Summary: This little story is full of the tender, merciful heart of God as expressed through the actions of Jesus.

Passage: Matthew 8:14-17

Intro: When I saw this little passage coming, I wondered if I should just skip it.

1. not much going on, minor healings without any dialogue.

2. but what a mistake that would have been, because this passage reveals some really beautiful things about Jesus.

3. and those beautiful things are revealed in the face of human need.

4. these quiet moments, this gentle interaction, let us see the tender heart of Jesus, the gracious heart of God.

5. and for people who are being made in the image of Jesus Christ, we can look at his heart and see what ours can be.

6. To be reflections of the heart of God in a dark world, this is the call of God to His children.

7. to do that, we need to see the world as Jesus saw it.

I. The Normal Human Condition is One of Desperate Need

1. since sin entered the world, this has been our normal state.

2. sickness, disease, poverty, war, storms, broken relationships, the list is long.

3. and since this is all we have ever known, we have gotten used to it.

4. we like it when things go well, and sometimes think this is normal as well.

5. but the Bible makes it clear that the good things of this life are based on the kindness and gracious mercy of God.

PP Matthew 5:44-45

6. in the face of the desperate state of mankind, God has limited the results of sin, and instead given us common grace.

PP “Common grace is the grace of God by which he gives people innumerable blessings that are not part of salvation” Wayne Grudem

7. and yet God allows sin to peak thru in the death that surrounds us, the illness and trouble and bad weather and economic downturns

8. in this passage, we see these cracks on common grace in a couple of ways.

9. Simon’s mother-in-law has a fever and is in bed.

10. word is used to describe a disease, not a symptom like we would use it. Could be like malaria

11. and in v16, we see a representative group of ill people; demon-possessed, various sick people.

12. this is the common state of mankind, and if we are not sick today we may well be tomorrow.

PP sick people waiting

PP Doctor-patient ratio chart

13. because of the common grace of God and our human history of war, disease and death, we don’t always see our state as one of desperate need.

14. but death takes us all, and trouble is so common as to be seen as normal.

15. But God sees our state as abnormal, and consistently does something about it.

16. let’s see what He does by looking at Jesus.

II. The Tender Heart of God Revealed

1. look closely at v14

2. “he saw her”…and there was an initiation of concern and care.

3. there is a great tenderness in this passage, the heart of God stirred to action through the sight of this woman in distress.

4. and there is this awesome power to heal so tenderly demonstrated thru a touch and instantaneous health

5. and the same happens in the town of Capernaum that evening.

6. probably end of Sabbath, so at sundown they can move around freely

7. I just love the picture. Probably a few people, not a big crowd

PP Jesus healing some people

8. and without fanfare, Jesus one by one heals the people there.

9. but we need to look beyond the physical reality of healing to what is happening.

10. that’s why Matthew takes us back to Isaiah 53:4

11. the fur really flies among scholars over this verse!

12. when the dust settles, here is the conclusion:

13. when OT quotes are used in NT, the writer has in mind the whole context, not just the verse in question. (Just like any good interpreter of Scripture.)

14. Matthew probably used his own translation, not same as LXX

15. so when Matthew refers to Jesus bearing our infirmities and our diseases, he is referring to physical ailments, but in the context our the substitutionary nature of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.

PP Isaiah 53:4-6

16. we cannot separate the healing ministry of Jesus from His work on the cross. They are parts of the whole.

17. Jesus came as the Healer/Savior, the one who dispenses common grace to alleviate the effects of sin, and who dies so that we might be enjoy the eternal saving grace of being reconciled to God thru His substitutionary death.

18. so when we look at this passage we say with Matthew, “Look, the Lamb of God who not only brings the powerful kindness and grace and mercy that we so desperately need in this world, but who also takes away the sin of the world!!”

19. our great multi-tasking God, doing so many wonderful things at the same time, and while doing them, revealing His character to us so that we might believe in Him, have faith in Him, transfer our trust to Him.

20. what we are seeing here is what God is like!

PP Hebrews 1:3

21. but God’s purpose is that we go one step beyond just being thankful for Jesus.

III. The Followers of Jesus are Called to Be Like Jesus.

1. one of the things God is doing in giving us this little passage is revealing His plan to us.

2. this tender little passage, so quiet and unassuming, shows the heart of God.

3. and the heart of God is what God is recreating in us.

PP Romans 8:28-29

4. so we look at this passage and ask, what is there I can emulate here?

PP “we see need and respond”

5. we are surrounded by need. It can be overwhelming. Respond to the need around you.

PP “we are dispensers of common grace”

6. God’s common grace is not based on what we deserve, but according to His love.

Il) one of my great joys is to help people who call, because you have provided thru your gracious generosity the means to do so.

PP “we are proclaimers of saving grace”

7. Jesus was the means of saving grace. We are not that.

8. but we point to Him, proclaim forgiveness of sins thru His death and resurrection.

PP “we are the visibly transformed results of God’s grace for the world to see”

9. when people look for God in the world, they should see us; His hands and feet! 10. people who are in partnership with God in caring for the worlds needs, alleviating the effects of sin, explaining the reality of sin and pointing to the One who can heal both body and give life to the dead spirit.

11. it isn’t one of the other! It is both!

Conc. This is the part where I’m supposed to bring out the guilt-whip and pressure you into service.

1. sorry to disappoint you.

2. I just want to point to Jesus, this wonderful healer, savior, teacher, lover of the unlovely, and say…

3. is there anyone else you would rather be like?

4. is there any more fulfilling life than to walk in His footsteps as the tool of God’s gracious plan for the world?

5. there is need in our home and in our neighborhood and in our community and everywhere we look.

6. to respond to it like Jesus did…this is our life’s goal.