Facing It (Matthew 8:16)

Photo by Sven Scheuermeier on Unsplash

Jesus is literally fulfilling Isaiah 61:1-2a, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is  on me,  because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” His day has so far consisted of finishing his Sermon on the Mount, healing the leper, getting to Capernaum, meeting and ministering to the centurion (teaching those following him in the process) and then arriving at Peter’s house and subsequently healing Peter’s mother-in-law. It’s been a busy day of significant ministry that any pastor would’ve been more than pleased with. But according to Matthew’s account, the day is not yet over for Jesus: “When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.”

In teaching the multitudes on the mount, Jesus has launched a full-scale offensive against the spiritual forces blinding people from understanding their true purpose as God’s children. 1John 3:8 details, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work,” and that is what Jesus was doing. Destroying the devil’s work of sickness, affliction, oppression and limitation. The sermon on the mount began that work, the healing of the leper, the centurion’s servant and Peter’s mother-in-law demonstrated that work, and this episode of intense ministry into the evening speaks to the enormity of that work. 

The reality is that while doing that work, the devil is unwittingly helping. Unable to defeat Jesus through temptation, is now trying to defeat Jesus through sheer exhaustion. He allows that many of his demonic minions afflicting God’s people are sacrificed in an effort to grind down the Son by presenting Him with case after case after case of those bound or oppressed. Healing ministry is faith-filling but tiring work. The reward of seeing someone brought into fullness of health is certainly exhilarating, but the mental clarity involved in listening to God for another, and the spiritual effort involved – not just in prayer, but in ministering in the power of the Holy Spirit – is just as tiring as any physical job can ever be. 

Healing ministry is hard work. Deliverance ministry is nothing less than exhausting work. Operating at that level of spiritual warfare is like being in the front line of a war. To say it is mentally, emotionally and spiritually intense is an understatement. That Jesus, who has just finished a very full day of ministry, now addresses the ‘many’ needing deliverance and the ‘all’ needing healing is nothing short of astonishing. No doubt it required Jesus to work very late into the evening. Yet this He does. Each time, Jesus overcomes. Jesus’ endurance and perseverance in his ministry caused that what the devil meant for the defeat of both God and His people is turned into victory for both God and God’s people. 

With each individual ministered to a son of the King is freed, the Kingdom of God advances and the reign of the evil one is eroded. Jesus is completely destroying the devil’s work, albeit one soul at at time. To this end the Father strengthens Him and enables the work. We know this because years before, Isaiah wrote of the Father, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” 

Praise God, He gives strength to all who are weary in His work, for then all will know that it is not us, but God who does the work! Glory to God. 

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

the apostle Paul (from Ephesians 6:10)

APPLICATION: Thankfulness

Praise God that when we are weak, He is strong. When we are tired, He is fresh. When we are exhausted, He is still warming up! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *