Sermon Notes

He took our illnesses and bore our diseases


  • In the Gospel, according to Matthew, the apostle Matthew is narrating to us the stories of Christ’s ministry that we may have a close-up view of His message and works.
    In chapters 5 through 7, we read the central theme of Jesus’ message, and now we have recounted to us, His mighty works. Now, we might expect that the previous chapters on Christ’s message would be a theological treasure chest and these chapters on Christ’s works as merely practical or a plain historical narrative.
    But this is far from the case when it comes to Matthew’s narration. We see that Matthew handpicks these miracles among the innumerable miracles of Christ (which John tells us no amount books can contain them all as it would fill the earth), for the specific reason of giving us some profound insight into the deity of Christ, and the purposes of God.
    In other words, these are not just miraculous encounters, but theologically saturated miraculous encounters.
  • Take, for instance, the first miracle of the leper. We learn from this account that Jesus requires the man to show himself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded in Leviticus 14 as proof that he was made clean from his leprosy.
    • Here, Matthew underscores the fact that Jesus did not come to break the law, but to fulfill it, as Jesus Himself declared in His message in chapter 5:v11.
    • Moreover, in this reference to Leviticus 14, Jesus alludes to the greater cleansing. As Ashok reminded some of us the other day, the Levitical priests could at best only declare an individual either clean or unclean using such a ritual, but could not by their power make the unclean, clean. But this High Priest who descended from the right hand of God could.
      When the priests of the kingdom of earth performed this ritual of taking the blood of one bird and sprinkling it on another and setting it free, as a declaration that one is made clean from leprosy, this Priest of the kingdom of heaven could actually make the leper clean by virtue of His own blood that was to be poured out for the unclean.
    • In other words, one might consider this first miracle as a representation of the Gospel. In it, we learn that the miracle of physical healing is a glorious picture of the Gospel, and we can strive in our prayer for God to display more of such miracles.
      You see beloved, we who broadly belong to the reformed camp, often run the risk of making much of the sovereignty of God over suffering at the cost of Christ’s purpose in healing and restoring. Therefore, when I look at this current pandemic, I see God’s judgment upon a sinful world, but that’s not all I see. I see healing and restoration. If this pandemic is a vivid picture of God’s judgment upon a sinful world, then the massive recovery that we see people making is a vivid picture of God’s grace. You might see worse days ahead of us, but I am drawn to see and hope for better days to come.
  • What about the second miracle of the centurion’s servant? If the first miracle is a representation of the Gospel, that Jesus has come to make the unclean, clean, then this second miracle may be considered a representation of the reach of this Gospel.
    • The healing, in this case, is offered to a pagan, one who is considered outside of the scope of ethnic Israel, we see yet another vivid picture – that this Gospel is not bound to any ethnic group or nation. It is a Gospel that is able to reach far and wide and restore the utterly depraved. This reality is compounded by the fact that Jesus did not even have to touch the sick servant. Only command it and His authoritative word was enough to heal.
    • Beloved, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is able to birth faith in the mouth of pagans and graft them into the vine of God’s kingdom.

      Jesus refers to this reality in v11, says I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven,

      • Is it not interesting that in the last chapter we heard Jesus say that many are on the road to destruction and there are few that find the narrow road to life? And yet here, we hear Jesus talking about many coming from east and west.

        As I mentioned then, the few-many debate is not as simple as it often seems. Could it be that the Gospel’s influence upon the world would not decrease, but increase? Could it be that the display of God’s redemption would prevail upon the world in such a way that there will be a time when the many will find God, and there be only a few that deny Him?

      • Nevertheless, we find here an explicit promise given by Jesus that the Gospel would not be hindered in reaching as far as the east is from the west, to bring sinners of all shades, shapes, and sizes to the foot of the cross.
    • Therefore, do you see how theological rich Matthew’s narration of these miracles is? These are not random references to occasions of healing that Matthew writes in order to make his book a little thicker in content. This theologian apostle is on a mission to teach the glory of the Gospel of Christ in fulfilling the righteous law of God.


  • Matthew 8:14-1714 And when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever. 15 He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him. 16 That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.”
    • And now, this third miracle is the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law.
      He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him.
      When we talk about a fever these days, there is a greater degree of concern because of covid. But in general, fever is not something that concerns the millennial generation and beyond all that much.
      However, in those days that Matthew refers to, a fever can be quite deadly. It is likely that Peter’s mother-in-law suffered from something like Malaria that was life-threatening.
      And Jesus touches her and the fever leaves.

      • Even here, do we not see a vivid picture of the Gospel? Jesus touched her, the fever left her, she rose and began serving Him.
        The regeneration of man is seen in this miracle, where Jesus touches our hearts, the guilt of sin leaves us as we repent and confess, and by His mercy, we rise, and begin to serve Him for the rest of our lives.
    • That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick.
      Matthew summarizes many of the miracles that happened that evening. There were brought to Jesus those who were demonically oppressed and those who were sick with various illnesses.
      And Jesus healed all of them.

