Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Isaiah 40:1
Jesus welcomed the crowd, and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed to be cured. Luke 9:11
Comforting the people of Israel was something they needed. Chapter 40 of Isaiah begins among people living in captivity, in exile. They are sad, discouraged, so the prophet is asked to comfort them. He is able to tell them about God’s promises for deliverance and eventual return to their land. These promises of God come true, both in that people’s time and, as we believe, also in the time of Jesus.
In Luke 9:10 we learn that Jesus and His disciple have just retired away from the crowds of people so they can get some rest. They probably needed a nap and some time to talk among just their own little group. Yet, the crowd figured out where they went, and followed right along. Does Jesus do what we would when we want a nap and people want us to visit with them? Nope, He welcomes them. He sees their needs both physical and spiritual, and He takes the time to speak to them.
Jesus tells the crowd about the kingdom of God. Then Luke says He “healed those needed to be cured.” Not, all those that were sick, but all that needed to be healed. Interesting way to phrase that. Were there some that were ill that did not need to be cured? That seems odd. Were there some who didn’t’ want to be cured? In a commentary by Alexander MacLaren, he lists three things that he sees in this verse about healing.
First, we ALL are in need of healing. Some in that crowd had physical ailments, but all of them. Jesus healed them. What about the rest of the people and us? There is spiritual sickness, or sin, that everyone has. Thus, we all need the healing that we can get from a relationship with Jesus. Secondly, Christ can heal us all. He has the power to do this, the power was shown through His life on earth, death and resurrection. “It is Jesus Christ alone who can cure the sins, and therein the sorrows, of humanity.”
Finally, the third thing is that not all will be healed. Jesus healed those in the crowd that needed healing, in other places in the Bible we read of other healings. We know however that many are not healed when they pray, their illness continues, death ensures. However, we all have the potential to be healed spiritually. We do need to accept that we have an illness called sin and need His saving grace. God has already provided salvation for us, all we need to do is say thank you and accept it, and share the message of His love.
Lord of comfort and compassion, when we come to you with our hurts, hopes, and problems, you gladly receive us with open arms. Grant healing , hope, and wholeness to all who ae sick or suffering today. Fill us with your compassion, so we too can be welcoming to all those who seek you. Help us, we pray, to bring healing and restoration. In Jesus’ name. Amen.