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Jesus and Disease

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
February 24, 2021 7:00 am

Jesus and Disease

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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February 24, 2021 7:00 am

If you grew up attending Sunday School, then you probably remember the old flannel graph depictions of Jesus’ miracles. Sick person is placed on the board. Flannel Jesus cut-out enters the scene. Sick figure is replaced with healed version of the same character. End of story, right? Dr. Boice explains why physical healing is actually just the very beginning!

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If you grew up attending Sunday school. You probably remember the old flannel graph depictions of Jesus miracles sick person is placed on the board flannel Jesus cutout enters the scene six-figure replaced with healed version of the same character. End of story right well today on the Bible study our Dr. James Boyce explains why physical healing is actually just the very beginning are welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Bortz preparing you to think and act quickly. Jesus not only perform miraculous healings during his ministry on earth, but more importantly, he offered to rescue people from the spiritual disease of sin. Today Dr. Boyce challenges us to consider the question, do we really believe that Jesus is who he says he is been worshiping Willis for any length of time you know that we've been studying Matthew's gospel together and that there were here last Sunday morning. All that we completed our study of the sermon on the Mount. What that means is that today we move on chapters 8 and nine and following. And I encourage it, open your Bible to left. Anyone who takes any trouble. To compare the four Gospels, especially verse three which are called synoptic Gospels will notice several interesting things about them.

First of all there's a rough chronological ordering of the material we all began least with the story of John the Baptist, who was the forerunner of Jesus renders section in which they talk about Jesus teaching healing in his miracles may indicate how hostility began to grow up against him, and how eventually led to his arrest and crucifixion. They talk about resurrection from the dead and the something about the great commission. Toward the end they will follow that general pattern and that's the first thing you notice of course is what you'd expect the same thing you notice is that there are variations in some of the material occurs in different orders from the different Gospels.

What that tells us is that the material although it follows a general chronological order is not the last group topically at least by some of the writers is what we find in the section of Matthew back in the fourth chapter toward the end were told that Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people I was at the end of chapter 4, then after slide six and seven gave us a sample of the teaching. So we have material there which if you try to find parallels to it in Mark and Luke, you'll discover scattered about. Matthew was collected that to give a sample of the kind of teaching the Jesus was doing at this particular time in his ministry.

And then in the chapters we come to now he gives examples of the healing. I suppose it's worth thinking about. Chapters 8 and nine as a whole.

Before we began and we do what we discover is that they introduce us to nine separate works of Jesus line miracles. Most of them are healing but not all. The first group of miracle stories containing the healing of a leper, the servant of a Roman centurion and Peter's mother-in-law's in Matthew eight verses one through 17.

Going to look at today. There's a break in that there is a discussion of what it really means to be a disciple couple man say they want to follow Jesus Christ. But they don't actually do it.

Then after that little break we get back to miracle stories again and there three more. The calming of the storm on the Sea of Galilee followed by that healing of two demon possessed man and then thirdly, the healing of the paralytic and that's in Matthew chapter 8 verse 23 on into the bank. Chapter verse eight, and then there's another brick in here we have an account of the calling of Matthew himself to discipleship, which is followed by a discussion about fasting after that's out of the way.

We have three more miracle stories the seventh in the series is a composite story about the healing of the sick woman in the raising the life of a dead girl and then there's the healing of two blind man that is followed by the healing of 1/3 man who has been possessed by an evil spirit.

After that, Jesus commissions his disciples to task of preaching on the 10th chapter is an example of what he has to say. Now that's the pattern thing to do is start at the beginning of the get a look at these carefully's first series is the healing of a man ON leprosy. The healing of the servant of the centurion and the healing of Peter's mother-in-law was sick with a fever. Now that last story ends by saying there were a lot of other people who were healed at this time. The very fact that it says that makes us stop and ask why it is that these particular stories of been chosen and when we take the stories that we have in these two chapters and compare them with what we have in the other Gospels will notice the order that Matthew was given. We ask why this particular order.

Why is he done it this way.

As you begin to ask that question, you begin to sense that perhaps what we have here is more than just a collection of stories wasn't interested just in the fact that Jesus healed a particular individual. What is teaching us is something about his whole ministry to see that as we go on a look at the hole in some places becomes very explicit but start with his first healing area of the story of a man who had leprosy of stolen verses one through four.

Leprosy was the most terrible of all diseases in that ancient world and affected the skin of individuals which began to decay and rot. Eventually portions of the body would fall away in a corset led to inevitable death as a result of which people thought of lepers as being virtually dead already over it had social implications that separated the person who had leprosy from all other human beings person and Israel had to go about calling out unclean unclean order to warn anybody that was around the stay away.

