He Takes Our Illnesses

Read: Matthew 8:14-17

He touched her hand, and the fever left her. (v. 15)

In Jesus’ society, women were second-class citizens. They were not allowed to enter the inner courtyard of the temple. They literally didn’t count in the synagogue; thirteen men were required in order to organize a synagogue. Outside of marriage, men and women were not allowed any physical contact.

But Jesus’ first three healing miracles of a leper, a gentile, and a woman show him ignoring taboos and smashing prejudices. New Testament scholar Frederick Dale Bruner notes that the structure of the temple reflected the exclusions that characterized Old Testament worship. The outermost courtyard was the Court of the Gentiles. Next came the Court of the Women, then the Court of Men, then the Holy Place, and finally the Holy of Holies, where only the high priest was allowed to enter once a year with the blood of atonement. But Jesus broke down all of these walls that kept people apart from one another and distant from God. At the climactic moment of Jesus’ death, even the curtain that veiled the Holy of Holies was torn in two, “from top to bottom” (Matt. 27:51). Bruner comments, “Jesus is the great Wallbreaker. A leper, a centurion, and a woman; one physically excluded, one racially excluded, and one sexually excluded from the innermost worship of the community—these Jesus heals first” (Matthew, rev. ed., 1:386).

What message do you think this action of Jesus might have for his church today? —David Bast

As you pray, give thanks that Jesus has broken all the barriers.

About the Author

david bast

Rev. Dave Bast retired as the President and Broadcast Minister of Words of Hope in January 2017, after 23 years with the ministry. Prior to his ministry and work at Words of Hope, Dave served as a pastor for 18 years in congregations in the Reformed Church in America. He is the author of several devotional books. A graduate of Hope College and Western Theological Seminary, he has also studied at both the Fuller and Calvin seminaries. Dave and his wife, Betty Jo, have four children and four grandchildren. Dave enjoys reading, growing tomatoes, and avidly follows the Detroit Tigers.