Most kings and potentates remain isolated – some because of fear for their safety; some because they enjoy their privacy. For whatever reason, world leaders and men of fame find it “lonely at the top.” The higher they rise in power, the more isolated they become. There are few exceptions.
Now look at the King of kings. The more His fame spread, the more He mingled with the masses. This is because our Lord is no ordinary King. He came inviting men to join Him in the greatest quest of all time – the quest to become children of God and inherit eternal life. Our Lord longs to associate with men. He walked among men on this earth, and invites us to walk with Him in that eternal city “which hath foundation whose builder and maker is God” (Heb. 11:10). Listen to His invitation: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28-29). The same sentiments are echoed in the closing words of our Lord to the church at Laodicea: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Rev. 3:20). He is a King who, unlike His earthly counterparts, desires to walk with men. The more we study the life of Jesus, the more we come to appreciate this fact.
At the end of Matthew chapter four we were told that “Jesus went about in Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of disease and all manner of sickness among the people…and they brought unto him all that were sick, holden with divers diseases and torments, possessed with demons, and epileptic, and palsied; and he healed them” (Matt. 4:23-25). Few details are provided at that point by Matthew; only that Jesus went about doing good. The inspired historian then takes us into the mountain with Jesus, where the King delivers His great Sermon on the Mount. Our Lord then descends to the plain below to enter into His labors among the people. Generalities give way to details, and in chapters 8 and 9 we see the King of kings walking and working with men. Matthew selects ten miracles of Jesus to help us get a glimpse of a King Who spent time with the people in order that He might show them the compassion and love of the Father. Now watch as this King walks among men; all kinds of men: publicans, sinners, Scribes, Pharisees and beggars by the wayside. There were the wealthy and the poor, the city dwellers and country folks, all with one thing in common – a genuine need. Each of the miracles in Matthew 8 and 9 provides us with an aspect of our Lord’s walk with men. Let’s consider each of these.
First, there is the healing of the leper (Matt. 8:1-4). Our King walks with the unclean, and who know they are unclean. This leper was humble enough to recognize his need, and then flee to the only One Who could cure his leprosy. “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean!” (vs. 2). Not ‘if thou canst,’ but ‘if thou wilt.’ The leper did not question the Lord’s ability, but His willingness. He wanted to know if this Jesus would walk with men, and in so doing, heal him of his leprosy. Oh how the leper’s spirit must have been lifted with he heard Jesus say, “I will; be thou made clean” (vs. 3a). Those caught up in sin want to know if Jesus will walk with them. The answer? He does – not in their sin, but in order to cleanse them of their sin.
Second, there is the healing of the centurion’s servant (Matt. 8:5-13). Our King walks with those willing to show compassion towards others. Like the leper, this centurion came to Jesus, “beseeching him” (vs. 5). The plea was not for himself, but for his servant. His servant! Not a family member; not even a dignitary – but a servant. Jesus walks with those who care for others.
Third, there is the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law (Matt. 8:14-15). Our King walks with those willing to serve. Our omniscient Savior knew full well that Peter’s mother-in-law would arise and serve after her healing. God is looking for men and women who have the heart and the mind of Jesus (Phil. 2:5), who are willing to serve rather than to be served. Jesus is our example in this. He is the epitome of complete surrender of His will to the will of the Father. Do you have the heart of a servant? If so, our King will walk with you.
Fourth, there is the calming of the sea (Matt. 8:23-27). Our King walks with us in times of peril. When trials and tribulations come our way, our King will walk with us, and He uses our trials and tribulation to make us stronger. J.C. Ryle is credited with having written the following:
There is nothing which shows our ignorance so much as our impatience under trouble. We forget that every cross is a message from God, and intended to do us good in the end. Trials are intended to make us think – to wean us from the world, to send us to the Bible, to drive us to our knees. Health is a good thing; but sickness is far better, if it leads us to God. Prosperity is a great mercy, but adversity is a greater one, if it brings us to Christ. Anything, anything is better than living in carelessness, and dying in sin.
When persecution arises, Jesus will continue to walk by our side.
