Healed to Serve

As we look at Christ in Matthew 8:14-17, we find another unexpected miracle at the hand of Jesus. He had already done the unthinkable in touching and healing the leper, and then aiding a gentile centurion by healing his servant. Now the scene moves towards Christ entering the home of His disciple, Peter. As we examine the Scriptures, we observe that the apostles were not obligated to remain as single celibates; quite the contrary they had families (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:5). And as Jesus enters Peter’s home, He takes the initiative to heal Peter’s sick mother-in-law.

What does this reveal about Jesus? Matthew takes the liberty in v. 17 to inform us of what is going on behind the scene. Yes, we see Jesus heal an individual, and later groups of people, but are these merely isolated events? No. Matthew understands the work of Christ to be none other than the prophetic fulfillment of Isaiah 53:4. This portion of the prophet, is called by scholars the Fourth Servant Song (Isaiah 52:13-53:12) which highlights the mission of the coming Messiah. The Suffering Servant would come to bring peace to God’s people through His broken body, and suffering in their place. Matthew makes it clear that the Suffering Servant is none other than Jesus Christ.

Every day our world demonstrates its brokenness, its pain, its failure, its evil, and its sin; what our world is screaming out for is a champion. One who can bear on His shoulders the full weight of the brokenness of this world, who can carry all the pain this world has to offer and not be crushed. Our own world today attempts to produce champions of this sort. But as every news outlet makes clear sooner or later, every one of these heroes inevitably falls. Their perpetual failure makes it obvious that we need more than an ordinary person.

This is precisely why Christ Himself must be God. For God alone can undertake and accomplish such a Herculean task of bringing peace to our broken world. But true and lasting peace must be more than a political peace, or a militaristic peace, or of any other sort. Because such forms of peace fail to deal with the root of our restlessness. All of Christ’s healings are meant to point beyond themselves, for a healed body does not yield a resurrected heart. God must do more than bring peace to our bodies physically, He must bring peace to our souls, and He does so through Christ; the One who came to bring peace between God and Man.

All of Christ’s work reveals the glorious truth that you and I don’t need another 12-step program, or another laundry list of moral to-dos. What you and I need, even as we draw our next breath, is a King. What we need is a righteous King who rules justly and with kindness, One worth devoting all of our lives to, Who is indeed the supreme treasure of the universe. And what Matthew is trying to tell us is that Jesus Christ is this great King. And this King came to bring peace to us by His work at the Cross, where God’s mercy and justice kissed. At the cross, Jesus purchased our spiritual healing, and secured the future resurrection of His holy people.

Have you surrendered to this great King? Jesus met this woman right where she was and transformed her life in an instant. And as an immediate act of gratitude, she served Christ with the skills, and gifts she had. What talent has God given you for service in His kingdom? Maybe you can’t lead a Bible study, but perhaps you’re an excellent listener. God has given you that gift to listen to others and encourage them. The list is infinite but what is important is that we, in response to His great love, take what He has given to us, and love Him and others by our selflessness. God is most fond of taking crooked sticks like us to draw His straight lines. Don’t believe the lie that you can’t be used by God, ask the Lord to help you believe, and serve right where you are, with what you have in your hands. God can and indeed does extraordinary things through ordinary people like you and me.

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