Matthew records numerous miraculous healings that Jesus performed during His ministry. After several of them recorded in the first part of Chapter 8, Matthew explains in verse 17, “This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.”

In other prophetic announcements concerning the healing that would come from the Messiah, it’s prophesied that he would touch what the current culture had classified in many ways as “non-people.” They were the blind, the lame, the lepers, the insane, demonically possessed, etc. Jesus did just that. He would heal people of the wrong racial origins (such as the Gentile woman in Mark 7:24-30), or those who lived in the wrong kind of places (like the man in the Gentile graveyard in Mark 5:1-20), and others who by any definition were ritually impure (such as the woman with a permanent menstrual flow, Mark 5:25-34). We can’t help but notice the strong theological foundation of Jesus’ miracles of healing. All the stories of healing carry with it the same underlying theme of care and concern for the lost and outcast and rejected of society. Jesus even said that he did not come for healthy people, but only for the sick. He did not come to save the righteous people but only the sinners.

But Matthew makes it clear in his quote from Isaiah that the Messiah wouldn’t just heal us outcast sinners, he would actually “take our illnesses.” He would actually “bear our diseases.” You see, Isaiah, who foresaw the humiliation and sacrificial life and death of Jesus, said, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief: He was despised and we esteemed Him not. Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed. . . . The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” Matthew 5:7