Making People Whole

KEY VERSE: “Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the Gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.” —Matthew 9:35


IT WAS because of Jesus’ faithfulness in bearing witness to the truth that he was “the light of the world.” (John 9:5) Not only did he preach the Gospel, the good news, by word of mouth, but by his miracles as well. God’s promised blessing of all the families of the earth will mean the destruction of sickness and death. The good news of the kingdom would lose its real meaning if it were robbed of this comforting fact. So, in order to give more weight to his oral message of glad tidings, Jesus used the power of God granted to him for this purpose to give practical demonstrations of what the Gospel really meant. True, he healed only a few of the people, but we know that when the promises of God are fulfilled, all the families of the earth are to be blessed in the same way.

The Holy Spirit’s commission for service, as quoted by Jesus, is that of Isaiah 61:1-3. There is a slight variation in the New Testament wording of this commission from that of the Old Testament account, but the meaning is the same. The account in Isaiah states, “The Lord hath anointed me to preach the good tidings unto the meek.” Jesus spoke of this as preaching the Gospel to the poor. Both renderings indicate that the Gospel is not for the self-satisfied of this world, but only for those who are hungering and thirsting after righteousness. It is the sweet and consoling influence of the Gospel that binds up the brokenhearted.

The Holy Spirit’s commission for service speaks of setting captives free and of opening prisons to them who are bound. It seems reasonable to suppose that one of these expressions refers to those who are bound by chains of darkness and superstition, and that we set them free through the power of the truth; while the other is a reference to those who are held prisoners in the great prison-house of death.

Jesus was able literally to set some of these free, and we can all, even as Jesus did, proclaim to the people that the power of God is yet to be used for setting free all the captives of death—that Jesus has the ‘keys of hell’ and will unlock its gates and set its prisoners free. What a glorious message, and what a blessed privilege is ours of proclaiming it, of telling the whole world these wondrous tidings of great joy!

A point was added by Jesus to the Holy Spirit’s commission which does not appear in Isaiah’s outline of it—the recovering of sight to the blind. While the Prophet Isaiah, in chapter thirty-five, forecasts this, and our Lord carried it out literally, here it might well be merely an elaboration on the thought of preaching deliverance to the captives, that is, those who are bound by ignorance and superstition. To give these the light of truth and thus free them from the enslaving cords of darkness has much the same thought, symbolically speaking, as giving sight to the blind.

“To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord”—here is a dispensational truth, a reference to the plan of God for the present Gospel Age. It is a reference to the work of sacrifice which began with Jesus and will be completed at the end of the Gospel Age, showing that this is the acceptable year, or time, for those sacrifices to be made.

Jesus did not quote the entire commission of the Holy Spirit as it is recorded in Isaiah 61:1-3. He omitted that part which speaks of the “Day of Vengeance of our God.” He recognized that the commission to proclaim a message of this kind could not apply until this end of the age, when the day of God’s vengeance would be upon the world, so he did not apply this to himself. However, this part of the divine commission for service has a special application to us at this end of the age.

And how should the Day of Vengeance be proclaimed? Does it mean that we are commissioned to pronounce vengeance upon the people? Certainly not! God’s judgments are already upon the world, and we stand merely as the interpreters of what it means. The expression, ‘to comfort all that mourn’, is associated with proclaiming the Day of Vengeance, and the thought we get from it is that by properly explaining to those who have an ear to hear the meaning of present world distress, we comfort them.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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