When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. (Matthew 19:1-2 NIV)
This is what I first saw upon opening up the Bible app on my phone today. It must have been where I left off the last time I used YouVersion. Normally I’d jump over the opening screen go to a reading plan or favorite go-to passage. The Spirit of the Lord moved me to rest here a while and consider what Matthew reveals, and ponder what he doesn’t give us in detail.
In Matthew 18, we see that Jesus has been talking with his guys, the teacher instructing his disciples. In 19:1 they’ve apparently wrapped things up. Jesus leaves Galilee with his disciples and crosses the Jordan into Judea. According to internet sources, the distance from Galilee to Judea was about 70 miles. On foot this would be 2-1/2 to 3 days, steady going.
Jesus has large crowds of people following him. Reading Matthew 19:2 again, I noticed something remarkable. Jesus did not heal the people in Galilee, He waited until they got to Judea. This seems very intentional to me. I certainly don’t understand the reasons why, but Jesus waited to heal them.
So they went on this journey together. Matthew doesn’t tell how difficult the travel was, but I imagine it was no piece of cake. Every step of the way, Jesus was with them. Even in their suffering on that long hard road, He was there. Ultimately, in His perfect timing and with great compassion, He healed them.
Matthew doesn’t list the types of things from which people were healed. Matthew simply says Jesus did it.
What of the people who chose to follow Him? The spiritually and physically sick, hurting, desperate, grieving, wanting, hungry, broken. Full of hope, for 70 miles, they followed Him. In the end, their faith was rewarded.
Matthew doesn’t share the individual God-stories detailing each person’s miracle or the testimonies of life-changes that took place. My guess is that each person who was healed that day couldn’t wait to tell others about their journey and encounter with Jesus!!
I see so hope and promise in these two short verses!!