all.  But it cost Him dearly to remove the curse we introduced into the world so He could begin the restoration that will ultimately redeem the cosmos.


Bible Memory Verse for the Week:  Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. —  Isaiah 53:4


Background Information:

  • Peter and Andrew had lived in Bethsaida (John 1:44), but now lived in Capernaum where they were fishermen. Jesus and the disciples probably stayed in Peter’s home during their visits to Capernaum (see Mk 2:1; 3:20; 9:33; 10:10).  (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary–Matthew, 156)
  • The first thing many male Jews did every morning was to pray, “Lord, I thank Thee that I was not born a slave, a Gentile, or a woman.” In the first two miracles of Matthew 8, Jesus showed mercy and compassion not only to an outcast leper but to an outcast Gentile and his slave.  Now He shows mercy and compassion to a woman. The proud, self-righteous Jewish men could not have missed Jesus’ point:  physical health, race, social status, or gender made no difference to Him.  (John F. MacArthur, Jr., The MacArthur New Testament Commentary–Matthew 8-15, 15)
  • Notice who gets the help in these three miracles in Matthew 8: a leper, a Roman soldier, and a woman.  All three were victims of social stigma and prejudice in their day.  “Good people,” especially good religious leaders, avoided close contact with those types.  Yet Jesus served them all.  (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary–Matthew, 158)
  • In those days women were viewed as second-class citizens. In the Jewish synagogue, for example, “women were placed behind screens, to the rear, as in modern Muslim mosques.”  Furthermore, “in some Jewish traditions, touching a woman [or even a woman’s hand like Jesus did here] would make [you] unclean or unholy.  Jewish Halakah forbade touching persons with many kinds of fever (SBK, 1:479f.).”  Along the same lines, one of the Eighteen Benedictions prayed each day by any devout Jewish man was, “Lord, I thank Thee that I was not born a slave, a Gentile, or a woman”.  (Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Matthew–All Authority in Heaven and on Earth, 209)
  • (v. 14) When Jesus was in Capernaum, his headquarters were in the house of Peter, for Jesus never had any home of his own. Peter was married, and legend has it that in the after days Peter’s wife was his helper in the work of the gospel.  Clement of Alexandria (Stromateis 7:6) tells us that Peter and his wife were martyred together.  Peter, so the story runs, had the grim ordeal of seeing his wife suffer before he suffered himself.  (William Barclay, The Daily Bible Study Series–The Gospel of Matthew, 307)
  • (v. 14) Peter was a married man. At a later period his wife accompanied him on his evangelistic journeys (I Cor 9:5).  During Christ’s earthly ministry Peter’s wife’s mother was living with her daughter and son-in-law.  Peter’s brother Andrew was also living in that same house, as Mark informs us.  (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary–Matthew, 398)
  • (v. 14) We do not know the cause of the fever, but the facts that it was high and that the woman was too sick to get up suggest an extremely serious and probably life-threatening illness. The demands of everyday living did not allow most people in that day the luxury of going to bed whenever they felt bad.   Physical pain and discomfort were a regular part of life, and, unless they were severe, did not normally interfere with a person’s responsibilities.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 8-15, 16)
  • (v. 14) In the regions where the Jordan River entered and left the sea of Galilee there was marshy ground; there the malarial mosquitoes bred and flourished, and both Capernaum and Tiberias were areas where malaria was very prevalent. It was often accompanied by jaundice and ague, and was a most wretched and miserable experience for the sufferer from it.  It was most likely malaria from which Peter’s wife’s mother was suffering.  (William Barclay, The Daily Bible Study Series–The Gospel of Matthew, 308)
  • (v. 14) This is one of the few miracles wrought on one of His more immediate followers. The Resurrection of Lazarus, so like this in many respects, is the only other.  (Alexander MacLaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture, 387)
  • (v. 15) Jewish Halakah forbade touching persons with many kinds of fever (SBK, 1:479f.). But Jesus healed with a touch (v. 15).  As in v. 3, the touch did not defile the healer but healed the defiled.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Vol. 8, 204)
  • (v. 15) Jesus healed her also, and as a measure of how thorough was her healing, she got out of her bed and served Jesus and those with Him. The Greek word that is used here is diakoneo, from which we get the word deacon.  This is appropriate, for the only legitimate response to the healing power of Jesus is to serve Him.  (RC Sproul, St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary–Matthew, 231)
  • (v. 16) The Greek word for “brought” is phero, meaning “to carry a burden or move by carrying.” Since there were no ambulance services, many people literally carried the ill to Peter’s home so Jesus could heal them.  The verb is in the imperfect tense, signifying continuous action.  A steady stream of sick and demon-possessed people were being carried to Jesus.  (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary–Matthew, 157)
  • (v. 16) His summary of Jesus’ ministry of exorcism and healing (the two types of deliverance being as usual carefully distinguished in the term used for both diagnosis and cure) is brief and lacking in detail.  The one notable feature here is the mention that, in contrast with the elaborate incantations and techniques used by other exorcists at the time, Jesus drove out demons simply “with a command,” the same wording which was used by the centurion in v. 8, thus again emphasizing Jesus’ unquestionable authority.  (R.T. France, The New International Commentary on the New Testament–The Gospel of Matthew, 321)
  • It is generally understood since the work of C.H. Dodd (According to the Scriptures) that when the NT quotes a brief OT passage, it often refers implicitly to the entire context of the quotation. This is very likely here, for Matthew has a profound understanding of the OT.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Vol. 8, 205)
  • Remember, that whilst the great proportion of our Lord’s miracle are miracles of healing, we are sure that the whole of the recorded miraculous works of our Lord are the smallest fraction of what He really did. (Alexander MacLaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture, 389)