Fifth, there is the casting out of demons (Matt. 8:28-34). Our King walks with us when evil surrounds us, overwhelms us, and threatens our very soul. We live in a world of sin. “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in the evil one” (1 John 5:19). It should not surprise us when, like Lot, our souls are “vexed…from day unto day with their lawless deeds” (Jude 8b). Still, our King walks with us, even to the end.
Sixth, there is the man sick of palsy (Matt. 9:1-8). Our King walks with those who are suffering from the ravages of sin in their life. In the case of the palsied man, his sin brought ruin on his physical life as well. I am not denying the horrible predicament this man endured because of his palsy. But let it be pointed out that Jesus addressed this man’s spiritual malady first. “Thy sins are forgiven” (vs. 2b)! Sin has brought much harm physically to those who have lived in rebellion to their God. Such seems to be the case here. But in spite of the man’s foolish mistakes, Jesus was willing to walk with this man.
Seventh, the healing of Jarius’ daughter (Matt. 9:18-26). Our king walks with us in the depths of our sorrow. Here was a father whose child was so sick that her very life was threatened. “Twelve years of sunshine were threatened with eclipse; twelve years of playfulness were merging towards a tragedy in the heart and life of Jairus” (Morgan). Jarius was driven to the King out of the depths of sorrow. Eventually the child would die; but out of the “sleep of death” her soul would return to the body from which it had departed, and the child would arise.
Eighth, the case of the woman with an issue of blood (Matt. 9:20-22). Our King walks with men when nobody else will stand by their side. Matthew tells us she had “an issue of blood.”
That descriptive phrase must be considered in the light of the age in which she lived, and not in the light of our age. First, by reason of her trouble, she was excommunicated religiously. The Hebrew economy did not permit a woman so suffering to take any part or place in the worship of God. She was shut out from temple and synagogue worship. She was divorced from her husband by the same law. She was ostracized from society (Morgan, Electronic notes).
Alone, afraid, and timid, this woman had no one else to whom she could turn. Her money was gone, and her doctors had failed her; all that remained was her hope that just a touch might heal her. Her faith drove her out of the dark recesses of her fear with a desire to touch the boarder of Jesus’ garment – just the boarder, in hopes she might find healing. She was not disappointed.
Ninth, the healing of the two blind men (Matt. 9:27-31). Our King walks with those who long for sight. “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, and comet to the light, lest his works should be reproved. But he that doeth the truth cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, that they have been wrought in God” (John 3:20-21). If a man closes his heart to the truth, God will cease to walk with that man.
Finally, the healing of the dumb man possessed of a demon (Matt. 9:32). Our King walks with those whose lives have been ruined by the power of Satan. Here was a man so captured by the power of the devil that he was unable to speak. Yet once the evil had been cast out of his life, his tongue was loosed, and the dumb man spoke. I wish I could have been there to hear what the man said once his speech returned; no doubt his words were filled with praise and thanksgiving for his healed body, not to mention the healing of his soul. Surely, this man rejoiced knowing that God walks with men.
Ten miracles, declaring to us that our King walks with men. Morgan summed up all of this in a most remarkable way:
The sorrowing father, a wealthy man, a man of position, but his life overshadowed because his servant was dying; he came to Jesus. The woman who had lost everything that was worth having, religious privilege, family care, social position, all her wealth; she came to Jesus. Two blind men who, perhaps, as one of the commentators says, did often talk about what other men saw, and perchance did often talk about the Healer Whose fame had gone through all the district, unable to see His face, unable to see their own, unable to see the faces of their loved ones; they found their way to Him. The demon-possessed man, who could not find his way to Jesus, was brought by others. All kinds of need. Thus the King passed into the midst of the multitudes, and He drew to Himself, into the closest circle, the most needy people from among the crowds. And so it is to-day. It is the broken heart, the bereft, the discouraged, the unfit, that He will bring nearer to Himself than any others (Morgan, Electronic notes).
Don’t tell me Jesus does not care. Don’t tell me that He stands aloof, or that He is isolated from our cares, our woes, and our needs. More than ever, we can be assured that Jesus is a King that walks with men.
By Tom Wacaster