The Gospels are peppered with the stories of Jesus’ miracles, particularly those of healing. As Isaiah had prophesied, He healed the blind and released those who had been held captive by disease, sometimes after many years of suffering (see, for example, Mark 5:24-34, John 5:1-15). But He did more than this: He made the lame walk again; He healed lepers—not just by word but by touching them, “unclean” though they were; He confronted demons who were possessing people’s minds and bodies; and He even raised the dead.
We might expect these miracles to have been about attracting crowds and proving His powers to His many doubters and critics. But this was not always the case. Instead, often Jesus gave instructions to the person healed not to tell anyone about it. While it seems the just—healed people were unlikely to follow these instructions and keep their wonderful news to themselves, Jesus was trying to show that His miracles were about something more significant than a spectacle. The ultimate goal, of course, was for the people to receive salvation in Him.
Yet, the healing miracles of Jesus were an expression of His compassion. For example, in the lead-up to the feeding of the 5,000, Matthew narrates, “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick” (Matt. 14:14, NIV). Jesus felt the pain of those who were hurting and did what He could with the people He came into contact with to help them and lift them up.
Read Isaiah’s prophecy in Matthew 12:15-21. In what ways do Isaiah and Matthew identify what Jesus was doing as something larger than healing a few—or even a few hundred—sick people?
“Every miracle that Christ performed was a sign of His divinity. He was doing the very work that had been foretold of the Messiah; but to the Pharisees these works of mercy were a positive offense. The Jewish leaders looked with heartless indifference on human suffering. In many cases their selfishness and oppression had caused the affliction that Christ relieved. Thus His miracles were to them a reproach”. – Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 406.
Jesus’ healing miracles were acts of compassion and justice. But in all cases, they were not an end in and of themselves. Ultimately all that Christ did was for the purpose of leading people to eternal life (see John 17:3).