53 And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore. 54 And when they were come out of the ship, straightway they knew him,55 And ran through that whole region round about, and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was. 56 And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.
These people had expectations of Christ. This has been discussed before, the many diseases the people suffered. You can see this in many third world countries, in the Southern Hemisphere mostly, today with thousands upon thousands of people born into leprosy, blindness, and other sicknesses for which they have no hope of being cured. There was a time in our own country that cholera and yellow fever and even malaria weren’t so uncommon. These people had heard of Christ’s reputation and flocked to Him in the hopes of being healed or of having a loved one healed.
Leviticus 14:2 This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest:
Psalm 38:7 For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh.
Psalm 41:8 An evil disease, say they, cleaveth fast unto him: and now that he lieth he shall rise up no more.
Look at how the faith healers have to set up a tent, take up an offering, advertize on television. Why don’t they do it like Christ did if they are genuine? If you could really heal people you wouldn’t need our modern rituals. People would probably throw money at you to be healed of cancer.
We live in that time between the death of the last person who knew Christ before and just after the resurrection and the beginning of the Great Tribulation, that period of time we call the Church Age. We have the Bible. If God supernaturally heals someone today He doesn’t use a special person to work through because we have the Spirit of God residing inside of us. If it is His will to heal us supernaturally He can do it through that Spirit.
God has permitted modern medicine and sanitation to meet with the Bible and add to it in a way that would not have been possible in an ancient people like the Hebrews. Admonitions to wash wounds in running water, for cleanliness, sanitation rules, and dietary restrictions that were found in the Law of Moses given as the civil and ceremonial law to the Hebrews are understood now in a way that they weren’t for thousands of years. God has permitted the science and practice of medicine to move fast and far in the last century and a half. We have, for some strange reason, learned more since 1900 than in all the centuries previously combined about real science in regard to medicine, sanitation, food preparation and storing, and in the industrialized nations many of the diseases that would have afflicted these people of first century Judea are unheard of.
What expectations do we have of Christ?
There is still one disease for which man has no known cure that he came up with in a laboratory. There is a 0 percent chance that you will be cured on your own or that even the symptoms will be relieved. It can still destroy your life and even harm others, at the very least making your life less than what it could be. It is called sin. Some who become Christian had a disciplined and submissive spirit even as unbelievers so they come to the Bible and say, “I will obey.” For the most part and for much of the time they do quite well, at least on the surface. But, they often don’t feel a need or a draw to read the Bible very much. It is enough for them to be told what to think by a favorite pastor or Christian celebrity, even someone from the political world who claims to be a Christian.
Others realize they are wicked. God has delivered them from something that ruled their lives like alcohol, drugs, or sexual sin. They are more than aware that they did nothing themselves but accept what was done to them. They have no intention of placing themselves back into a situation where they could fall. They seek God’s will through His Bible every day. They need to be changed, they know that. They are willing to be changed by God’s word. They come to the Bible, to prayer, to a church meeting expecting something to happen, wanting something to happen, desiring to be filled with the Spirit of God that’s inside them much like a glass with a little water, when heated up, is filled with water vapor. They need and desire to be filled and overflowing with God’s Spirit, not in a way that manifests itself necessarily in acts of emotional abandon but in the fruit of the Spirit.
The ancient Hebrews were known physically by the civil and ceremonial law they kept which distinguished their daily and religious life from those around them. The modern Christian should be known physically by the fruit of the Spirit inside of him or her that can’t help but reveal itself to those around them.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
What expectations do you have of Christ? Do you run to Him pleading and expecting to be changed, to be made more like Him, to be made a vessel meet or worthy for His use? Do you seek to be in His presence, to be filled by His Spirit that dwells in you?
Do you seek to be made whole, perfected, and complete? Or do you think you’ve already arrived? I’d rather be in that desperate crowd seeking to touch the hem of his robe than in the clique of Pharisees standing self-righteously by looking down their noses at the great unwashed throng pleading for mercy from the One who created them.