The question to be answered is . . . What does Matthew want us to see in these four verses of His Gospel?


Answer:  First, that Jesus has authority over everything in the cosmos.  Second, that it cost Him dearly to merit that authority so He could redeem and restore the world we cursed by our sin.


The Word for the Day is . . . Authority


What does Matthew want us to see in these four verses of His Gospel?:

I-  Jesus has authority over all.  It is your responsibility submit to Him as Lord of your life.  (Isa 9:6-7; 61:1-3; Dn 7:13-14; Mt 7:21-23, 29; 10:37-38; 16:24; 28:18; Mk 1:40; 8:34; Lk 5:12; 9:23; 14:27; Jn 13:3; Phil 2:9-11; Rv 17:14)


The demon-possessed were cleansed, the evil spirits that were in control over them being driven out by Christ’s word of power.  Was not this a sign that the kingdom of God was asserting its claims in a very special way, that Satan’s power was being curtailed, now as never before, that is, that “the strong man” was being bound?  (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary–Matthew, 400)


For a rabbi to touch a woman who was not his spouse was against Pharisaic regulations; for him to touch a person with a fever was prohibited by Jewish law.  Jesus did both in order to heal a sick person, as well as to show his authority.  (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary–Matthew, 156)


Jesus’ authority has been established by his Word and his power.  The Scriptures are explicit about his authority (note the relationship of authority with each of the following):  he has authority to teach (Mt 7:29; Mk 1:22, 27; Lk 4:32); to exorcize (Mt 8:28-34; 9:1-8; Mk 1:23-27; Lk 4:35-36); to heal (Mt 8:1-17; 12:15, 16; Mk 1:29-34; Lk 4:38-31); to forgive (Mt 9:2-8; Mk 2:3-12; Lk 5:18-26; cf. Ps 103:3); to judge (Jn 5:27; 17:2); to give life (Jn 10:28; 17:2); to empower (Mt 28:18-20).  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Luke, Vol. One, 152)


The gospel accounts are filled with incidents of demon activity and even resistance to the ministry of Christ.  His power over their influence further vindicates His divine Mmssiahship.  (Edward Hinson, The Gospel of Matthew–The King is Coming, 89)


The linkage between healing sickness and forgiving sins is carried into the next section as well.  In verses 12 and 13 Jesus tells the Pharisees and everyone else who may have been complaining about his association with tax collectors and sinners, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick…I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (vv. 12-13).  In each of these stories, sickness is used as an illustration of sin–we might call the disease “sin-sickness”–and Jesus’ healing of those who are physically sick becomes an outward demonstration of the Lord’s more important authority over sin and his ability to forgive it.  (James Montgomery Boice, An Expositional Commentary–The Gospel of Matthew, Volume 1, 126)


