“This was to fullfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illness and bore our diseases” (Matt 8:17)
This was to be the mark of the messiah and ultimately a visible evidence of His power – He heals. This verse comes at the end of a flurry of healings and what I find fascinating is not just the healings, but who it was that Jesus healed.
1) HE HEALED THE PERSON THAT ASKED (Matt 8:1-4)
“And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” (Matthew 8:2–3, ESV)
2) HE HEALED THE PERSON THAT WAS ASKED ON BEHALF OF (Matt 8:5-13)
““Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” … And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.” (Matthew 8:6–7, 13, ESV)
3) HE HEALED THE PERSON THAT HAD NO APPARENT ASKING FOR ALL (MATT 8:14-15)
“And when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him.” (Matthew 8:14–15, ESV)
There’s a progression here that should not be missed: it starts with a person who is able to ask for help on their own, then moves to the healing dependent upon someone else asking, then moves onto Peter’s mom who could neither ask and apprently had no one asking on her behalf. Yet in all three cases, the same divine power to overcome broken humanity was administered by Jesus.
Does this mean that asking is not important? Of course not. Does this mean that faith is not important? Of course not (in fact, Jesus even says to the Centurion “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.”
What these progressing passages do tell us is that Jesus is not constrained in His power. There is great hope here for those that rest their faith in Jesus. We ebb between the peaks of “I’m running to Jesus” to “Run to Jesus for me because I can’t” to “I can’t and no one is willing to on my behalf” – and in all those valleys we find ourselves, Jesus is a constant in His purposes to save.