“He took up our infirmities
and bore our diseases.”
The author of Matthew quotes many Old Testament books in a bid to show the Jewish people that Jesus was truly the Messiah they were awaiting.
One such verse is quoted in Matthew Chapter 8. At this time of his ministry, Jesus was healing many people, including those sick with physical and mental illnesses. The author writes,
“This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
“He took up our infirmities
and bore our diseases.” (Matthew 8:17, NIV)
He is describing the healing works of Jesus to be in line with what was prophesized about Jesus by the Old Testament prophet, Isaiah. This original quote is from Isaiah chapter 53.
First, I was caught by the wording. The word infirmities literally means ‘physical or mental weakness.’ So the author is stating that Jesus took our physical and mental weaknesses and our diseases. Isaiah predicted this, and Matthew showed it had come true, and is true today.
I thought about the struggles I have with anxiety, and how my biggest relief comes through prayer and meditation on God’s Word. Often I feel somewhat guilty going to God with my same burdens over and over, and at times equally as frustrated, but this verse showed me that Jesus doesn’t mind. He wants me to give him my mental weaknesses because he already took them to the cross.
To understand this on a deeper level, we need to go back further.
First of all, where do our diseases and mental and physical weaknesses come from? So many people are quick to blame God when they hear of a loved one’s diagnosis, but God never created these things. When he placed Adam and Eve on this earth, in Eden, they were healthy and disease free. They were strong and vibrant. Until, that is, sin entered. When the forbidden fruit was consumed, sin entered the world, and everything changed.
Diseases, physical and mental weaknesses are all a consequence to the sinful choice that Adam and Eve together made in disobedience to God.
But God loves us too much to leave us there. Enter Jesus. His son, our Saviour. Destined to bring about healing and victory to each of our lives. Before he walked on this earth, many spoke prophetic words about him, especially Isaiah. Here is the some of the original scripture that Matthew was quoting from:
Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:4-6, NIV)
By looking at the original verses, we can understand deeper the truths about the verse from Matthew. Isaiah’s verse shows much more detail, including the words that Jesus was pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities. These words referring to his death on the cross. The punishment that brought us peace, the debt for our sins, was laid on him on Calvary’s hill.
The debt Adam and Eve gave us all in their choice to sin, Jesus willingly paid.
Its already been done. Jesus has already paid the price. This means all of our physical and mental weaknesses as well as our diseases don’t have to be ours to bare any longer. We are welcome to give them to the Lord, because he’s already paid the price.
So what physical weakness do you struggle with? What mental weakness can you not seem to escape? What disease inflicts your body?
Keep on handing it over to Jesus, as often as you need too. He already paid the price. Allow him to heal you, to comfort you, and to take care of you.
The best part of this verse is that it covers all of our sin too. Our mental weaknesses don’t just cover things like anxiety, depression, or insomnia, it also covers all the things we think that cause us to sin: our lust, our hatred, our anger, our jealously, our false motives, our rage, our manipulation, our gluttony, our greed, our pride, … Our physical weaknesses aren’t just our exhaustion, our digestive issues, our muscular problems, but they include the physical sins we do, too: our sexual sin, our violence, our addictions to drugs, alcohol, food, whatever it may be you can’t seem to stop abusing, our thefts, our wrong turns – literally all of it, covered!
Jesus took our physical and mental weaknesses and our diseases. He took them. We can stop living in condemnation because of our sin, and claim victory over it because he has already been victorious. We can stop living in misery, because he has already been victorious.
We can literally give him every single physical and mental weakness and disease every single day and trust in him for a better outcome because he literally took it all.
I am so thankful.