Matthew recorded this detail to show that her healing was instant and complete.  She didn’t need time to recuperate from her illness; she was immediately well enough to serve her guests.  (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary–Matthew, 156)


Everything about Jesus was astounding, marvelous, and humanly unexplainable.  It is no wonder that, when the people marveled at Him but would not accept Him, Jesus would Himself marvel at their unbelief (Mk 6:6).  How can people witness God’s power over and over again, admit that it is marvelous and even divine, and yet refuse to accept and follow the One who does such wonderful things?  (John F. MacArthur, Jr., The MacArthur New Testament Commentary–Matthew 8-15, 20)


The ultimate fulfillment of Christ’s redeeming work is yet future for believers (cf. Rom 8:22-25; 13:11).  Christ died for men’s sins, but Christians still fall into sin; He conquered death, but His followers still die; and He overcame pain and sickness, but His people still suffer and become ill.  There is physical healing in the atonement, just as there is total deliverance from sin and death in the atonement; but we still await the fulfillment of that deliverance in the day when the Lord brings the end of suffering, sin, and death.  Those who claim that Christians should never be sick because there is healing in the atonement should also claim that Christians should never die, because Jesus also conquered death in the atonement.  The central message of the gospel is deliverance from sin.  It is the good news about forgiveness, not health.  Christ was made sin, not disease, and He died on the cross for our sin, not our sickness.  As Peter makes clear, Christ’s wounds heal us from sin, not from disease.  “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness” (1 Pt 2:24).  (John F. MacArthur, Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary–Matthew 8-15, 19)


II-  Jesus suffered greatly to merit that authority so He could remove the curse that introduced suffering into the world.  Love Him because He first loved you.  (Isa 53; Lk 9:22-23; 24:26, 46; Acts 2:36; 3:18; 4:10; 26:23; Rom 8:17-25; 1 Cor 1:23; 2:2; 2 Cor 8:9; Phil 1:29; 2:1-11; 3:10; Col 1:15-24; 2:14-15;  Heb 2:9-10, 18; 4:15; 5:8; 12:2; 13:12; 1 Pt 1:11; 2:24; 4:12-13; 5:9-10;  Rv 21:1-4)


When Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law, the centurion’s servant, the leper, and all the others, he did so not merely out of the abundance of power rightly his, but because he was to absorb in his own person, in his own act as a willing, atoning sacrifice, the sin bound up with suffering.  Precisely because the healings were done in anticipation of Calvary, they fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:  “He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.”  (D.A. Carson, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount And His Confrontation with the World–An Exposition of Matthew 5-10, 171)


It is important that Christians should not think of the benefits they have in Christ Jesus apart from thinking about his atoning death.  (D.A. Carson, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount And His Confrontation with the World–An Exposition of Matthew 5-10, 171)


All suffering in the world ultimately goes back to sin, for before sin came into the picture, there was no suffering, according to Genesis 1-2.  But when sin entered the world in Genesis 3, suffering entered the world, and as a result, we live in a world marked by evil and suffering, sickness and pain.  So when Jesus came to die on a cross, He came to address the root problem, which is not suffering; the root problem is sin.  And He paid the price with His life to overcome our sin, so that you and I could be free from sin’s penalty.  If, therefore, God has dealt with the root of sin through the death of His Son, does that mean His will for us in this world is that we would no longer experience pain, sickness, and suffering?  Absolutely not!  The miracles in Matthew’s Gospel are intended to give us a picture of what is to come in the fullness of God’s kingdom, that is, when Christ fully and finally asserts His authority and reigns over the earth.  But that time is not yet.  In the meantime, we still live in a world of suffering and pain, and we will see later on in this Gospel that our suffering actually increases in this world as a result of trusting in Jesus for salvation.  (David Platt, Christ-Centered Exposition–Exalting Jesus in Matthew, 110)


Miracles did not cost Jesus nothing; virtue went out of him with every healing; and beyond a doubt he would be tired.  It would be for rest that he came into Peter’s house, and yet no sooner was he in it than there came still another demand on him for help and healing.  (William Barclay, The Daily Bible Study Series–The Gospel of Matthew, 308)


