Original Research - Special Collection: Interreligious Dialogue

The purpose of the theological patterns in Jesus’ healing stories in the Gospel of Matthew

In-Cheol Shin
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 79, No 2 | a8893 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v79i2.8893 | © 2023 In-Cheol Shin | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 April 2023 | Published: 22 December 2023

About the author(s)

In-Cheol Shin, Department of New Testament Studies, Korea Baptist Theological University and Seminary, Daejeon, South Korea; and, Department of New Testament and Related Literature, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


Matthean scholars have predominantly viewed Jesus’ healing ministry through the lens of ‘fulfillment of prophecy’, which connects his healings to David the shepherd and the fulfilment of the covenant, the restoration of the covenant people, and the establishment of the new covenant. This interpretation has largely emerged from an analysis of Jesus’ healing ministry as a singular event. However, it is necessary to revisit previous studies that have posited that the stories of Jesus’ healings were arranged in a larger context and theological perspective, rather than as a disjointed list of individual events. In particular, the healing events in Matthew 8–9 appear to have been arranged with the intention of teaching discipleship, indicating that the healing stories in the Gospel of Matthew, while scattered, are part of a cohesive pattern of theological themes. These themes include the forgiveness of sins, compassion and mercy, healing through faith, and confession of Jesus as the Messiah. The author of Matthew employs this pattern to systematically present a theological perspective that acknowledges Jesus as divine and confesses him as the Messiah.

Contribution: This study aimed to analyse the pattern of these theological themes as they appear in Jesus’ healing narrative. The repetition of these themes serves to establish Jesus’ divinity and reinforce the confession of him as the Messiah. Furthermore, the pattern of theological themes in the healing narrative suggests that it was constructed during a period of transition for the Matthean community, as they moved from Judaism to Christianity. The pattern highlights the community’s confession of Jesus as God and their efforts to solidify their faith.


Jesus’ healing; the Gospel of Matthew; theological pattern; Matthean transitional community; disease and healing in the Mediterranean world

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being


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