And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. 24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them. Matthew 4:23-24
In Matthew, chapter 4, Jesus was tempted to turn stones into bread. After fasting for 40 days, His hunger was overwhelming, and His power always available to act. But having that power and using it for His own satisfaction was an act He rejected. He would live by the word of God. Job in the midst of intense suffering made the same declaration—“I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” (Job 23:12)
I have had extraordinary opportunities for ministry this week for people to whom I have extended God’s call to surrender their appetites for food. I offer them the words of Job and I teach them about our glorious bodies, knit together by God, and made to maintain itself one cell at a time with food nutrients which in America are tainted with chemicals and grown in soil lacking in the very nutrients we need.
Jesus chose to maintain His body in the ordinary way, by eating the food of that day, rather than speaking to the stones and creating a super food that would sustain Him. How much time and hassle He could have saved by not needing to eat! As a man, He submitted Himself to the Father’s will for the appetites of the body, and the scripture says He learned through suffering!
There is power in understanding how to nourish the body and walk in health. It is so easy to come across as arrogant and judgmental of those who are sick, or addicted, or dependent on drugs with devastating side effects. Jesus’ example in Matthew 4 spoke deeply to me this morning. After rejecting Satan’s temptation, he began his ministry of teaching, preaching, and healing. He taught His followers the principles of the Kingdom, preached to those who were lost and blinded by religious tradition, and He healed everyone.
Yes, He healed everyone. Some had very ordinary afflictions, and surely that day was no different from ours. Gluttonous and neglectful eating has brought on chronic pain and illness. Jesus healed them. He healed neurological injuries. Finally, research is helping to explain how the brain deteriorates from blast and concussion, exposure to heavy metals and toxins, and deficiencies of essential nutrients. These things have brought epidemics of “mental” illness with a physiological root to our current generation. Jesus healed those with seizures; the helpless children; He healed everybody.
Some were demon possessed. He healed them too by casting out their torturers. He made no distinction between the natural suffering and the supernatural suffering. He healed everyone.
The point I am making is this– It is more than 2,000 years later, and industrialization has robbed us of putting our hands in the dirt and understanding God’s seed that produces abundance and nourishment beyond our wildest scientific theory. It is wrong to succumb to the temptation to eat the stones turned to bread—the empty potato chip that screams to our brain’s bliss point, and the processed toxin laden boxes and bags that offer our bodies only misery in the long term. But Jesus did not distinguish between the natural and the supernatural. He healed the body. He restored. He alleviated suffering. He loved. All of us need His healing touch.
And He continued to set the example to eat the ordinary and nutritious food to provide for His body. Then He nourished His body, soul and spirit by every word that proceeded from the mouth of God. Will you follow His example? How we need the touch of God to be whole! When we seek Him, He heals us and we leave behind the destructive lives that held us in bondage. Some of the things He changes are assaults in the natural; some are in the supernatural. He comes with love, and I get a new understanding of His desire to make me whole. How I love Him!