“Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for You are my praise” (Jer 17:14).
Text: Matthew 8:14-17
Now when Jesus had come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother lying sick with a fever. And He touched her hand, and the fever left her. Then she arose and served them. When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.”
The prophet’s words that are fulfilled here by Jesus’ healing power are found in the 53rd chapter of Isaiah and deal with the Lord’s suffering for our sin. Here we learn that sin is the cause of all our sickness, and that the effect disappears when the cause disappears. For what is said there in the prophet about the taking away of sin, the evangelist finds fulfilled by the healing of the sick and the driving out of evil spirits. Next we learn here that Jesus in all reality was the suffering Savior. When He heals the sick, He enters into their pains and feels them as His own; He makes their sickness His own and suffers it with them and thus takes it away. That’s why He sighs with the deaf-mute and why He weeps at Lazarus’ grave. During His whole life on earth He is the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world, always in suffering and pains, and everything that He does is payment and atonement for our transgressions. “God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us” (2Co 5:21). All our misdeeds were laid on Him and were required of Him, and He was made poor. Therefore it is written also that He was in all points tempted like us, except without sin (Heb 4:15).
But in that way God’s righteous wrath was taken away and the power of evil spirits was broken, so that everyone who believes in Jesus shall become perfectly healthy and free from all evil forever. All defects are removed, all bonds are loosed, all darkness disappears. All pains shall be turned into blessedness, all sighing and sorrows into songs of praise. Yet a little while you shall feel the heat of the fever; yet a little while you shall be afflicted by the evil spirits and suffer with all the saints under Satan’s attacks; yet a little while you shall be oppressed by corruption and the weaknesses of the flesh. But it is only a little while, and it happens so that you shall be like Jesus first in humility and then in glory; so that you shall be purified and then shine like the sun in the kingdom of your heavenly Father; so that you shall know what you are freed from, and prize salvation. It happens also so that you shall be made the Lord’s ambassador to others and by experience know how to “speak a word in season to him who is weary” (Isa 50:4). You are saved and shall be saved for eternal blessedness. No longer do death’s chill and fever rule in you even if you still think they do, and you are no longer servant under the evil one, you are Christ’s free child and God the Father’s living child. For Jesus took away your death and gave you life in His Word. Because you hear this Word and receive this grace, you shall reign with Him in eternal life. Believe this from the heart, for He has done it. There is only life in all your death: it is life that works in you and destroys death. Let this be your only concern: to believe from the heart. Let the hard work the Lord did, the long suffering He underwent, the precious price He paid, make us zealous for our salvation; and let the feeling of our deep distress without Him drive us to come and to bring all our loved ones, yes, everyone, everyone with us!
Lord Jesus, open our ears to hear Your voice and our eyes to see Your power. Heal us, Lord, and teach us to lay our weaknesses and sicknesses on You, just as You took them and carried them. Drive the evil spirits out of our hearts and our homes, and give us grace to serve You and Your people, to follow You and to bear one another’s burdens. Amen.
In God, my faithful God,
I trust when dark my road;
Though many woes o’ertake me,
Yet He will not forsake me.
His love it is doth send them
And, when ’tis best, will end them.
O Jesus Christ, my Lord,
So meek in deed and word,
Thou once didst die to save us
Because Thy love would have us
Be heirs of heavenly gladness
When ends this life of sadness.
“So be it,” then I say
With all my heart each day.
We, too, dear Lord, adore Thee;
We sing for joy before Thee.
Guide us while here we wander
Until we praise Thee yonder.
Weingärtner: In God, my faithful God L 224:1.4.5 ELH 467:1.4.5 tr. C. Winkworth;
tune: Auf meinen lieben Gott