Nobody would consider ever touching a leper and Jews in Israel weren't even allowed to greet them or speak to were barred from the synagogues.

Of course I couldn't go to the temple. Matter of fact they were barred from all walled cities which included Jerusalem way, were certainly social outcasts. William Barclay, who provide some of that information says there has never been any disease which so separated the man from his fellow man as leprosy did not, here's the point separated from other human beings. Yes, but not from God we have in the story. This first miracle story in Matthew's gospel is an account of how Jesus heals a leper and not only heals a leper but does so by actually reaching out and touching him, which is what no one in that day with Don. Verse three says Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man I am willing. He said the Queen that was so striking an action that that particular gesture of Jesus is reported all of the Gospels tell the story. We all noticed because nobody else would've done at the Jesus actually reached out and touched it. Now what's the point of the miracle. Just the fact that Jesus has power over leprosy. Well yes of course he has power over everything. But that's not the point of at the point which any Jewish reader would've understood instinctively is that leprosy rendered.

This person who hadn't spiritually unclean wasn't just that it was a physical disease that had a spiritual implication as well. A person was banned from the synagogue and was regarded virtually as being cursed by God. Clearest example of that in the Old Testament is the case of Miriam, who was Moses sister. She spoke against Moses because he married an Ethiopian woman was racial prejudice and God judged her and the way God judged her was with leprosy when she had leprosy. She had to go outside the camp is one accursed unable to fellowship or associate with the other people of the covenant and the reason the law didn't allow people to touch lepers was not just because the lepers were unclean because they were cursed by God and the want to touch them became ceremonially cursed or alienated or unclean. As a result of that physical contact notice when Jesus touches the leper, his touch does not result in him becoming contaminated. On the contrary, rather than the leprosy affecting him. He affects the leper and the leper is cured.

It's a perfect illustration of what happens in the incarnation you see when Jesus, the eternal son of God became man. He didn't become sinful just because we are simple rather by becoming man. He was able to do that which would enable us to become like him and doesn't impact him, but rather Lord Jesus Christ saves the center, there's a little incident here where he tells the man to tell no one about it.

I think that probably is incidental to what Matthew was actually doing at this point it's included because it was part of the story. What that reason is probably to do didn't want to draw attention to himself as a miracle worker return to the other Gospels. We find that was really a problem in Mark one day one of them to carry on a long long miracle of healing as result of things like this in Jesus that he wasn't going to do it because he had come to teach in one teaching to be hindered by the demand to do miracles. But many right here.

He does heal the leper about the second of these stories. This is the healing of the centurion's servant, and it has two elements that weren't present and the first story on the words were beginning to get about elaboration the first place. This man who came to Jesus was a Roman Roman soldier and therefore he was a Gentile and it's a way of saying that this gospel of Jesus has, to bring is for Gentiles as well as Jews. Reaching is already in Matthew's gospel. Remember, Matthew was a most Jewish of all the Gospels seems to of been written for Jews. It quotes the Old Testament is being fulfilled in the life of Christ more than any other gospel yet. Matthew, perhaps more than the others, is conscious of the fact that this is to be a worldwide religion right at the very beginning of the story that you need to Matthew. You had the Gentile kings.

The Magi coming to see Jesus and worship him at the time of his birth the very end of the gospel. We have the great commission. At this emphasis that the gospel that has been preached in Jerusalem is now to be preached to all the nations, all the nations are to be made disciples. Now the point is clear from the story we want to read this and understand what it's about. Here's a Gentile of his help, but in case you missed it. Jesus nails down because when he begins to comment on the centurion's faith. He says this he says look I tell you this, many will come from the East and the West and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. The subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside into the darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Verses 11 and 12 loose from the East and the West are Gentiles. Of course what he saying is it that the final messianic banquet in heaven there going to be lots of Gentiles.

Unless you miss it. Many of those who were the children of Abraham, the privileged children of the kingdom are going to be outside and they're going to perish, so that is clear. The second point of the story is that the important thing here is faith. This is the channel by which the blessing comes to us in the case of the centurion. It's a rather remarkable faith when he told Jesus about his servant, he said, Lord, my servant lies at home paralyzed in the terrible suffering. Jesus says that he'll calm and heal him, but then you get this surprising response from this Roman soldier instead of merely saying, well, thank you and waiting for Jesus to come which is what any of us would expect.

