Faith to Heal

We need a power source for our lives. One that connects us to the miraculous power of Jesus (9:18-34) While Jesus is teaching, a synagogue leader comes in looking for power. Mark 5:22~Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. (NIV) He tells Jesus his daughter has just died, griped with grief he believes Jesus can bring her back. (9:18). Christ Jesus says to His entourage let’s go. Here we find a miracle within a miracle. As a woman with chronic hemorrhaging touches Jesus, understand she’s desperate and does not care that everyone is going to have to miss church for two weeks. She is destitute, unclean and an outcast. She hungers for her healing and believes Jesus is the answer. She has tried everything and is down to Jesus. How long does it take for us to press in on Christ?

Matthew 9:21-22~for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. (ESV) This confirms that touching His garment did not heal her; it was her faith. This is the only place in the Gospel where Jesus calls someone daughter. It signifies that faith is the key to entering a relationship with God. By faith are the words of Hebrews 11. By faith is this poor woman healed. By faith, she is a daughter brought into Jesus’ spiritual family. Like her, we were all outcasts, brought in by Jesus Christ.

When Jesus arrives at Jairus’ house. He sees flute players and a noisy crowd mourning. Matthew 9:24~he said, “Go away, for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. (ESV) Many laugh at us when we in faith ask God for the impossible. Let me be frank with you, with God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26) We must exercise our faith like the woman and press towards Christ. We must exercise our faith like Jairus and kneel before God as we humbly ask. Because when Jesus walks into our room, He can take the moment by the hand and even raise what we thought was dead, back to life. Mark tells us Jesus tells the girl to rise, and she stands up (Mark 5:41-42). This proves Jesus’ power and authority is absolute. Jesus can raise to life that which is dead.

As Jesus leaves, two blind men follow Him. Using His messianic title, Son of David, they call out for Him to have mercy, there it is, (ἔλεος eleos). Jesus asks if they believe He can heal them and they reply, you bet your sweet bippy. (9:27-28). Ironically, these blind men see who Jesus is more clearly than the Jewish religious leaders. Matthew 9:29-31~ Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned, “See that no one knows…But they went away and spread his fame…(ESV) In their defense, when Jesus touches our lives, how can we keep from singing? Well said Robert Lowry, almost two centuries ago.

As Jesus leaves, I think we are seeing a pattern here, every time Jesus begins to leave, another need is presented. This one is a demon-possessed man who can’t speak. After Jesus casts out the demon, the man begins to speak. The crowds are again amazed and say nothing like this has ever happened in Israel. However, the self-righteous Pharisees say in Matthew 9:34~He casts out demons by the prince of demons. (ESV) They cannot discredit Jesus’ power, for He stopped bleeding, raised the dead, and open blind eyes. His miracles are too numerous and too public. Instead, they take their only course of action, slander. 

Today, what course of action will help you remain connected to the power of Jesus? Let’s begin by praying for the negative nellies, the Derick downers, or those who always seem to be pulling us down to a base level of living. As we pray for them, let’s try to encourage them and sow the seeds of Christ in them. After all, this is what Jesus meant when He said in Luke 6:28-28~bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. Remember you need the power of Jesus, to do these things. So pray, connect, and live in His power.

New Hearts

As the lawyer awoke from surgery, he asked, “Why are all the blinds drawn?” The nurse answered, “There’s a fire across the street, and we didn’t want you to think you had died.” I believe that we all have a little lawyer in us and that is why we must learn to resist legalism (Matthew 9:14-17) As Jesus moves about the towns, we see some reoccurring themes in His preaching. Some of John the Baptist’s disciples come to Jesus and ask why His disciples don’t fast like they and the Pharisees do in Matthew 9:14~ (ESV) Pharisees fasted and gave. Listen as they share this in rebuttal. Luke 18:12~I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get. (NIV) Understand they encouraged other Jews to fast, give, and even did so during times of disaster. They are not bad people, just misfocused. Their Heartitude, the attitude of their hearts are bound by wrong motives. That is why Christ Jesus says go and learn this. We all must check our Heartitude. What is the attitude of our heart, and how do we check this? By reading God’s word and applying. 

Understand John the Baptist is behind bars, so no doubt his disciples are fasting and praying for his release. The feast at Matthew’s house apparently occurs on one of the usual pharisee fasting days. This is not just some random how come they get to? When asked WHY? Jesus answers in Matthew 9:15~And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. (ESV) Have you ever been to a wedding where people were sitting around weeping? Sure mom cries, but that’s because they are leaving. Those are tears of Joy, well dad may weep over the bill, but no one likes to get stuck with the check.

