People in the city of Capernaum heard about Jesus’s recent miracles and yearned for healing themselves. Not wanting to violate custom, they waited until the end of Sabbath to approach him. This special day lasted from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday, and Sabbath regulations prohibited any work. This included carrying a sick person from place to place, even to receive healing. Aid was only permitted when a person’s life was at immediate risk.
As the sun set, the people in Capernaum could wait no longer. They didn’t let Jesus get a good night’s sleep. They wanted immediate healing no matter how dark the sky. The oppressive nature of sickness, disease, and demonic forces created desperation that could only be calmed by Jesus.
Some were oppressed by demons, and with a simple word Jesus cast out these spirits (Matthew 8:16). Others were sick until Jesus healed them by laying his hands on them (Luke 4:40). The various diseases are not mentioned by name, but other portions of the Gospels describe Jesus healing a large variety of maladies. In Mark alone, Jesus heals individuals from fever, leprosy, paralysis, hemorrhage, deafness, and blindness. But regardless of the specific type of sickness or disease, Jesus made himself available day or night to minister to those who sought him out, and in this particular instance, likely served them late into the night.
Realizing the value of immediacy, Jesus cared about and for each and every one of their physical needs. What would it matter if a blind man spent one more day without seeing? Or if a lame man sat on a mat a little longer? Surely, Jesus could have asked them to come back the next day, but instead he went out of his way to show them that their physical needs mattered.
Since the first taste of forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, we’ve lived separated from our creator in a broken world. Sin leaves nothing but destruction in its wake. As a result, we all have wounds that need bandaging. Jesus demonstrates his compassion by meeting us right where we are, day or night. He cares about our needs no matter how big or small. He is with us as we sit beside the hospital bed of a loved one. He is with us when we go to sleep at night racked with guilt over having lost our temper with our toddlers. He is there to encourage us when our student loans pile up, or when depression torments our souls.
But He doesn’t stop with our temporary needs. Jesus’ compassion leads us to a greater realization—we need eternal restoration with God. If all God did was bandage our wounds, we’d experience a bit of his love, but we’d still live separated from him in a world without peace. We need a long-term solution to the sin that enslaves us. Only Jesus can bring us healing and restoration.