Session #064 Super-Sub
Scripture Matthew 8:14-17
Summary Through Matt 8:14-17, this teaching uncovers Matthew’s key intention for the recording of miracles. Although impressive and sought after, miracles are but signs that point to the main issue – Jesus, the Messiah who came as our Substitute. Henson uses this opportunity to address four frequently asked questions about healing. And then challenges all to consider: As we have been ministered to by the Messiah, like Peter’s mother-in-law, we must also arise to serve Jesus through our kingdom assignments.
Now when Jesus had come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother lying sick with a fever. So He touched her hand, and the fever left her. And she arose and served them. When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities And bore our sicknesses.” Matthew 8:14–17 (cf Mark 1:29–31 and Luke 4:38–39)
This teaching uncovers Matthew’s key intention for the recording of miracles. Although impressive and sought after, miracles are but signs that point to the main issue – Jesus, the Messiah who came as our Substitute. As we have been ministered to by the Messiah, like Peter’s mother-in-law, we must also arise to serve Jesus through our kingdom assignments.
Miracles are Signs
Matthew 8:14–17 records the third miracle in the first group of miracle healings of very unlikely types of people. A Leper who is a ceremonial outcast, a Centurion who is a racial outcast and a Woman, a social outcast. Jesus was breaking barriers and challenging cultural norms. He touches one who is unclean, praises a Gentile for his great faith and touches a woman (which is not allowed by Jewish tradition).
Jesus has authority over different types of sickness and heals all who are sick (Matthew 8:16). He does not limit Himself to a formal ministry setting but would meet the individual where he or she is. Jesus worked on the Sabbath as well as both in Mark 1:29 and Luke 4:38, it was recorded that Jesus left the synagogue.
Miracles have a purpose. As impressive as these miracles are, it is not the main show. Miracles are signs that point to something that is much, much bigger. And this we understand from Matthew 8:17, “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet…”
Messiah our Substitute
There are more than 60 references to Old Testament scriptures that were written to Jews. Simply to show that Jesus is the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament.
Matthew has nine times of “It is written” (it stands written which is authority) in 2:5; 4:4,6,7,10; 11:10; 21:13; 26:24,31. And twelve times of “that it might be fulfilled” (accuracy) in the following,
1:22 fulfilling Isaiah 7:14
2:15 fulfilling Hosea 11:1
2:17 fulfilling Jeremiah 31:15
2:23 fulfilling Messiah will be despised and afflicted
4:14 fulfilling Isaiah 9:1-2
8:17 fulfilling Isaiah 53:4
12:17 fulfilling Isaiah 42:1ff
13:14 fulfilling Isaiah 6:9-10
13:35 fulfilling Psalm 78:2
21:4 fulfilling Zechariah 9:9
26:54,56 fulfilling general Messianic text
27:9-10 fulfilling Jeremiah 32:6-9 and Zechariah 11:12-13.
Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes, we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, everyone, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:4–6
The person and character of the Servant are described in the book of Isaiah (Isaiah 42:1–4; 49:1–6; 50:4–9; and 52:13–53:12). The nature of His assignment is also laid out for us as well.
He has borne our griefs
He has carried our sorrows
He was wounded for our transgressions
He was bruised for our iniquities
He was chastised for our peace
By His stripes, for our healing
The Lord has laid on Him, the iniquity of us all
In one word, the Messiah was to be Israel’s substitute that they, in turn, may have restoration of peace, shalom ( Matthew 1:21).
And yet, not just Israel, but all humanity will receive the restoration of shalom (Isaiah 49:6, and John 1:29).
Jesus is the substitute, our substitute. Just when all seems lost, God sends Jesus in as the Super-Sub. Jesus scores and secures victory. Miracles point to the fulfilment of this aspect of the Messiah.
There are two important observations that will help us better understand Jesus’ ministry of healing. The prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus was alive, not after His death. Matthew declared that Isaiah 53:4 was fulfilled as evidenced by the healing miracles, not Jesus’ death on the Cross. Jesus’ healing ministry was only one aspect of His kingdom assignment, not the only aspect.
Matthew is saying that the miracles affirm Jesus as the Messiah, as prophesied by Isaiah. As Messiah, Jesus will fulfil a greater healing through salvation from sins. Salvation from sin which is spiritual healing is way more important than physical healing. Those physically healed will still die. But those saved will never die. Miracles are signs that point to the main thing.
Matthew translates Isaiah 53:4 directly from Hebrew and applies healing to sickness; whilst Peter relates the healing as from sin (1 Peter 2:21-25). Sickness is a consequence of sin and Jesus took our infirmities and bore our sickness (Matthew 8:17).
Some Common Questions about Healing
Is sickness always a result of sin? No doubt, sickness is a consequence of sin. Although not all sickness is attributed to personal sin, they are related.
Must faith always be present for healing to take place? It is not recorded if Peter’s mother-in-law had faith? She was probably too weak to know anything as Jesus healed her.
Does Jesus still heal? There is no doubt that Jesus still heals. But more important than physical healing is spiritual restoration.
Is healing for today and for everyone? Healing is still available today but we must know that complete and total healing will only be realized when Jesus comes. Then there will be no more tears, pain, sickness and death (Revelations 21:4).
Ministered to Serve
This miracle also teaches us that Jesus saves so that we may serve. Matthew tells us that after Jesus touched her hand and the fever left her, she got up and began to wait on him (Matthew 8:15). She Arose and Served Jesus which implies nothing more than just being a good hostess. But the verb diakoneo in this text means to minister and serve. She did not merely serve as a hostess, but she became a servant of Jesus.
She was first ministered to by the Messiah and then she became a minister of the Messiah. After Jesus serves us, we serve Him. We have been saved to serve (2 Timothy 1:8-12).
God has saved us and called and invited us with a holy calling. These miracles are merely signs that point us to Jesus and His kingdom. We have been saved for a glorious purpose.
Just as Paul was appointed and assigned, so are we to be appointed and assigned, to be an Archippus.
This third healing completes the picture. The healing of the leper was about cleanness or holiness: Sanctified and Useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. The story of the centurion was about great faith that resulted in great faithfulness, gaining entry into the kingdom of God. And now, the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law is about discipleship, service, and ministry. All of them are considered second-class citizens, a nobody in their society.
Miracles are Signs, we are to keep praying for healing. Jesus is the king, and so when Jesus came the kingdom came with Him. Jesus preached the good news of the kingdom, and He demonstrated the truth and reality of that kingdom by healing every disease and sickness among the people.
Jesus the Messiah is our Substitute. Isaiah 53:4-6 was a prophecy that Jesus came to take away our sins, and by extension, He takes away the consequences of our sins which are sickness, suffering, and death.
We are Ministered to Serve, we are saved to serve. God calls us to serve one another just as Jesus did. Jesus preached, taught, healed, and performed miracles in order to help others. He poured out His very life so that others might be saved.
What about the Body of Christ? Are there more spectators and bench warmers than there are those willing to fight and sweat it out on the pitch? Could the Lord be signalling to the saints and calling us to get “off the bench” and be part of His end-time strategic game plan? It is not about the superstars anymore. We need to do our part to establish what Jesus, our Super Substitute, has already secured for us.