Matthew 9 & 10 – Authority over illness

Christ Healing a bleeding woman, as depicted in the Catacombs of Marcellinus and Peter.

All the historical evidence points to the fact that Jesus was a remarkable healer.  He healed by spiritual power.  Not by medical intervention.  Soon after the death of Jesus, the first century biographies of Jesus, known as “Gospels”, are unanimous that Jesus was a spiritual healer:

“Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness.” (Matthew 9:35).

The Jewish scholar and historian, Josephus is very clear about this too.  Josephus ben Matthias is the best known ancient Jewish historian. He was born in 37 AD, only a few years after Jesus’ execution.  Josephus was not a Christian.  He was not a follower of Jesus.  But in his books, Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus wrote:

“Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure.” (Antiquities, Book 18: 3.3). 

Josephus goes on to add that:

“the tribe of Christians so named from him are not extinct at this day.”

Jesus also gave his followers the authority to do wonderful works too such as healing:

“Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness.” (Matthew 10:1).

So often the onset of an illness has the effect of making us feel helpless and passive. The illness has the authority over us.  Jesus gave his followers the authority over illness.  In the language of Jesus, the word translated as “authority”, is in Hebrew pronounced memshalah.  The so-called Old Testament of the Bible s written in Hebrew.  The Hebrew word, memshalah, is first used in the very first chapter of the Bible.  The subject is the creation of the sun and the moon: “God made the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night”. (Genesis 1:16).  “To rule over” is the Hebrew memshalah.  Jesus gave his followers the authority to rule over or have dominion over illness just like the Sun has dominion over the day and just like the moon that dominion over the night.


Rev Dr Peter Pimentel

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