He says this is is Lord I do not deserve to have you come under my roof, but just say the word and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority with soldiers under me. I tell this one go and he goes about one commonly comes I say to my servant, do this, and he does it. Jesus was so impressed with this answer that he called attention to this remarkable example of faith on the part of the Gentile soldier now why did the centurion speak about authority and what is Matthew include that in his story of DA Carson explains the man's thinking like this all authority in that day belonged to the Emperor in Rome and was delegated. Therefore, because he was under the Emperor's authority when the centurion spoke he spoke with the Emperor's authority and so his command was obeyed. The self understanding. The centurion applied Jesus precisely because Jesus was under God's authority. He was vested with God's authority so that when Jesus spoke, God spoke to the fly. Jesus was to defy God and God's word, therefore, must be spoken powerfully and heal and it did. That's what marks the greatness of the centurion's faith. You see, it wasn't just that he had faith the Jesus could heal from a distance like well here's a remarkable magician who can do this.

That wasn't the nature of his faith. He understood that Jesus was speaking for God and as God and therefore he understood he could do what he would do that linking face to the matter of Jesus authority as the centurion does we see how Matthew was carrying forward the theme that was developed at the end of chapter 7. Remember the end of the sermon on the mount that people were amazed at his teaching because he taught them with authority not as the scribes. So what we find here the next chapter is not only does he teach with authority reacts with authority, travel, and the authority is the authority of God. Now the third of the stories Peter's mother-in-law No, incidentally, is an unrelated point. Matthew doesn't call attention to it that Peter was married wife.

The only way you can acquire mother law.

As far as I know, and the moreover not only was the married we learned that we learn here than he had moved from Bethesda where we are told he came from to Capernaum with his wife and his mother-in-law, presumably to be close to Jesus.

This healing is told very briefly in Matthew installed at much greater length in Mark and Luke and Mark and Luke attention is given to the people's attempts to get Jesus to carry on an extensive ministry of healing. That's the thing I mentioned earlier, Matthew wasn't at all concerned to do that because he's already shown that Jesus is teaching and that's what he came to teach what he does is substitute the emphasis of Mark and Luke upon the necessity for teaching rather than healing with a quotation from Isaiah so you find the very end of the section, the quotation of Isaiah 53 four Jesus said to a fulfilled, he took up our infirmities and carried our diseases. See Matthew didn't need to show at this point Jesus came to preach is given as an example of that. We learned that we studied was the sermon on the Mount what he saying here is that Jesus came not only to teach but to heal as well. What were going to find as we go on is that that healing is primarily the healing of the heart has to do with sin is more to Matthew citation Isaiah 53 for this and I suppose this is where we really get into the heart of what he's doing. We should note to begin with, that this verse is from the suffering servant sections of that prophecy where this coming one is described as one is going to suffer. We already have a couple illusions to that because of the time of Jesus baptism. Remember, God spoke from heaven, and said this is my son, whom I love and him I am well pleased of the first part of that is an echo of the second salt you are my son, this day have I begotten year when so close attention there to the divinity of Christ.

Second part of it comes from these messianic prophecies in Isaiah and what they are talking about is the fact that this son of God who is pleasing God came to die for sin.

Now that's what Matthew is referring to here when he quote from the 53rd chapter. What is even more significant. This comes from the most explicit section of Isaiah having to do with this vicarious death of Jesus Christ for sinners comes from the passage in which immediately afterwards you read he was pierced for our transgressions, and he was crushed for our iniquities out some perceptive critics study this sort of thing in seminary or by many examples of this suggests that when Matthew quotes this verse from Isaiah. I don't know what he's talking about because they cite look here in Isaiah Isaiah's talking about the healing of sin. That's what these diseases stand for and here in Matthew Matthew stalking about three healings of the quotes that passage out of the Old Testament to prove the Jesus came to cure diseases obviously getting it wrong is misapplying it, but there's just another case of the critics being far less perceptive than Matthew himself to understand perfectly well that Isaiah 53 has to do with healing of sin. But the suffering servant came to die for sin take our spiritual burdens upon himself and died in our place when he puts that verse as he does here at the end of these first three healing sections what he is suggesting is that the healing of our sins is a far more important thing in the healing of our diseases now, we may miss that. Here in chapter 8. I daresay most people that read this Dumas, they just go by Edison.

Example of healing stories, but you can't miss it later on because in the next chapter, we have the ceiling of the paralyzed man, and when Jesus says to him, first of all your sins are forgiven those who are working on objects saying only God can forgive sins. Jesus replies what is easier to cite your sins are forgiven, or to say get up and walk so they would know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins because they get up and walk in. The man dies. In other words, if he had said to the man your sins are forgiven, people would say well that doesn't sound right but who would know whether his sins were forgiven or not, but the links at the allelic.

