And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.
And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.
It is neat to see clues as to how Matthew arranged the gospel he was writing. He put things together on purpose. The verses above show a set of bookends for this section in which Jesus both teaches the people and heals, he declares truth and displays compassion.
For the truth declaration, we get the Sermon on the Mount, chapters 5-7. We certainly do not see any more densely packed section of teaching from our Lord anywhere else. Think of all the things that are covered in that section: marks of kingdom citizenship and blessing, a call to live so that we make a difference, a high view of Scripture, anger, lust, divorce, vows, kindness, giving, prayer, fasting, devotion to God, anxiety, judging others, exclusivity of the gospel, obedience to the commands of God, and still more. Clearly, teaching the truth of God, the truth of Scripture, was important to Christ.
In chapters 8-9, we see the other side of the ministry of Christ, displaying the compassion and kindness of God. As Jesus traveled around, he did things that only God can do. As he did these things, he showed people that the kingdom of God was at hand, that he personally was bringing it to earth. He was turning back the effects of the fall by the power of a loving God. Think of what we see him do: healing a leper, healing the centurion’s servant with a command, healing Peter’s mother-in-law (I suppose Peter asked?) (And, look, the Pope had a wife!), casting out demons, calming a storm with a word, driving multiple demons out of some men (and causing a bacon shortage—collateral damage?), healing a paralytic, demonstrating his authority to forgive sins, healing a woman with a chronic and long-standing illness, raising a girl from the dead, giving sight to blind men, and restoring speech to a man who could not speak because of a demon.
What do you get when you find a person who speaks with the authority of God, who forgives with the authority of God, and who turns sickness to wellness and death to life? What do you have when you find a person who can declare the kingdom of God and then demonstrate that it is present in him? What do you get when you have a person who does all that the Old Testament promised that the Savior would do? Clearly, you have the Messiah. You have God with us.
Lord Jesus, you are worthy of praise. Your wisdom is beyond compare. You speak the word of God, because you are God in flesh. You do the works of God, because you are God in flesh. You bring the kingdom of God, because you are King of kings and Lord of lords. You are worthy of my life, and I affirm again my commitment to follow you. Please, be my Lord and allow me to be your servant.