The quotation is from the larger “Servant Song” of Isa 52:13-53:12, which has substitutionary atonement as one of its central themes.  The Servant bears the sickness of others through his own suffering and death.  Matthew draws on this prophecy to link Jesus’ healing ministry with the substitutionary theme.  Jesus does not himself become ill but takes and removes illness by his healing power.  (Michael J. Wilkins, The NIV Application Commentary–Matthew, 345)


All sickness and death is ultimately rooted in the entrance of sin to human existence, so Jesus’ entire ministry in his inauguration of the kingdom of heaven begins to reverse the cycle of death and suffering.  (Michael J. Wilkins, The NIV Application Commentary–Matthew, 345)


If there was any text in the OT that the NT church seized upon to explain the ministry of Jesus, it was this one.  It is not difficult to understand why–Isaiah 53 focuses on the reality that God laid the sins of His people on His sacrificial Lamb.  When we think of the atoning death of Jesus, we almost exclusively fix our vision on Jesus’ redeeming us from sin and rescuing us from the wrath of God that is to come at the last judgment.  But in a way, that’s a simplistic understanding of the ministry of Jesus.  (RC Sproul, St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary, 235)


The text quoted by Matthew in chapter 8, Isa 53:4, comes from the most explicit of the Suffering Servant passages, immediately before the words “he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities” (Isa 53:5).  Some unperceptive critics suggest that Matthew habitually misuses OT texts for his own limited purposes, but all this shows is how thoroughly these scholars misunderstand Matthew.  Matthew knows that Isaiah 53 is about Christ’s suffering for sin.  When he supplies his own translation of the Hebrew text (“he bore our griefs and carried our sorrows,” rendered “infirmities” and “diseases”) rather than the Septuagint (“he bears our sins and is grieved for us”), he is making the point that Jesus’ healing of our sicknesses is evidence of a far more important healing of our sins, which is what these stories are actually about.  We may miss seeing this in chapter 8, but we can hardly miss it in the next chapter, where Jesus tells a paralyzed man, “Your sins are forgiven” (Mt 9:2).  (James Montgomery Boice, An Expositional Commentary–The Gospel of Matthew, Volume 1, 125)


In the Gospel of John, John refers to the miracles of Jesus as “signs” because they are indicators of what the coming Kingdom of God will look like and be like (see: Jn 2:11; 4:54; 6:14; 9:16; 11:47; 12:18, 37; 20:30).


On the surface it might seem as if Isaiah and Matthew were talking about two different matters, for the NT evangelist has just been speaking about Christ as the One who delivered people from their sicknesses and sorrows; whereas, on the other hand, the royal prophet of the OT describes the Suffering Servant as the One who takes these burdens upon himself.  Actually, however, there is no difference, because it is exactly by means of the latter that the former is accomplished.  (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary–Matthew, 400)


This quotation is from the well-known passage of Scripture sometime called the fourth Servant Song (Isa 52:13-53:12).  On the face of it, that passage seems to present the Servant as a sacrifice substituted that others might be spared:  for example, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” (53:5).  In the NT this Servant Song is constantly linked to Jesus’ death on the cross–not least by Matthew himself (20:28 [Isa 53:10-12]; 27:12 [Isa 53:7]; 27:57 [Isa 53:9]; and elsewhere, e.g., Acts 8:32-33; 1 Pt 2:24).  But here, apparently, Matthew is saying that Jesus’ healing ministry, not his atoning death, is the way he “took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.”  This has prompted not a few scholars to suggest that Matthew here quotes Isaiah rather out of context.  In fact, the point of connection is profound.  Both Scripture and Jewish tradition understood that all sickness is caused, directly or indirectly, by sin.  When the direct connection is operative, a particular sin issues in a particular illness; and in that case healing of the illness cannot occur unless the sin is dealt with.  But not every illness is the direct result of a specific sin.  Sickness may reflect the fact that all of us live this side of the fall, under the curse, limited by mortality.  Such sickness will plague us until the consummation of the kingdom, when there will be “no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Rv 21:4), when the curse itself will have been overthrown (Rv 22:3).  In this larger sense, sickness is still connected with sin; but the connection is indirect, and finally remedied only by the return of Christ at the end of the age.  (D.A. Carson, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount And His Confrontation with the World–An Exposition of Matthew 5-10, 169)


