Matthew 8:17

Himself took our infirmities and bare our diseases (auto ta asqeneia elaben kai ta nosou ebastasen). A quotation from Isaiah 53:4 . It is not clear in what sense Matthew applies the words in Isaiah whether in the precise sense of the Hebrew or in an independent manner. Moffatt translates it: "He took away our sicknesses, and bore the burden of our diseases." Goodspeed puts it: "He took our sickness and carried away our diseases." Deissmann (Bible Studies, pp. 102f.) thinks that Matthew has made a free interpretation of the Hebrew, has discarded the translation of the Septuagint, and has transposed the two Hebrew verbs so that Matthew means: "He took upon himself our pains, and bore our diseases." Plummer holds that "It is impossible, and also unnecessary, to understand what the Evangelist understood by 'took ' (elaben) and 'bare' (ebastasen). It at least must mean that Christ removed their sufferings from the sufferers. He can hardly have meant that the diseases were transferred to Christ." Bastazw occurs freely in the papyri with the sense of lift, carry, endure, carry away (the commonest meaning, Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary), pilfer. In Matthew 3:11 we have the common vernacular use to take off sandals. The Attic Greek did not use it in the sense of carrying off. "This passage is the cornerstone of the faith-cure theory, which claims that the atonement of Christ includes provision for bodily no less than for spiritual healing, and therefore insists on translating 'took away'" (Vincent). We have seen that the word bastazw will possibly allow that meaning, but I agree with McNeile: "The passage, as Mt. employs it, has no bearing on the doctrine of the atonement." But Jesus does show his sympathy with us. "Christ's sympathy with the sufferers was so intense that he really felt their weaknesses and pains." In our burdens Jesus steps under the load with us and helps us to carry on.