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the raising of Jairus' daughter (Mark.v.37), on the mount of Transfiguration (Matt.xvii.1),
and in Gethsemane (Matt. 26: 37).
Matthew now goes on to tell us that, unlike the Baptist, who required people to come
to him in the wilderness, the Messiah went to them: He "went about in all Galilee
teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the good news of the kingdom". The
kingdom, so long awaited, was the constant theme, and at last it was near, with the
presence of the King in their midst. Not only this, but He healed "all manner of sickness
and all manner of disease among the people" (4: 23), and the next verse expounds this
by saying, "and people brought to Him all who were ill with various diseases, those
suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, the epileptics and the paralytics, and He
healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region
across the Jordan followed Him" (verses 24, 25, N.I.V.). Furthermore His name spread
beyond the bounds of Galilee into the Roman province of Syria (verse 24).
Sometimes this great healing ministry is represented by the critics as nothing more
than faith healing, "physical methods" or "moral therapeutics", but it is quite incredible
that all those who were laid in the streets were no more than neurotics. Can leprosy,
dropsy, fever, withered hand, issue of blood, blindness and deafness be cured by
We may pause to ask why this healing ministry takes such an important place in the
proclamation of the kingdom? In the O.T. those who faithfully followed the instructions
of the law, were guaranteed good health:
"The Lord will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases
of Egypt . . . . . upon thee . . . . ." (Deut. 7: 15).
Such were to be blessed by the Lord "above all people" (Deut. 7: 14). No one can
get the full enjoyment from life if they are constantly ill and it is perfectly clear that,
among many features of the kingdom, is good health. It is quite wrong to suppose that
the kingdom of God is a spiritual one and nothing more. It is certainly spiritual basically,
but its outward effect touches all departments of life (This important point is discussed in
the author's The Kingdom of God in Heaven and on Earth). With so much physical,
mental and spiritual healing, the Lord Jesus was demonstrating to the people the character
and rich blessings of the kingdom He had come to proclaim.
However, there was more than this in the frequent miracles that the Lord Jesus
performed. After the resurrection Peter said:
"Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God
among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of
you, as ye yourselves also know" (Acts 2: 22).
It was not that Christ performed miracles that proved His Messiahship, for Satan can
work these to deceive (II Thess. 2: 8, 9). The miracles of the Gospels and Acts were
those predicted by the Old Testament as being characteristic of Messiah's coming and
ministry, for them "the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be