“Himself … Bare Our Sicknesses”

Let me give you the passage in which this statement is found.

Matthew 8
14 And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever. 15 And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them. 16 When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: 17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.

Since I’ve been saved, I’ve wondered why we still struggle with sin and have sickness.  If God washed me clean through the blood of Yeshua, then why didn’t He do a complete package deal?  Fix everything once-and-for-all!  He spoke the worlds into existence;  therefore, it would seem a rather small thing for Him to keep His children free from sin and healthy all the time.  But, the Bible makes it clear that God doesn’t do that … does He?  Even “Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died,”  II Kings 13:14

In commenting on Matthew 8:17, Adam Clarke writes the following.
“Himself took our infirmities - The quotation is taken from Isaiah 53:4, where the verb נסא nasa signifies to bear sin, so as to make atonement for it. And the rabbins understand this place to speak of the sufferings of the Messiah for the sins of Israel; and say that all the diseases, all the griefs, and all the punishments due to Israel shall be borne by him. Christ fulfills the prophecies in all respects, and is himself the completion and truth of them, as being the lamb and victim of God, which, bears and takes away the sin of the world. The text in Isaiah refers properly to the taking away of sin; and this in the evangelist, to the removal of corporeal afflictions: but, as the diseases of the body are the emblems of the sin of the soul, Matthew, referring to the prediction of the prophet, considered the miraculous healing of the body as an emblem of the soul's salvation by Christ Jesus.”

All this is relevant for me right now since I’ve been pretty sick for several days.  Being sick is such an aggravation.  It just messes up everything.  What purpose can there be in God allowing us to be sick?  God just doesn't make sense to me sometimes ;-)

But God does everything for a purpose and allows everything for a purpose.  The problem is that we, ofttimes, miss out on what He’s up to because … we (that is, me) complain about it rather than seek God and His purpose in it.  

There was a purpose in Peter’s mother-in-law getting sick with a fever.  If I had been Peter walking around with Yeshua and seeing all that He was capable of, I would have had Yeshua over there at the first sign of trouble.  But, it doesn’t appear that’s how the scenario worked out.  

With the backdrop of her healing, we learn, in part, a  purpose of all the calamities, ailments, difficulties and sins of humanity:  “Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.”  These are the very things that God uses to show mankind their sin and their need for the Saviour.  He alone has the “touch” that does in fact cure all who come to Him by faith.  The forgiveness of our sins and the experience of the new-birth serve as precursors to the eternal joys that await all who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb.

So, perhaps the next time I’m sick I’ll try to do two things.

1. Gratefully remind myself that “the diseases of the body are the emblems of the sin of the soul.”  

2. And thank Him all the more for the blessing of eternal salvation in Yeshua … the Lamb of God which came to take away the sin of the world.