By: Wes Anderson
Matthew 14:14 (NASB)
When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick.
When Jesus walked on the cobblestone streets in Jerusalem and traveled among Galilee, people flocked to Him by the hundreds. They would make every attempt possible just to touch Him or His outer robe, often climbing and stepping over each other out of shear desperation. Others would bring their loved ones to Him, often carrying them on stretchers and on their shoulders. They did all this because they knew, based on the multitude of testimonies from friends and family, that He had the supernatural ability to reverse their condition. These scenes often likened to a crowded emergency room on a Saturday night in a populated city, where dozens of hurting, sick, and diseased stricken people desperately wait to see a doctor that could bring them some healing and relief.
The Messiah walked and lived among them. He listened intently to their needs. His hands, which contained immeasurable power and helped form the heavens and earth, were used with upmost precision and gentleness to touch the problem areas of their bodies. After He ministered to them, He would often embrace them lovingly as a father would his child. For others He simply stood and allowed them touch Him and receive virtue for whatever they needed. When compassion and power flowed out Him healing flowed into them. It was a beautiful exchange. He did this day after day, and week after week for three and a half years.
What does His compassionate approach teach us when it comes to His healing work (whether it be emotional, physical, or spiritual)? What made His healing touch accessible to them? Three primary things:
His Power– Power, infused to its core with Calvary love and grace, flowed out of Him freely and expected nothing in return. Like a divine spark, the moment it touched the point of human need, it would reverse it.
His Presence- Healing began with the actual presence of Messiah in their midst. He was among them and made Himself fully accessible to them. It was His presence, not some intellectual agreement to some doctrine, that brought about healing in the lives of the people.
His Purity- Their needs, no matter how destitute or grotesque they were, in no way repelled or contaminated His purity. On the contrary, He rolled up His sleeves and was willing to plunge His hands into the most filthiest and slimiest of any situation. When He did, His healing touch met their hurting bodies and virtue was released.
Accessible to us today
That was then, but what about today? What about you who are reading this who may be hurting and have real genuine needs? Can He reverse your situation, or was His healing power only reserved for those in the 1st Century? The good news is because He lives, His love and compassion is as constant today as it was then. He didn’t heal people to merely demonstrate His divinity. He did it because He genuinely loved the hurting and sick and wanted to see them well. As it was then, so it is today.
The Call for the Church
Now that He has ascended to the Father’s right hand, He desires the healing work He started 2,000 years ago continue in the world today. As His Body, we are His extension on the earth. He has given us His presence, for it is Christ in us. He offers to us His power, through the promise of the Spirit upon us. He has given to us His purity, through Calvary and the blood shed for us. Just like Peter and John lifted up a lame man at the temple entrance, when we stretch forth our hands to touch human needs on His behalf, He stretches forth His at the same time. With Him in us and His hand upon us, we can continue the work He initiated. However, it must start with a genuine love and compassion for those that are hurting and lost, just as it did with Him. Regardless of the gift, it must be rooted in the love of God for it’s effectual and complete working in the lives of others.