Common Human Weakness and Sickness

Matthew 8:16 When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick:

17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.

James 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.

14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Sickness That Manifests the Work and Glory of God

John 9:3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

John 11:4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.

Afflictions Allowed for a Trial to Your Faith

I Peter 1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.

I Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. (See also verse 19).

Afflictions Sent to Teach, Chasten or Humble Us

Psalm 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.

71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.

75 I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.

II Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Affliction Which Prepares Us for Death

II Corinthians 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

5:1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.


MEMORY VERSE: But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. —Isaiah 53:5


CENTRAL THOUGHT: We all endure common human weaknesses and illnesses; these we bring to the Lord in faith for healing, trusting in the blood of His atonement for sins and sicknesses. Some illnesses are allowed by God to try our faithfulness, chasten or teach us, or to manifest His glory. Others are unto death; through them God prepares us for heaven and manifests His keeping grace to others.




Matthew 8:17 “That which was spoken by Esaias”: a quote from Isaiah 53:4, “Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” “The word translated ‘griefs’ in Isaiah, and ‘infirmities’ in Matthew, means properly, in the Hebrew and Greek, ‘diseases of the body.’ In neither does it refer to the disease of the mind, or to sin. To bear those griefs is clearly to bear them away, or to remove them. This was done by his miraculous power in healing the sick. The word rendered ‘sorrows’ in Isaiah, and ‘sicknesses’ in Matthew, means ‘pain, grief, or anguish of mind.’ To ‘carry’ these is to sympathize with the sufferers; to make provision for alleviating those sorrows, and to take them away. This he did by his precepts and by his example; and the cause of all sorrows – ‘sin’ – he removed by the atonement” (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible).

James 5:13 “Afflicted”: to suffer or endure evils, pain, hardship or troubles.

James 5:15 “Save”: rescue; preserve; heal; deliver out of danger into safety.

I Peter 1:6 “Heaviness”: distress; deep, intense emotional pain or sadness; severe sorrow; the word is even used to refer to the pain of childbirth.




The verses from Matthew come from the scene where Jesus, after He had healed Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever, healed the multitude of sick and possessed people who came to Him that evening. As He accomplished both spiritual and physical healing, Matthew recalled the prophecy given of the Messiah by Isaiah. In another place Matthew told of Jesus healing “all manner of sickness and and all manner of disease” and “divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy” (Matthew 4:23-24). This lets us know that he healed diseases of the body, those of the mind, and those of demonic possession. He is just the same today!

James brings us the truth again that Jesus is healer of both soul and body. Jesus commissioned His disciples to preach the gospel to all the world, promising them signs that would follow, among which was the recovery of the sick when the disciples laid on hands. James was admonishing the church to continue this command, and early church history records that they rejected the healing temples dedicated to the healing god, Aesculapius, and relied upon prayer instead. An interesting detail about Aesculapius is that he was depicted carrying a staff entwined about with a snake. The symbol is used as a medical emblem today.

In John’s account of Jesus healing the blind man, the disciples had asked Jesus if his blindness was a result of his sin or the sin of his parents. Some Pharisees believed in the transmigration of souls—the false idea that the souls of men were sent into other bodies for the punishment of some sin they had committed in a pre-existent state. The disciples may have been referring to this, or to another view that unborn babies had emotions which might be and often were sinful. Blindness can also be a result of a sexually transmitted disease in the mother. But Jesus refused those ideas and said the blindness was for the purpose of God’s works being made manifest in the man, as Jesus proved when He healed him.

Later on Jesus was told of his friend Lazarus’s sickness. He delayed going to visit him, saying that the sickness was not unto death. Lazarus did die, however, and Jesus, arriving after he had been buried, wept with his friends at the tomb before working a miracle and bringing Lazarus back to life. May we not conclude then, that there are illnesses that would be fatal, but God sees fit to intervene and extend life; in other cases He may make it known that the sickness is “unto death.”

Some illnesses and afflictions—losses, persecutions, oppression from satan—are for spiritual reasons, as the author of Psalm 119 and both Paul and Peter explain. They work much good for our souls and for the kingdom of God. They try, prove, and increase our faith and trust in God. They demonstrate God’s power and grace to endure suffering with joyfulness. They refine us from selfish desires and carnal personality traits. Sometimes they chasten us because of unwise choices we’ve made, proud or uncharitable attitudes we may have had, or harsh and critical judgments we’ve passed on others. Suffering tempers these things and makes us compassionate toward others like nothing else can.

As we definitely know, it is appointed unto man once to die; the disciples all died and so have all that have come after them. At some point, God says it is our time to go. True saints of God love not “their lives unto the death.” They trust God and praise Him in death as well as in life; thus by life or by death, they magnify and glorify God in their bodies (Philippians 1:20).

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck




1. A Healer Foretold: Who prophesied that Jesus would bear our sicknesses and infirmities? What does that mean to you?

2. For Us To Do: What five things did James tell us to do when we are sick? 3. Trials of Faith: Share spiritual blessings that result.




Most of us take good health for granted when we are young. We feel great, have lots of energy and strength, and can eat pretty much anything. But some face real struggles with illness. It can be discouraging to never feel good, day after day; to be prayed for time after time and never see any change.

If you’re in this place as a young person, I want to encourage you that having prolonged illness doesn’t mean God doesn’t love you or that He’s not hearing your prayers. It doesn’t mean that Jesus didn’t bear YOUR burden of infirmity; nor does it mean that you don’t have faith, or that you have done something wrong. Read the precious promise in Isaiah 30:19-21.

Trusting Him doesn’t mean we don’t do anything. Rather, we do all we can to care for this temple the Lord gave us. We can learn which foods are best for us, and which to avoid.

Simple things like pure water, fresh air, exercise and good rest can cleanse and restore the body. These things are to God’s glory as much as clean, honest living. When we have done our best, we can trust Jesus to do the rest, in His time and in His way.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck




“Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” (Isaiah 48:10)

Many times throughout my battle with autoimmune disease, I have asked God, “Why?” I struggle with feeling like I am being punished for something, I know not what. But God’s answer came so clearly to me one day, “I have chosen you for this battle,” just as Isaiah 48:10 says. I should count it a privilege, not a punishment, that God has the confidence in my faith in Him to allow me to go through these trials.

There are many such examples in the Bible; God handpicked men and women to endure great pain and hardship in order to refine them and redeem others around them. Esther’s uncle Mordecai admonished Esther “…who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14b) Esther saved the life of her uncle and the entire Jewish race because she bravely embraced the trial God gave her. Paul faced numerous perilous mishaps and trials, and begged God three times to remove his affliction. However, because of all the hardships Paul endured, he is one of the greatest examples of courage and dedication we have in the Bible. The story of Joseph has richly blessed me, as well. Trial after trial broadsided Joseph, yet he never admitted defeat or wavered in his faith.

I encourage each of you to not shun the cross God has chosen for you, but rather, to embrace it! Then we, like Joseph can say, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good…” (Genesis 50:20) With God on our side, our final outcome is always victory!

—Sis. Megan Williamson, Beggs, OK