Matthew 8; Mark 2-4; Luke 7: “Thy Faith Hath Saved Thee” (February 27-March 5)

Jesus Healing the Sick,” by Joseph Brickey, after Heinrich Hofmann

The Healer

Nephi saw in a vision the life of Jesus Christ, including the miracles He would perform:

I beheld multitudes of people who were sick, and who were afflicted with all manner of diseases, and with devils and unclean spirits; and the angel spake and showed all these things unto me. And they were healed by the power of the Lamb of God; and the devils and the unclean spirits were cast out.

1 Nephi 11:31

Nearly 500 years later, an angel told King Benjamin that Jesus would work “mighty miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases. And he shall cast out devils, or the evil spirits which dwell in the hearts of the children of men” (Mosiah 3:5-6).

Just as Nephi and Benjamin prophesied, Jesus was known as a healer during His ministry. Matthew says, “His fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them” (Matthew 4:24). Mark describes the number of people seeking His help as a significant challenge: “He spake to his disciples, that a small ship should wait on him because of the multitude, lest they should throng him. For he had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues” (Mark 3:9-10, see also Mark 3:20-21). And Luke tells us that when two disciples of John the Baptist asked Jesus if He was the Messiah, He simply said, “Tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached” (Luke 7:19-22).

Matthew tells us that these healings were a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy: “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4; see also Matthew 8:16-17).

Many of these healings were in response to people who loved the afflicted, such as the centurion seeking help for a beloved servant (Matthew 8:5-13, Luke 7:1-10), the widow in Nain mourning the loss of her son (Luke 7:11-18), or the men who lowered their friend through the roof to get him closer to Jesus (Mark 2:1-12).

On that last occasion, Jesus explained one of the reasons He healed so many people: as a symbol of the spiritual healing He offers to all of us. “Which is easier,” He asked, “to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’?” (Mark 2:9, NIV). If He could heal so many people of their physical infirmities, surely He can heal us of our less-visible spiritual maladies. Here is a blog post on this topic: The Healer

Publicans and Sinners

A publican was a person who collected taxes on behalf of the Roman government. The Jews in Jesus’ time considered the publicans among them to be traitors who had sold out to their oppressors. Many of them were shocked that Jesus would spend time with publicans, including calling one of them to be an apostle. (See Mark 2:14-15.)

But Jesus saw things differently. His job was to heal people, not to condemn them for their wrong choices. When He was criticized for hosting publicans and sinners in His home, He responded “They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mark 2:17). Here’s a post about that statement: A Physician.

Forgiveness is an act of grace, the bestowal of an unearned gift. When a Pharisee named Simon wondered why Jesus allowed a sinful woman to wash His feet, Jesus explained that she was grateful because her sins had been forgiven. (See Luke 7:36-50.) We can follow the example of the Savior by forgiving others more freely. Here is a blog post on that topic: How Can I Be More Forgiving?

“Peace, Be Still”

As Jesus and His disciples crossed the Sea of Galilee, a fierce storm suddenly arose. As they worked to save the ship, Jesus calmly slept in the back of the boat. Frustrated, they finally woke Him, asking, “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” After calming the storm, He asked them, “Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?” (Mark 4:35-41; see also Matthew 8:23-27, Luke 8:22-25).

In contrast, Nephi was able to remain calm when he and his family experienced a severe storm while crossing the ocean. (See 1 Nephi 18:16). And the Jaredites “did sing praises unto the Lord” as they crossed the ocean in enclosed barges, trusting that He would lead them safely to their destination. (See Ether 6:9.)

Sometimes, when we face challenges, we are like the disciples on the ship. We fear the worst, and we wonder why God hasn’t yet come to our rescue. Just as Jesus calmed the storm, we need to learn to calm our fears. We need to follow the counsel of the psalm: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10; see also Doctrine and Covenants 101:16). Here is a blog post about how to do that: “Be Still”.

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