This means while Jesus is on earth. He is like the presence of the bridegroom at a wedding. Jesus came to prepare a way for His bride. It is a time of celebration because salvation has come near, not fasting or mourning. Isaiah 25:9~It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation. (ESV) Jesus Christ is the bridegroom! He goes on to explain the day will come when the bridegroom will be taken away and we will again await His arrival. So at Christmas, we sing Charles Wesley’s words of Come, thou long-expected Jesus, born to set thy people free; from our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee. That is precisely what Jesus Christ does for us in coming to take away our sins. While He is here His disciples don’t fast, but when He leaves to prepare a place for us, they will. (9:15)

Next, Jesus says in Matthew 9:16~No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. (ESV) This means the Gospel cannot be combined with the old religion of Judaism. Listen to Paul unpack this for us in Romans 7:6~But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code. (NIV) 

Jesus teaches us with an analogy of wine being placed in wineskins. How many of you have a wineskin? Jesus was saying the old and new just don’t mix. Instead, we’re going to need a new wineskin. Each of us is going to have to grow and be made new. Over and over again on our journey through life and faith. Why? Because none of us will ever arrive on this side of glory. We simply cannot take the new life of Jesus Christ and stuff it into the old way of living. Instead, we must put on the new. 

Ephesians 4:24~Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. (NLT) In Jesus’ time, wine wasn’t kept in bottles, but in watertight, tanned goatskins, called wineskins. New, unfermented wine must be put into flexible new skins, so it has room to expand as it ferments. Old skins were not flexible, but often brittle and would burst as the new wine ferments. Jesus said I am bringing change, be flexible. Not to sin, but to living life both under and in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Pharisees and other Jewish leaders are too rigid and inflexible to accept Jesus and His teachings. Salvation by grace through faith would not fit into their old, stiff, and legalistic system of works. They, like many today, cannot accept Ephesians 2:8~For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God (NIV) 

Today, I want us to practice giving what it is we are receiving, grace. This is going to require that we let go of our sense of fair play or the ideal that we are always right. Instead of accounting the wrongs let’s be purveyors of God’s grace. Give up the good parking spot, let them in line in front of you, and share the road with a smile. I bet it will lower your pressure and help you keep a smile on your face.

Don’t Be A Grinch

Have you ever thought about quitting? I know that it is not easy and many of us have fallen back into the old pattern. That is why we need Jesus in our lives daily. We need His help if we are to quit self-righteousness (Matthew 9:11-13) As we look in on the self-righteous Pharisees, we are witnessing them watching Jesus. Here in Matthew 9, Jesus is eating with the likes of Matthew and other sinners, leading the Pharisees to want to weigh in. Matthew 9:11~And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (ESV) Jesus hears what they ask; so He says, in Matthew 9:12~But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well, have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. (ESV) Jesus is saying, If you are as spiritually healthy as you claim to be, you don’t need Me, because you already are under my care. Are you under the care and compassion of Jesus? Thus He says, Go and learn what this means (9:13). In other words, they need to understand the Bible and learn how to apply it. That is why being in Bible study is vital for spiritual growth. 

Quoting Hosea 6:6~For I desire mercy (חֶסֶד checed), not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. (NIV) The word (חֶסֶד checed) in Hebrew and (ἔλεος eleos) in the Greek is kindness or goodwill towards the miserable, it’s an outward manifestation of compassion. So when we’re in sin, the Lord shows compassion on us in our miserable state. Hosea’s condemning the mechanical sacrifices of the Jews and their lack of compassion. We cannot live by a rote ritual of the mindless mastering of process. Jesus is telling the Pharisees to apply Hosea’s words to their lives. 

Finally, Jesus says, in Matthew 9:13c-d~For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners. (ESV). Luke adds to repentance in Luke 5:32. Jesus is obviously referring to the self-righteous Pharisees, who think they are righteous and refuse to recognize their sinfulness. Paul declares that apart from Christ, we got nothing. Romans 3:10~As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one; (NIV) This is a paraphrasing of what we find in the Old Testament as David writes of how Sin is the disease of mankind, and it is to be seen as malignant and an epidemic. 

Psalm 14:3~All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. (NIV) The cry of Psalm 14 is for fools to turn to God (v1), and that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! (v7) Moreover, this is reiterated for us again in Psalm 53:3~ Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. (NIV) This is again, David, reminding us that we are not good. Paul says nothing good dwells in us. (Romans 7:18) We need the righteousness of Jesus, and He comes only to people who see their need for repentance. 

The self-righteous Pharisees see no need for repentance; therefore, they wrongly believe they have no need for Jesus as Savior or Messiah. Our world is filled with those who believe that they are good and that that is enough. It is not. Isaiah 64: 6~All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind, our sins sweep us away. (NIV) Isaiah is speaking of a menstrual rag. That’s not clean. 

If our desire is to follow Jesus then we must recognize our need for Him to be Lord over all of our lives. This means we accept Him as our sin sacrifice and must learn to walk out our faith daily. Today, what good have you been clinging to that you need to let go of, and again cling to God. Hear me, it is OK to be proud of the good things the Lord has helped us to do and accomplish, but those good deeds cannot and will not save us. That is why we must quit self-righteousness and cling to Jesus who is our righteousness before God. Take time to clean your life up today and ask the Lord to help you let go, and renew your faith. Then take time to worship Him for who He is and all He has done.