Isaiah 53 includes a lengthy prophecy about the Messiah including the statement that “He took our infirmities” (Isaiah 53:4, BSB) or “he himself bore our sicknesses” (CSB). Matthew alludes to this verse when speaking of Jesus Christ’s healing ministry: “When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:
‘He Himself took our infirmities
And bore our sicknesses’” (Matthew 8:16–17, NKJV).
After Jesus explained the righteousness needed for people to enter His kingdom (Matthew 5—7), He began healing people. He healed a leper (Matthew 8:1–4). He healed the servant of a centurion (Matthew 8:5–13). He healed Peter’s mother-in-law (Matthew 8:14–15). He healed many who were demon-possessed (Matthew 8:16). Matthew explains that in healing these infirmities Jesus fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy that “He Himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases” (Matthew 8:17, LSB).
There were many evidences that Jesus was the Messiah. John the Baptist testified to His identity when he baptized Jesus (Matthew 3:15). At Jesus’ baptism the Holy Spirit showed that He was upon Jesus (Matthew 3:16). Also at Jesus’ baptism, the Father audibly proclaimed that Jesus was His Son and in Him the Father was well pleased (Matthew 3:17). While Jesus Himself claimed to be God (e.g., John 8:56–58), He also acknowledged that a matter should be affirmed by two or three witnesses. He offered even more than that to affirm His deity and His role as Messiah: John the Baptist, the Father, and Scripture (John 5:33–39). But Jesus also pointed people to His works as testimony of Him. He even explained that the works He did were a greater testimony than that of John (John 5:36). Those works included fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy that He Himself took our infirmities.
The works Jesus did were signs pointing people to His identity as the prophesied Messiah who would take away sins. The apostle John explains that there were many more signs that Jesus performed than were recorded in John’s Gospel. The signs that John recorded were written down so that people would believe in Jesus—that He is the Christ, the son of the God—and that believing they might have life in His name (John 20:30–31).
Isaiah and Matthew recognized that the Messiah would bear the sicknesses and griefs of the people. The Messiah would come to heal and to give life. Jesus came fulfilling those promises, even to the extent of giving His own life to pay for the sins of all humanity. As Paul would later explain, we have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus (Ephesians 2:8–9). God’s gracious gift was Jesus, and by Jesus’ death He graciously paid for sin. That grace is applied to us by faith (belief). Not only did Jesus carry away our physical griefs and sicknesses—and we will see the results of that someday in glory—but He also carried away our spiritual griefs and sicknesses. The greatest sickness of all—sin—is gone. Christ has redeemed us from sin and removed our condemnation. “He Himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases.”