We think of Jesus as teacher. Perhaps prophet. But healing people was the hallmark of his earthly ministry. He is no longer with us as he was with the people of first century Palestine, but the episodes of healing those in need are numerous enough.
We also hear of Jesus curing people in large numbers. “Many” is how Saint Matthew recounts it.
As for these few verses in Matthew 8, perhaps they get too much focus from people who acclaim, “See?! Peter had a mother-in-law, and therefore a wife. We should have married priests!” I don’t think that’s the main point of this brief passage that follows the Sermon on the Mount.
Jesus entered the house of Peter,
and saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever.
He touched her hand, the fever left her,
and she rose and waited on him.
Note the Lord doesn’t wait for a request for healing. He sees a need and acts on it. Sometimes God knows what we want or need before we even ask for it.
When it was evening,
they brought him many who were possessed by demons,
and he drove out the spirits by a word
and cured all the sick,
to fulfill what had been said by Isaiah the prophet:
“He took away our infirmities
and bore our diseases.”
That line from Isaiah 53 is read on Good Friday. Often it is interpreted there as the Lord’s Servant taking away our sins. Let’s be cautious about connecting sins with diseases. But certainly Jesus is prepared to do anything for us. his ministry and mission is the fulfillment of a long story of redemption begun in Genesis 12. That story includes the eventual eradication of sickness, possession, and death. One day we will all be free. It’s inevitable.
For an in-depth treatment of the Pastoral Care rites, check this page that outlines our examination from a decade ago.