Modern voices that suggest God cannot or does not heal miraculously today have little exegetical warrant to support their stance; but equally, those modern voices that insist God inevitably grants healing provided only that there is adequate faith have forfeited the balance of Scripture and pursued a reductionism that once again tries to domesticate God.  The God who allows James to be killed by Herod while providing escape for Peter is the God who arranges for Paul to be ill while granting Dorcas life.  Now we are in a better position to understand why Matthew cites these lines from Isaiah.  Matthew, after all, understands that Jesus came to save his people from their sin:  he emphasizes that point in his first chapter (1:21).  The same authority that heals also forgives sin, as Matthew emphasizes (9:1-8).  And it is Jesus’ death that inaugurates the new covenant, which deals so effectively with sin (26:27-29).  The ultimate undoing of sin will result in the abolition of illness; in the consummated kingdom, as we have seen, there will be no more suffering of any sort, but a bliss of righteousness and an end to all suffering, savagery, and tears–as the prophets themselves anticipated.  When Isaiah 53 tells us that the Servant bears our infirmities and carries our sicknesses, it is the context of the Servant Song, as well as the understood connection between sin and suffering, that show us that the way the Servant bears the sicknesses of others is through his suffering and death, by which he deals principally with both sin and suffering. (D.A. Carson, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount And His Confrontation with the World–An Exposition of Matthew 5-10, 170-171)


The worst sickness is in the soul.  Man cannot cure it, for it is sin against God.  God cannot cure it save at cost:  this redemption is not by “turn of eye, wave of hand.”  A physician must come himself into the very place and presence of disease.  Must not God so come in incarnate Love?  He took our infirmities.  Here is perennial truth.  Our fever is our bane.  The redemption is given.  All we need is–need, and the wisdom to turn believingly to Christ.  He is obedient to our need because of his love, and he is sovereign in his power.  “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).  (George Arthur Buttrick, The Interpreter’s Bible–Volume VII, 343)


She clearly regarded herself as “saved to serve.”  He had healed her; and her one desire was to use her new-found health to be of use and of service to him and to others.  (William Barclay, The Daily Bible Study Series–The Gospel of Matthew, 308)


‘Himself took and bare’ does not mean only ‘took away.’  It includes that, as a consequence, but it points to something before the removal of the sickness.  It points to the fact that Christ in some real sense endured the loads which He removed.  Of course, His cross is the highest exemplification of the great law which runs through His whole life, that He identifies Himself with all the evil which He takes away, and is able to take it away only because He identifies Himself with it.  But whilst the cross is the highest exemplification of this, every miracle of mercy which He wrought is an illustration of the same principle in its appropriate fashion, and upon a lower level.  (Alexander MacLaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture, 390-1)


Yes, in God’s providence believers, too, become ill (Elisha, II Kgs 13:14; Hezekiah, 2 Kgs 20:1; Dorcas, Acts 9:36, 37; Paul, Gal 4:13; Epaphroditus, Phil 2:25-27; Timothy, I Tm 5:23; Trophimus, 2 Tm 4:20).  They even die!  The passage, “With his stripes we are healed,” does not mean that they have been exempted from the infirmities of the flesh.  Often, to be sure, it pleases God to heal them, a blessing which frequently arrives in answer to prayer (Jam 5:14, 15).  But even if God’s will be otherwise, theirs is ever the comfort of such passages as Ps 23; 27; 42; Jn 14:1-2; Rom 8:35-39; Phil 4:4-7; 2 Tm 4:6-8; Heb 4:16; 12:6, to mention only a few among many references.  (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary–Matthew, 399)


Worship Point:  If you don’t see the absolute holiness of God, the magnitude of your debt, the categorical necessity of God’s just punishment of your sin, and therefore the utter hopelessness of your condition, then the knowledge of your pardon and deliverance will not be amazing and electrifying!  — Tim Keller


That the disadvantaged more often received His blessing was due to their more often being humble and aware of their need.  Likewise, that the advantaged more often failed to receive His blessing was due to their more often being proud and self-satisfied.  (John F. MacArthur, Jr., The MacArthur New Testament Commentary–Matthew 8-15, 15)


