The Messiah would perform signs of healing

The Messiah would perform signs of healing

Reference: Isaiah 35:5–6
Fulfillment: Matthew 11:4–6; Luke 7:20–23

In Isaiah 35:5–6, the prophet speaks of the day of salvation this way: “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert.”

In Matthew 11, John the Baptist has just been imprisoned. In his perplexity—if the Messiah has come, how could this be?—he sends his disciples to ask Jesus if he really is the Coming One. Jesus responds in this way: “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me” (Matthew 11:4–6; see the parallel passage in Luke 7:20–23).

Jesus alluded to other passages besides Isaiah 35 (which speaks of the blind, the deaf, the lame, and the mute). Isaiah 26:19 says, “Your dead shall live”; Isaiah 29:18 also refers to the healing of the deaf and the blind; while Isaiah 61:1 speaks of bringing good news to the poor (quoted by Jesus in the synagogue of Nazareth (Luke 4:18–19).

In Jesus’ ministry, we see him do all these miracles. From Matthew’s Gospel alone, we see Jesus:

Healing the blind:

As Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” When he entered the house, the blind men came to him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” And their eyes were opened. (Matthew 9:27–30)

Healing the lame:

Getting into a boat he [Jesus] crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men. (Matthew 9:1–8)

Cleansing a leper:

A leper came to him [Jesus] and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” (Matthew 8:2–4)

Healing the deaf:

As they were going away, behold, a demon-oppressed man who was mute was brought to him [Jesus]. And when the demon had been cast out, the mute man spoke. And the crowds marveled, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” (Matthew 9:32–33; the same word can mean “deaf” or “mute,” and both were often found together.)

Raising the dead:

While he [Jesus] was saying these things to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” And Jesus rose and followed him, with his disciples…. And when Jesus came to the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion, he said, “Go away, for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. And the report of this went through all that district. Matthew 9:18–19, 23–26)

Preaching good news to the poor:

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. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (Matthew 9:35–36)

In Jesus’ ministry, Isaiah’s prophecy of messianic healing was fulfilled in a powerful and compassionate way. Though there remains suffering in the present time—remember John the Baptist had been locked away and was soon to be beheaded—the healing miracles of Jesus show that the Kingdom of God has come, if not yet in its fullness.

Note also that throughout the book of Isaiah, trust in God is a paramount theme. These blessings do not come to those who turn away from God, but for those who trust Him, there is blessing even in the midst of trials and tribulations.