After initiating His teaching ministry with the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus initiates His healing ministry. We can draw a number of conclusions from this. First, that Jesus is concerned about the body as well as the mind and the spirit. Corporal afflictions are relieved by the compassionate Christ. In the bodily resurrection and ascension of Jesus, we see that He is ultimately a Redeemer of the whole person.
Another conclusion we can draw is that Jesus wants to accompany teaching about Kingdom things with demonstrations of Kingdom power. Credibility can be attached to divine declarations when divine power flows from the same source. Jesus explains this plainly in the healing of the man lowered through the roof in Mark 2:9-11:
9 Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”
A third conclusion could be that Jesus has not moved from teaching to healing, but that He has moved to teaching BY healing. We notice in today's passage that each of the four healings recorded are for four very different individuals - a leper, a centurion, a woman, and a demoniac. Jesus is crossing all sorts of lines here, teaching us that His love and power make no distinctions; He is healer and Lord of all.
A leper was an untouchable outcast in that culture. But Matthew makes sure that he includes in the account, "Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man." No one is too 'unclean' for Jesus. The centurion is a non-Jew, an outsider to the "people of God." Some Jews referred to Gentiles as "dogs." But Jesus, the King of the Jews, is very willing to extend favor and power to him. As for women, even among the Jews, women were treated more like possessions than persons. But Peter's mother-in-law didn't even have to ask for Jesus' mercy and power like the previous two men. He saw her. He had compassion on her. He touched and healed her. Finally, the demon-possessed have a unique and bizarre affliction; something akin to Satan himself. Nevertheless, Jesus heals them with His spirit-vanquishing word.
So, where are YOU hurting? In your body, your mind, your soul ... ? Jesus cares, wherever the pain may reside.
What are you believing? Jesus punctuated His teaching with loving and powerful action. He wields the incredible to make His words credible. You can trust Him. All authority is His.
Who are you? Does it matter? Not to Jesus. He cares for you. He knows everything about you, and He loves you anyway.
Pray: Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof; speak but the Word and my soul shall be healed. And with the healing of my soul shall come the peace and strength to persevere through all other suffering. If there is no thorough healing for me in this life, there is complete healing in the resurrection from the dead. I trust You, my Rock and my Redeemer.