Matthew says of Jesus’ healing and deliverance ministry before the cross, “This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.” In other words, Jesus’ active healing ministry is the fulfillment of that prophesy. So it is that Jesus really did take up the infirmities of the people. He healed sickness and weakness, illness and disability. So it is that Jesus really did carry their diseases. He healed leprosy, fever, dropsy and all manner of disease. As Matthew had just noted, “he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.”
Seven hundred years earlier, Isaiah had said, “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” The willing sacrifice of the Son of God was sufficient to meet God’s requirement for justice, completely overcoming the punishment due us for our sins. Therefore Jesus is able to establish peace between fallen people and God Most High. More than that, Jesus’ broken body and death was enough to completely overcome the full effect of the curse laid against Adam’s race. As 1Peter 2:24 testifies, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” Read that again, “By His wounds you have been healed.” Christ didn’t suffer and die only for sins, but also to rid the world He made of the disease and death that plague us.
That Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross was not only for our salvation – but also for our resurrection to full health and immortality – is a key doctrine of the New Testament. The promise of a new bodily reality in which we can enjoy eternity is the promise of the heaven we so eagerly await. It means not only new spiritual life now, but also new physical life in the day to come. To that point Romans 6:4 triumphantly says, “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life,” and Revelation 21 declares, “There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” One day we will be free of sickness and disease and death forever, on account of Christ’s sacrifice for us.
The truly amazing thing is that Matthew is recording the fulfillment of the prophesy even before Jesus suffered. In the fulfillment of the promise before Christ’s suffering and death we see that Jesus is actively moving some of that eternal future blessing forward into the present, in response to the people’s prayer (in coming to Him). Our eternal God can do that because He is present and unchanged in both past and present and future. He is Lord of time as well as space and matter, and praise His Name, He is not bound by time in answering us when we approach Him.
Therefore we can pray for health with some great degree of confidence that our prayer will be fully answered. We can pray with the same confidence that allowed the prophet to declare that Jesus took up our infirmities and healed us by His wounds hundreds of years before Jesus even physically entered our world. For we know that the day is coming when God’s people are totally and forever physically restored. That is a fact. Therefore, the faith we exercise when we pray for healing is not so much to believe the fact we know as it is to ask God to bring something of that future event into our present reality.
It is that effort – to bring the future into the present – that is the greater work on God’s part, and it is our effort to ask Him to do so now that is the greater exercise of faith on our part.
In a determined reliance on a living God rather than on human strength, faith is renewed. When the struggle is engaged actively, believers find fresh hope and renewed lifeLeRoy H. Aden & Robert G. Huges
It takes faith to believe prophesy. It takes faith to believe God for answered prayer. It takes faith to believe for healing. What are you believing God for today?