So when he says the two go together and he raises up the lands and I was able to walk is proof that he is actually able to forgive sins. In other words, the two are brought together in each of these stories.

Sickness is used as an illustration of sin, we might call it sin, sickness, and so when we read them. What we find is what Jesus is able to do to cure the far more serious problem of sin in our own hearts without a mind is go back and look at the stories again.

What do they actually teach us about sin. Well first of all, I teach us that we are spiritually sick. Even worse were dying because of sin. Now I realize that in Ephesians, where the apostle Paul begins to talk about her condition. He takes it a step even beyond that, because he says is not a question of are merely being sick gets actually a question of our being dead as far as spiritual things are concerned. Where is responsive to God as a corpse, but Matthew is talking about a resurrection yet come in the next chapter are just talking about illness, so he uses illness as an illustration of what's wrong, leper's were considered as good as dead. The centurion's servant was dying. And as far as Peter's mother-in-law's concern that we don't think very much about fever because were able to deal with it.

But in the ancient world.

More people died from high fevers than any other, because they couldn't bring the fever down the day before antibiotics of aspirin and so forth. So this was potentially fatal illness as well and the points he say is that we are all perishing in our sin and there's no human remedy that will save us is why Paul says that were dead in trespasses and sins. What we really need is the healing power of God. We need a resurrection. That's the second thing we need is a Savior and hearing the stories of Savior comes we need Jesus Christ is probably a second reason why the author of the gospel summarizes his account of the first three healings by citing Isaiah 53 verse four because that's talking about the Savior will, making this link between disease and sin, saying the Savior who is coming is coming. Above all, to heal us from our sin. These verses speak about a messianic Savior is telling us that Jesus was that one thing we learned when we go back with us. Understanding a look at the passages that faith is necessary. Ephesians 2 says they were not only sick with sin were dead with sin.

What is required is a resurrection, but it also talks about faith because it says that we are saved by grace through faith points out that this is not of ourselves, not something that we generate even faith itself is God's gift but nevertheless it is essential we haven't so we asked the question did leper have faith. The answer is he did and he had faith in a rather remarkable sort our divorce in his commentary on Matthew points out that the leper didn't say if you can heal me.

But if you will heal me doubt that Jesus could do it. The only question was whether Jesus actually would end far as the centurion was concerned already called attention to his face.

He believed that Jesus spoke with the power of God to do anything he wanted to didn't even have to be there when I told about faith explicitly in the case of Peter's mother-in-law, but undoubtably the breastplate certainly on the part of Peter who called Jesus to come to the house unless what we needed were going to be safe from sin in our condition is desperate. Jesus is the great physician who alone can heal us, but we have to place our faith in him. So the question is this of you dominant one thing needful. It's one thing that really matters is what the Anglican Bishop JC Ryle wrote on this passage is asking questions. He says what do we each know of this faith are learning may be small but do we believe our opportunities of giving and working for Christ because may be you but do we believe we may need to be able to preach right nor argue for the gospel. But do we believe we must never rest until we can answer this inquiry faith in Christ is the most precious thing in God's sight. And like most precious things. It is rare by its true Christians live in Wyatt they stand and blandly overcome the world.

Without this faith. No one can be saved and there's one last point, the stakes here are life-and-death. This is a most important matter. You were on I or any other human being will ever be asked to consider because steak is your life and your death. Life of God to be enjoyed in part now but certainly much more hereafter when we get to heaven or on the other hand, spiritual death, which is bad enough now, but which will become indescribably tragic and inescapable. When you pass from this life and to eternity. Notice that in this very passage, Jesus describes spiritual death is being thrown outside into the darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Verse 12 was a frightening words I think he knew what he was talking about Drew and if you do, why don't you believe I am now is your Savior. People in the story stated its prayer.

Father, we are thankful for the teaching that we have Matthew and indeed throughout the Scriptures everything you for the way in which it speaks personally to us to read the stories merely as healings read them something that happened far off from concerns other people to see them as illustrations of our lost, helpless, perilous condition and sin and Jesus is the healer reaches out and saves those who will believe in him and trust him pass thereby from death to life, to see the map way to see them in a way which we need if we are to enjoy that same blessing.

So father, bless us, we pray, bring someone in the kingdom exactly that kind of faith is you are listening to the Bible study hours with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. Alliance broadcasting includes the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Reich and and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Barnhouse. For more information on the alliance including a free introductory package for first-time callers or to make a contribution. Please call toll-free 1-800-488-1888.

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