Today’s Scripture: Matthew 9
In today’s reading, we see Jesus heal a lot of people—six, by my count! As I read this chapter, I noticed one word repeated throughout these stories: faith.
In Matthew 9:2, it says, “Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, ‘Be encouraged, my child! Your sins are forgiven” (emphasis added).
In Matthew 9:18, the synagogue leader showed a lot of faith in Jesus when he said, “My daughter has just died… but you can bring her back to life again if you just come and lay your hand on her.” And the suffering woman in Matthew 9:21 showed great faith by thinking, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” Jesus says in response to her thoughts and action, “Daughter be encouraged! Your faith has made you well” (Matthew 9:22 emphasis added).
Before healing the two blind men, Jesus asked them if they believed he could make them see, and when they said yes, he told them, “Because of your faith, it will happen” (Matthew 9:29 emphasis added). And perhaps it’s a stretch, but the people who brought the demon-possessed man to Jesus must have had faith that Jesus could help him, or else they wouldn’t have bothered, right?
In Matthew 9:12-13, Jesus implies that he came to heal the sick, and heal the sick he did. Of course, we know that Jesus’ primary concern is not physical sickness, but the kind of sickness he forgave the paralyzed man of—the sickness of sin. And as we see repeatedly in this chapter, the healing Jesus brings requires faith in him.
Faith is a word we hear and use a lot in church, but it can feel airy and insubstantial at times. Maybe you’ve found yourself wondering what it even means to have faith—I know I have. But really, faith isn’t as ethereal as it sounds. It’s just trust—trust that Jesus is who he says he is, that he did and can do what the Bible says he did and will do, and that he has a plan for each of our lives.
This kind of faith isn’t just something that we feel—this faith leads to action. Faith inspires the paralyzed man’s friends to do whatever it takes to get him to Jesus (Mark 2:2-5). It motivates the synagogue leader to seek Jesus, even though his daughter is already dead, and drives the ailing woman to reach out for the fringe of Jesus’ robe. The blind men walked right into the house where Jesus was staying because of their faith (Matthew 9:27)! But perhaps the most inspirational act of faith in this chapter is that of Matthew himself.
As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him.
Getting up and following Jesus—just like that—requires a lot of faith. But that’s exactly what Jesus asks of us. He asks not only that we trust he will forgive and heal us of our sins, but also that we follow him in action and word. He asks us to have faith not only for our own sakes, but also to help lead others to him, just as the paralyzed man’s friends helped him get to Jesus. Jesus asks us to have the faith to help shepherd his sheep and work in his field, for “The harvest is great, but the workers are few” (Matthew 9:37). May we have the faith to be the workers God sends!
In what ways have you seen God heal you through your faith? What actions have your faith inspired you to take? Is there anything God is currently calling you to do in faith? Who in your life can you help lead to Jesus and his healing through your faith?
Thank God for the spiritual healing he did in your life when you accepted Jesus as your Savior. Consider what step of faith God is calling you to take (baptism, inviting someone to church, joining or leading a group, attending GrowthTrack, etc.) and make a plan to pursue that next step. Identify someone in your life you can spiritually invest in.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the free gift of salvation that you offer to all of us through your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank you for the healing you have done in my life. Help me to trust in you and your plans for my life. May I have the kind of faith that moves me to action and helps point others to you. Above all else, may your will be done. Amen.
This post was written by Payton Lechner. Payton is currently an intern at CedarCreek and works part-time at her local library. In her spare time, she freelances as a writer and editor. Besides the English language, Payton loves swimming, cats, and a good cup of tea.
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