To believe Christ’s power and willingness to help, and to make practical use of our belief, is a rare and precious gift:  let us always be thankful if we have it.  To be willing to come to Jesus as helpless, lost sinners and commit our souls into his hands is a mighty privilege; let us always bless God if this willingness is ours, for it is his gift.  Such faith is better than all other gifts and knowledge in the world.  Many a poor converted heathen, who knows nothing but that he is sick of sin, and trusts in Jesus, will sit down in heaven while many learned scholars are rejected for evermore.  Blessed indeed are they that believe!  (J.C. Ryle, The Crossway Classic Commentaries–Matthew, 58)


Gospel Application:  See the pain, suffering, hurt, loss and heartache we introduced into the world as a result of our greedy, selfish, self-centered lives.  See what Jesus had to suffer in order to free us from our self-inflicted suffering.


Jesus did not save us only from the wrath of God that is due to sin, but from all of the consequences of sin.  Of course, the ultimate consequence is the judgment of God.  But we live in a fallen world, a broken world, a corrupt world, a sick world, a dying world.  It is a world that is called “the vale of tears,” because in the fallen state in which we live, the joy of life is constantly marred by pain, illness, suffering, and death.  (RC Sproul, St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary, 235)


Spiritual Challenge:  See every suffering, every heartache, every pain, every loss, every sickness and every death as a reminder that Jesus has come to make everything sad come untrue.


When we look at the cross, we see that God the Father placed the sin of all of His people on His Son.  God imputed your sin and my sin to His Servant.  While He was hanging on the cross, Jesus was under God’s curse for all our cosmic treason.  But that’s not all.  Not only was our sin laid on Jesus, so were all of our illnesses.  God put cancer on Him.  He put heart disease on Him.  He put diabetes on Him.  He put leprosy on Him.  He put every disease that has been painful to the human race on Jesus.  “He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.”  It was not just our sin that was removed, but all the consequences of our sin.  (RC Sproul, St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary, 237)



Quotes to Note:

How Christianity embodies the true emancipation of women.  They are participants in an equal gift, honored by admission to equal service.  (Alexander MacLaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture, 388)


The proofs of His divinity, His power, and His goodness were obvious and beyond contradiction.  Yet, as the evidence increased, so did resistance and rejection.  At the beginning of his gospel, John prepares us for that response, telling us that “He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him” (Jn 1:11).  (John F. MacArthur, Jr., The MacArthur New Testament Commentary–Matthew 8-15, 19-20)


Charismatic exegetes have regularly picked up on this observation, combined it with the observation that Isa 52:13-53:12 is about the atonement provided by God’s Suffering Servant, and thus stressed that there is physical healing in the atonement.  If by this they mean that God sometimes does still miraculously heal people today of physical afflictions on the basis of Christ’s work on the cross, they are absolutely correct; but if by this they promise anyone such healing, based only on sufficient faith, they fly in the face of numerous NT texts to the contrary, most notably Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mk 14:36 pars.) and the Lord’s response to Paul’s prayer concerning his “thorn in the flesh” (2 Cor 12:9).  (G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, 30)


. . .  we must inevitably conclude (to use the modern jargon) that “there is healing in the atonement.”  But this clause has been much abused.  One party insists that, because there is healing in the atonement, therefore Christians must expect to be healed today.  The atonement has already provided this benefit, as it were; so if Christians are not healed, it cannot be the fault of Jesus or of his atonement, but of our unbelief.  The opposing party, struggling to avoid this unsettling conclusion, argues therefore that there is no healing in the atonement:  that is something that is provided for only at the consummation.  But in fact, both sides have set the categories wrongly.  The truth of the matter is that there is healing in the atonement; but the atonement provides God’s people with all benefits that ultimately come to them.  In that sense, there is also a resurrection body in the atonement; but no one uses that point to argue that all believers should today be sporting resurrection bodies, and failure to do so betrays a formidable lack of faith.  The question is not whether or not the atonement stands as the basis for all blessings that come to God’s children, but which of those benefits are applied now, and which of them can be counted on only later.  Healing, judging by some of the passages already briefly adduced, is one of those benefits that has been secured by the cross, occasionally applied now, and promised for the new heaven and the new earth.  (D.A. Carson, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, 172)






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