      • Do you see beloved, the triumphant march of the Messiah? No power in hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from His hands.
      • The picture of redemption in these miracles is a glorious display of God’s purpose to restore mankind.
    • But in these accounts, we see a strange pattern.
      When we hear of someone having a fever, how many of us are eager to touch that person? When we see a leper, how many of us are impatient to take a hold of such a person in our arms? In the Jewish world then, how many Jews would be willing to go to the home of a pagan to heal his servant?In each of these cases, we prefer to avoid it altogether out of fear of things going the other way. If we touch the one with fever, we run the risk of catching that fever. If we touch the leper, we become unclean. If the jew went to the pagan, he was considered unclean.Yet the strange flow of grace runs the other direction. When Jesus enters the room, sickness leaves, demons submit, the unclean become clean, the outcast becomes an heir.
    • And then at the end of this set of miracles, Matthew underscores a deeply profound reality.
      v17 – This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.”

      • You see beloved, it is true that Jesus didn’t catch our illnesses and contract our diseases, instead, He took them and bore them.
        Herein lies the deeper meaning of our healings in Christ.
      • All corruption in the world today is a direct result of the Fall of Man. Where there was no death, we brought death. Where there was no strife, we brought strife. Sin, hunger, thirst, hardness of work, calamity, natural disasters, and the list goes on.
    • What sicknesses and diseases act as are a sharp reminder both of the consequences of sin and of the vileness of sin itself. Therefore, when the Bible tells us that Jesus took our illnesses and bore our diseases, that is a visceral picture of Jesus taking the consequence and vileness of sin out from us and upon Himself.This verse is not saying that Jesus took leprosy and became a leper, but that He took all that leprosy represents and bore it upon His shoulders, and what leprosy or any sickness represents is far more than physical weakness.
  • Therefore, if the first miracle in chapter 8 is representative of the power of the Gospel to make the unclean, clean, and the second miracle is representative of the reach and extent of the Gospel covering the whole world; then this third set of miracles is representative of the nature or essence of the Gospel.


  • For on that cross, as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied.
    Do you know what it means when we say that wrath was satisfied? When we, as sinners, fight with one another, we often strive to have the last word. We intentionally hurt our spouses with our words as a way to satisfy our anger in causing them pain that we believe they deserve. Parents tend to punish their children in such a way as to satisfy their anger. The satisfaction of our wrath or anger is often a personal judicial requirement, even when it is unrighteous. We believe that we have been wronged by the other, and therefore our reaction is a means to even the scales by meeting the requirement of justice – the guilty must be punished. Of course, we’re never objective about that punishment, and often inflict more pain than it is called for.
  • But the nature of the Gospel is justice and mercy. Jesus did not even the scales, He took the full weight of sin upon Himself and sealed us in the promise of eternal life. Jesus took all of God’s just and righteous wrath, the full measure of that wrath against the sins of the elect, and He bore it upon Himself once and for all.
    • It is true to say that the justice of God was satisfied. But beloved, His wrath was satisfied. The use of the word justice ought not to be a way for us to strip God of His emotion in this judgment.
    • God is not just for the sake of meeting the requirements of justice. God is just because He is justice, and He hates all that is sin and evil.
      How many times have we read of God’s anger burning against the injustice of people?
  • So, Matthew here refers to the fourth servant song of Isaiah. No old testament prophet prophesied to this extent, and Isaiah 53 is considered to be the clearest Messianic prophecy of the OT. Some theologians refer to this chapter as the fourth Gospel, and in it we find the essence or nature of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In it Isaiah explains how the Holy One can bless a sinful people.
    • Isaiah 53:2For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.
      • There was nothing in form or majesty or beauty according to the standards of failed culture that made this suffering servant impressive. If you were walking the streets of Jerusalem before Jesus began His public ministry, you would probably pass Him by without looking twice.
        His growing up was not outwardly special.
    • v3He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
      • Jesus was acquainted with grief throughout his ministry. He was rejected by man and despised for what He stood for.
    • v4-5 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.
      • I agree with theologians like John MacArthur that this verse is not primarily about physical healing from disease and sickness. It is about Christ saving us from the destructive consequences of sin.
        The reason Matthew applies it to illnesses and diseases is as a result of such a work of propitiation.
      • Jesus in bearing our griefs and carrying our sorrows is not smitten by disease or illnesses, but by God. Jesus bore the afflictions of God’s wrath. As R.C Sproul taught from Galatians 3:13 that Jesus did not take our curse upon Himself, but that He became a curse for us – Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—
    • v6-9All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? 9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.
      • Jesus was not the complaining lamb. He raised no word of justification although He could, as He was led to slaughter.
      • He died among criminals, and they laid Him in a rich man’s tomb.
    • v10-12Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,10 and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,11 because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.
    • Isaiah 52:13-1513 Behold, my servant shall act wisely;2 he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted. 14 As many were astonished at you— his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind— 15 so shall he sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths because of him, for that which has not been told them they see, and that which they have not heard they understand.
      • On that cross, Jesus withheld none of that precious blood that could make Holy the utterly depraved.