October 20


"This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: 'He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases' " (Matthew 8:17, NIV).

Large crowds had gathered from everywhere to the city of Capernaum to see Jesus. Profoundly moved by the people's desperate need for healing, Jesus initiated a series of healing miracles. There a man suffering from leprosy was instantly made whole, before the crowd, by the touch of the divine Healer. The servant of a Centurion was healed from long distance by the spoken word. At sunset on Sabbath, as Jesus stood by the door of Simon Peter's house in Capernaum, the crowds intensified as people brought their friends and relatives for healing (see Mark 1:33; Matthew 8:14). In this action-packed setting, Matthew portrays Jesus as the empathic healer.

In describing Christ's empathy with those who suffered from diseases and infirmities, Matthew carefully paraphrases Isaiah 53:4 (NIV), saying, "He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases" (Matthew 8:17, NIV). While "Isaiah refers primarily to the 'infirmities' of sin, as the context makes evident (Isaiah 53:4), Matthew interprets it [the passage] in a more literal sense."--SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5. p. 364.

Christ is not only sympathetic, but also empathetic, with human suffering. He feels with us and for us. He is never detached from our human frailties. Our wonderful Redeemer is still our compassionate, empathetic burden bearer and friend. He is ever present to minister to our need for healing, comfort, and encouragement. No one understands and cares like Jesus. "Jesus knows our weakness. He is acquainted with our besetments and infirmities, and it is his delight to give us aid; for He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities."--Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, March 1, 1893.

My Prayer Today: Lord, because You are the empathic healer, I look to You for the healing touch. Amen.