And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spoke to them of the kingdom of God…
And healed them that had need of healing. And who are they to whom these words do not apply? In a world as full of sin as ours is, there is nothing of which we have greater need than a Divine Healer. For sin means sickness, disease, derangement, pain - both spiritual and corporeal. Every human ear wants to hear those gracious words, "I am the Lord that healeth thee;" every human heart has occasion to plead, "Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed;" every soul is again and again in need of the great beneficent Physician.
I. As THOSE LIABLE TO DISEASE AND PAIN. Considering the extreme intricacy of our bodily structure, and considering also the irregularities and evils of which we are guilty, it is wonderful that there is as much health and as little sickness as we find. But he is an exception to his fellows who goes for many years without ailment and, indeed, without illness. And we have all of us reason to bless the Lord of our lives that he heals us so readily and so often. He heals in two ways.
1. By conferring on us a nature which has recuperative powers, so that without any medical aid the wound is healed, the organ recovers its power and fulfils its functions.
2. By giving us medicinal herbs which our science can discover and apply, the nature of which is to heal and to restore. In both these cases it is the Lord of our human body and of nature who "works" (John 5:17) for our benefit. Our art, where it is exercised, only supplies one condition out of many; it alone would be utterly insufficient. Whenever we are healed of any malady, slight or serious, we should join in the exclamation of the psalmist (Psalm 103:3), and feel that we have one reason more for gratitude and devotion. Let those who have been brought back from the gates of the grave by Christ's pitiful and healing kindness consider whether they are paying him the vows which they made in the hour of suffering and danger (Psalm 66:14).
II. As THE CHILDREN OF SORROW. Possibly we may know nothing of serious sickness - there are those who escape it - but we all know what sorrow means. Trouble is a visitor that knocks at every door, that finds its way to every human heart. It may be some gradually approaching evil, which at length culminates in disaster; or it may be some sudden blow, which badly bruises if it does not break the heart. It may be the heavy, entangling loss; or the grave, oppressive anxiety; or the lamentable failure; or the sore and sad bereavement. How precious, then, beyond all price, the healing of the Divine Healer! In these dark hours our Divine Lord comes to us with ministering hand.
1. He impels all those who are dear to us to grant us their tenderest and most sustaining love; and human kindness is a very healing thing.
2. He grants us his own most gracious sympathy; he is touched with a feeling of our infirmity; we know and feel that he is with us, watching over us, "afflicted in our affliction;" and the sympathy of our Saviour is a precious balm to our wounded spirit.
3. He comes to us in the office and the Person of the Divine Comforter, directly soothing and healing our torn and troubled hearts. Thus he heals us according to the greatness of our need.
III. AS THOSE WHO SUFFER FROM A WOUNDED CHARACTER. A wounded spirit is worse than a bodily infirmity (Proverbs 18:14); but a wounded character is worse than a wounded spirit, for that is a spirit that has injured itself. There are those who present to their friends and neighbours the spectacle of bodily health and material prosperity; but what their Master sees when he regards them is spiritual infirmity. They are weak, sickly, inwardly deranged. Their hearts are very far from being as he would like to see them; instead of ardent love is lukewarmness; instead of reverence is flippancy of spirit; instead of a holy scrupulousness and a wise restraint is laxity if not positive disobedience; instead of zeal is coldness and indifference to his cause and kingdom. Of all men living, these are they who have most "need of healing." And Christ both can and will heal them. To such as these he says, "I will heal thy back-sliding; "Wilt thou be made whole?" And if they will but go to him in a spirit of humility, of faith, of reconsecration, they will receive power from his gracious touch, they will rise renewed; and as they rise from the couch of spiritual langour and indifference to walk, to run in the way of his commandments, to climb the heights of close and holy fellowship with God, a deeper note of joy will sound from the depth of their hearts than ever comes from the lips of bodily convalescence, "I will extol thee, O Lord; for thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me." - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing.