Matthew 9:35. “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.”
The miracles in this chapter are certainly not all that Jesus performed. This verse tells us that He spent an unspecified period of time going from city to city, village to village, in the countryside and in the synagogues in Galilee. He preached the gospel of the kingdom; He taught; and He healed every sickness and every disease among the people. Not just a few; every single one. Think of that!
Have you ever wondered what it must have been like to walk with Jesus during this time? I don’t think we should glamorize what Jesus must have seen as He traveled. These people had been conquered by Rome. There were many poor, many ill, many crippled and blind and mute. There was a surfeit of demonic activity. They were cast away, as sheep not having a shepherd.
As I’ve thought about this verse, I’ve wondered about the crowds. They were almost certainly the “rabble,” people with no jobs, nothing to give them any hope in a very dark time in the history of the nation. I don’t imagine they brought along clean clothing, soap, or toothpaste! Some of the towns along the way must have dreaded the approach of Jesus, followed by crowds of ne’er-do-wells, to say nothing of all the diseased ones who hoped for healing. This was no stately promenade of learned, scholarly, wealthy people who had their servants along to spread a picnic lunch. They were the downtrodden, with now and then a group of Pharisees who were there to find fault with Jesus. He was upsetting their apple carts, for sure, and they weren’t happy about it at all.
Understanding all this makes the next few verses even more touching and compelling.