Read Matt. 8:1-17
Mat 8:16-17 That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. (17) This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.”
Even before Jesus is hanging on the cross he is bearing the weight of our sins. In his visible ministry he heals people by taking on their illnesses and diseases. These are a consequence of sin in the world. Not that any particular disease has any particular sin associated with it. But our root sin, unbelief, adheres to the flesh and causes us to bear the consequences of that sin.
Sickness and disease for the Christian then is to recognize our continued state of sinfulness and to call upon Christ for his mercy trusting that despite our sick state the Father is still pleased with us on account of Christ. Certainly Jesus healed many in his day and he still does, but for his purposes for his glory. If we pray for healing and do not get it, it is for our benefit. But never-the-less we appeal to Christ even as the leper, the centurion and the demon possessed with the words of St. Peter and Isaiah, 1Pe 2:24 “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”
But what when Christ does not heal us physically? The we must remember these words of St. Paul, “2Co 1:5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” Our sufferings are Christ’s sufferings. He has born them already for us on the cross. Now the sufferings we bear are not ours but Christ’s. It is in these sufferings, through faith that God is renewing us. In that same epistle Paul writes, “2Co 4:16-18 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. (17) For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, (18) as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
So we should expect to outwardly waste away. It isn’t pleasant. In fact often times it is excruciating. (ex=from, cruci=the cross) But if we look to Christ that this is his suffering then we can be sure that inwardly we are being renewed so that on the last day we will bear the weight of eternal glory. We will have glorified bodies like Christ’s body.
And to think that this is so is to believe it is because Jesus has born our grief and pain. It is only a slight momentary suffering, but the glory we are to bear is everlasting.
Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you for taking our sinfulness upon yourself, bearing our grief, pain and shame. Help us to realize this and through our suffering be are being transformed into your image from glory to glory. Amen.