In Matthew 8:17 Jesus fulfills a prophecy which said, “Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.” This was fulfilled by his healing the sick in the previous verse (Matt 8:16).
Healing miracles during Christ’s ministry to Israel were signs of their promised kingdom come. Jesus explained this in Luke 10:9:
“And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.”
Last week’s ministry update mentioned that the “Lord took on our infirmities” in a note about the coronavirus. It was pointed out to me this sounded very much like Matthew 8:17 as if Christ is removing our sicknesses today. This is a mistake. Here’s why.
Israel’s covenanted kingdom is not being signaled in this dispensation. We are not living in the times of Israel’s kingdom signs.
Sick and Weak Under Grace
While Jesus was made in the likeness of sinful flesh (Rom 8:3), touched with the feeling of our infirmities (Heb 4:15), and died for our sins (1 Cor 15:3), Christians today under grace are not spared from sickness or death.
Our apostle Paul suffered infirmities for Christ’s sake and the Lord did not remove them. This was so the power of Christ by his grace might rest on him in his weakness (2 Cor 12:9-10). Paul traveled with a beloved physician that helped with his ailments (Col 4:14). Timothy suffered infirmities often as did other companions in Paul’s ministry (Phi 2:26; 1 Tim 5:23).
God’s message today is not that the saved are immune to sickness, pain, death, or would physically overcome their enemies. This is the message of Israel’s kingdom.
God’s message today is that his grace is sufficient to save the weakest sinner in their infirmity (Rom 5:8).
Though we still get sick and weak in the flesh, he provides spiritual strength to the inner man by his grace through faith. When we are weakest in the flesh we die, and it is then that his grace is magnified most for it is then that we are glorified with Christ.
Why would the Lord want a bunch of weak and sickly servants? Wouldn’t it magnify the miraculous power of God to remove all sickness? Yes it would, and it will do that when his future kingdom removes the curse from the earth.
But we do not live in the kingdom where God will have perfect healing and no more sickness, death, or pain. We live in a broken and presently evil world (Gal 1:4).
Instead of abolishing infirmities, God wants us to minister the bearing of infirmities in our weakness through his strength.
“We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” – Romans 15:1
“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2
If God’s ministers were all spared from sickness then our bodies would never point to the power of Christ in us, but only the power of God to cure disease. It requires greater power to live through hardship than to be spared from it. This is the power of God’s grace (2 Cor 4:7-8).
How to Get Help
How do we get help with our infirmity?
Physically, acknowledge that we all are weak and will eventually die. Until that day, remember that our body is the Lord’s (1 Cor 6:19-20). See a doctor, eat well, get rest and exercise. Take care of yourself. After all, we live for Christ’s sake.
Positionally, we are already dead waiting for the hope of glory. Until that day, your inner man needs strengthened to bear infirmities for Christ’s sake. Whether you are alive, dead, or sick Christ can be magnified, because hope is not found in your flesh but in the Lord (Phi 1:20). His strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor 12:9).
Remember, that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in the saints (Rom 8:18).
Rejoice in the Lord, pray without ceasing, in every thing give thanks (1 Th 5:16-18). Continue doing the will of God for today, to live by grace walking by faith, because his grace is where you find the power of Christ.