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
Everywhere Jesus went He healed. The Gospel writers record this truth in nearly every chapter of their writings. Jesus had large crowds following Him, listening to Him, and wanting to be physically healed. Healing was central to His mission to inaugurate the Kingdom of God on earth. I talk more about this here.
If you haven’t seen The Chosen, you need to. It is a multi-season show about Jesus and the disciples that is done extremely well. (You can watch it for free in the app.) In a recent episode of The Chosen (Episode 3, Season 2), Jesus is depicted as spending all day healing the sick as His disciples take shifts helping Him. Jesus’s mom, Mary, stops by and talks about His birth. She talks about how Jesus was crying and cold.
Jesus needed Mary.
We like to say things like, “God doesn’t need us,” but in the life of Jesus we see multiple occasions where He put Himself in a place of need. His birth was just the first. It is true that Jesus didn’t have to do the incarnation that way. He could have chosen a way that didn’t involve putting Himself in a place of need. But He didn’t. And since Jesus is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15), we get a sense that God the Father is okay with putting Himself in a position of dependence on others.
So it may be true that God doesn’t have to need us, but that must be held in tension with the reality that God wants to need us. Love chooses to be vulnerable even when it doesn’t have to be.
At the end of The Chosen episode mentioned earlier, Jesus comes into camp exhausted, sore, and dirty from a long day of healing others. He doesn’t say anything to the disciples except, “Good night.” The disciples had just been bickering and arguing and they are stunned and convicted by what they see in Jesus. Mary goes over to wash Jesus’s feet and help him get cleaned up before going to bed. Jesus gives her a kiss and says to her, “What would I do without you.”
And this is the point. Jesus would be fine without her but He chooses not to be. Jesus could have fed the 5000 by Himself but He turned to His disciples and said, “You give them something to eat” (Matthew 14:16). Jesus could have kept healing the sick and spreading the gospel on His own, but He chose to send out the 12 and give them His authority.
Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.
These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “… As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.”Matthew 10:1, 5-8
The same is true for us. God doesn’t need us. But God chose to need us. God wants us. He chose to heal the sick, care for the poor, and spread the gospel through us. We are the now the hands and feet of Jesus in the world. It matters if we obey. It matters if we do what He did. It matters if we follow Him.
Where might God be choosing to depend on you?