Matthew 9:18-38.

Sometimes when we are trying to do something, and we are interrupted for one reason or another, we get really annoyed. But in this passage we may discover a different way! Jesus is busy healing, casting out demons, and even raising the dead! And in the midst of it we find people stalking Him, touching Him, and bringing others to Him. In each of the cases, we see Jesus treating the interruptions as divine appointments that also further His mission. How would our lives change if we had that perspective?

Here’s a big question: what is the relationship between faith and healing, and what is our faith in? In other words is our faith in what Jesus can do, or who Jesus is? We see the blind men confess that Jesus is both “Lord” and the “Son of David,” but we have no mention of how the woman with the discharge of blood views Him. We’re just told that she wants to touch His garment because she believes it will heal her, and Jesus commends her faith. What is she ultimately putting her faith in?

I think that we must understand passages like this in light of what we read in Hebrews 11:

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see” (11:1).

“By faith we understand that the worlds were set in order at God’s command, so that the visible has its origin in the invisible” (11:3).

“Now without faith it is impossible to please him, for the one who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (11:6).

Here faith is clearly shown to be faith in God. Faith that He exists. Faith that He is in charge. Faith that He will help us. Faith that He rewards those who seek Him!

And I think we see this in the gospels too. Most who were healed had some idea who Jesus was, and were putting their faith in Him and His willingness to help them. But we must remember that some didn’t display faith at all (Matthew 5:8, 8:28-32). Some asked for help to have faith (Mark 9:24). Some voluntarily voiced their faith (Matthew 8:8). Some acted on their faith (Matthew 9:21). Some were brought by the faith of others (Matthew 9:2). And some were asked to declare their faith (Matthew 9:28). Whew!

Why the variety? I think it’s because we want to be formulaic people. We want to have one way things work, and be able to rely on that way all the time. That’s why we have so many preachers proclaim the prosperity gospel. But God is constantly reminding us that there is more to faith than getting what we want! We are to have faith in Him! And with that faith there comes a trust that He will do what is best. This means that sometimes the reward that He gives us is not what we want. That can be frustrating for us at times, and it can cause us to have difficulty trusting in Him. But, once again, do we have faith in Him, or just in what He can do for us? Now that’s a haunting question…

For worship:

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