An Issue of Faith
Ten different times throughout the gospels Jesus told people that their faith had healed them. We’ve discussed this before; it was of course the power of God that healed them, but it was because of their faith in the healing power of God, their faith in Jesus, that they were able to receive the miracle God had for them.
In Mark 5 and Luke 8 we read a familiar story of when Jesus performed two miracles: one healing a woman who had been sick for 12 years and the other raising a dead girl to life. The dead girl starts out sick and her father, a local leader in the synagogue, went to Jesus and begged Him to come and lay His hands on her. Jesus was willing and followed Jairus to his house. While they were on the way, a woman who had been incurably sick for 12 years made her way through the crowd to Jesus and touched the hem of His robe.
“Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition.
“Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, ‘Who touched my robe?’” (Mark 5:29-30)
“And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. And he said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.’” (Luke 8:47-48)
The woman had faith enough to know that if she could just touch even the smallest part of his garment, that she would be healed—and Jesus confirmed that it was because of this strong faith that she was made well. Quite conversely, just after this woman’s strong faith made her well, servants from Jairus’ house arrived with bad news.
“While he was still speaking to her, messengers arrived from the home of Jairus, the leader of the synagogue. They told him, ‘Your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.’” (Mark 5:35)
Such adverse displays of faith! We’ve just read of a woman who knew all she had to do was touch Jesus’ clothes and she would be healed and now we read of the servants saying that it’s too late for Jairus’ daughter. “Don’t bother Jesus with this anymore, it’s too late. He could have healed her when it was just an illness, but now she’s dead, that’s too big for Jesus.” So the question we are faced with is: who are we more like—Jairus’ servants or the woman?
The cancer was only in one area, Jesus could heal that, but now it’s spread everywhere; it’s too late. There’s no use bothering Jesus now.
Jesus could have saved our marriage when it was just a couple of fights, but now that all our secrets are out, it’s too late. There’s no use bothering Jesus now. We would pray about things when they were few and far between, but it’s been too many problems now, it’s too late, there’s no use bothering Jesus now.
It may be, not necessarily that you don’t think he can do it, but you think he won’t. He didn’t bring healing when the problem was minimal, when it seemed manageable, when you first asked about it, when you first brought it to Him—so why would He bring healing now that the problem has grown? We can know God the Father and learn about His character through the Scriptures. When we read about God saving His people from Egypt, He explains several times why the plagues are happening and why He’s hardening Pharaoh’s heart:
“The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.” (Exodus 7:5)
“‘And once again I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after you. I have planned this in order to display my glory through Pharaoh and his whole army. After this the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord!’ So the Israelites camped there as they were told. (…) ‘And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.’” (Exodus 14:4, 18)
Sometimes we face hardships, illness, and suffering so that God’s glory can be displayed and we can know that He is the Lord. Maybe He won’t take the cancer away, but others will see your strong faith in the face of suffering and your faithfulness will be a testimony to them and they will know that He is the Lord. Jesus may not heal you when you are sick, He may just raise you from the grave. If you’ve put your faith and trust in the Lord, if you have accepted His free gift of salvation and you have confessed and repented of your sins, then Jesus has already done this for you: He’s already raised you from the grave.
“For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.” (Romans 6:4)
“For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.” (Colossians 2:12)
So what is it going to be? Will you be like the servants and have a faith that is limited? Do you think there are things that are too big for God to overcome? Or will you be like the woman and have a faith so strong that you know, if you could only touch the tiniest part of Jesus’ clothing, you will be healed?
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.