Matt. 4:23 ¶ Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.
Jesus was going throughout all Galilee. This is a map of the Promised Land during the time of Jesus. Galilee is near the top, just to the left/west of the Sea of Galilee. Nazareth, the town that Jesus grew up in, was also in Galilee.
Jesus was teaching in the synagogues. The synagogues were the center of Jewish life. Each Jewish village had a synagogue. As Jesus was going around teaching in their synagogues, He was meeting with Jewish people in smaller groups, not just the huge crowds that gathered to hear Him preach.
He was proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom. The word “gospel” means good news. We saw this earlier in the Gospel of Matthew. Jesus was going around telling people the good news about the kingdom.
As Jesus traveled around He healed people. Notice the words “every kind”. They appear twice. He healed “every kind” of disease and “every kind” of sickness among the people. It wasn’t just isolated cases of Jesus healing people. He was healing just about anything and everything. Any kind of disease or sickness you can imagine those people had, Jesus was healing it.
Part of the reason Jesus was doing this was to demonstrate that He was God. One of the ways to do that is not just heal a few people, but to heal a lot of people. And not just to heal one or two diseases, but to heal every kind of disease. By healing every disease, Jesus was demonstrating mastery over every disease.
Matt. 4:24 ¶ The news about Him spread throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and He healed them.
Even though Jesus was traveling in Galilee, the news about him spread up to Syria. If we go back to our map of the Holy Land, we see Syria up north. It was a good 30 to 40 miles from Galilee up to Syria. People can generally walk about 30 miles a day, so it was at least a day’s journey away that this news about Jesus had spread.
Notice the word “all”. They didn’t just bring a few people for Jesus to heal. They brought many people for Jesus to heal.
Then the text tells us Jesus healed various pains and diseases. There are some examples listed: demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics. We see it stated again that Jesus healed them. Jesus didn’t just heal one or two diseases or one or two people. He healed many people. He healed a lot of different diseases.
I want to focus in on the word “paralytic”. I want to draw a contrast between what Jesus was doing and what some people in the 21st century do when they claim to be healing people. As you probably know, there are pastors and preachers in the 21st century who claim to have the gift of healing. They stage healing events where they’re supposedly healing people.
One of the things about those events is they heal things you cannot see. Therefore, there’s no way to independently verify that people are indeed being healed. You can’t verify whether people are being healed, or whether it’s just a bunch of actors who pretended to be sick, and then pretend to be healed.
With Jesus that wasn’t a problem. Jesus healed paralytics. Think about paralytics. Back in the days of Jesus, there were people who were paralyzed for years and the community, the family, and a lot of people knew those people were paralyzed. When Jesus came along and healed them, then those people walked around and obviously weren’t paralyzed anymore. There were many people who could independently verify the reality that Jesus actually healed those people.
That’s what’s missing in the 21st century with these pastors and preachers who claim to have the gift of healing. There’s no way to independently verify they actually healed someone.
Here is why I’m focusing on paralytics. Think about some of the famous people in our society who are paralyzed or have some sort of a disability. We have people in our society who have been blind for decades. We have people who have been in wheelchairs for decades. We have people who have legs or arms that have been amputated. If all these pastors and preachers who claim to have the gift of healing want to do what Jesus did and want to prove they’re actually healing, they should go and heal some of these famous people.
They should heal people who have been missing legs or arms for several decades. They should heal people who have not been out of a wheelchair for several decades. If they heal those people, then the rest of the world could see that these people were actually healed. Then we would know for sure that these pastors and preachers have the gift of healing.
But these pastors and preachers who claim to have the gift of healing are not doing that. Instead, they are supposedly healing people you don’t know, and they are supposedly healing diseases you can’t see. There’s no way for us to know for sure that these pastors and preachers are actually healing people.
I point this out to draw a contrast with what Jesus did. When Jesus healed people, it could be independently verified that people had been healed. Jesus healed paralytics. There were people who had been paralyzed for years. Their family and their community knew these people had been paralyzed. When Jesus healed them, the family and the community had no doubt in their mind that Jesus had actually healed them.
Matt. 4:25 Large crowds followed Him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan.
Large crowds followed Jesus. The text lists various geographical regions where these people came from: Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan.
Galilee is the area where Jesus was traveling so obviously people from that area were following Him. The Decapolis was on the east side of the Jordan Valley. People from the Decapolis were traveling 30-40 miles to see Jesus.
People came from Jerusalem which was far south. Jerusalem was more like 60 miles away. It would have been about a two day journey for those people to get from Jerusalem up to Galilee. Judah was a larger area. Jerusalem was within Judah. Jerusalem is a city. Judah is a region.
Then there’s the area beyond the Jordan. That area was east of the Jordan River. People from beyond the Jordan were traveling two or three days to get to where Jesus was. This gives us an idea of the extent to which the news about Jesus was traveling. It also shows the extent to which people were willing to travel, and the lengths to which people were willing to go, in order to get to where Jesus was in order to be healed or take along a family member or friend who needed to be healed.
These geographical references are important because it tells us the extent to which the news about Jesus spread. It tells us that Jesus was well known. Large crowds followed Jesus and they came from a very wide geographical area.
This is important to understand because part of the point of Jesus healing people was to demonstrate and prove that He is God. The point of the geographical references is to show that Jesus didn’t just do these healings in front of a small group of people. Instead, Jesus did a lot of healings, and He did them in front of many different people. When we consider whether or not Jesus is God, we don’t have to rely on the testimony of just a few people. We don’t have to question whether or not the witnesses made up their stories. Instead, Jesus did his healings in front of large numbers of people. There were many eyewitnesses of the fact that Jesus was able to heal. This means there were many many eyewitnesses of the fact that Jesus is God.
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