Posts Tagged Matthew 9: 20 – 22

Ask

Luke 4: 38 – 40

And He arose and left the synagogue, and entered Simon’s home. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever; and they made request of Him on her behalf. And standing over her, He rebuked the fever, and it left her; and she immediately arose and waited on them. And while the sun was setting, all who had any sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and laying His hands on every one of them, He was healing them.

We all know about Jesus who went about doing good (Acts 10: 38). What strikes me here is that Jesus wasn’t going around looking for someone to do good to. In these few verses there are two examples of people receiving healing. In neither case, though, did Jesus seek them out.

Jesus had been in the synagogue. When he and his disciples left there, they went to Peter’s house. “They,” whoever they may be, asked Jesus to minister to Peter’s sick mother-in-law. What would Jesus have done if no one had asked him to minister to her?

In the second scenario, Jesus may have been enjoying his after dinner cup of coffee when people began showing up at Peter’s front door. Again, Jesus didn’t go out looking for someone to pray for. People asked for prayer, for ministry. I am not suggesting that we should not initiate prayer or to be purposeful about praying for people. The point of this message is to observe Jesus and learn from him. Why didn’t he offer to pray for Peter’s mother-in-law? After dinner, why didn’t he go sit in the town square and call out to people? There may be something going on here.

In Matthew, chapter nine, we read about the woman who “had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak,” (Matthew 9: 20). She was instantly healed. Jesus didn’t seek her out either, but she had been “saying to herself, ‘If I only touch His garment, I will get well,’” (Matthew 9: 21). The woman initiated contact with Jesus. She pressed through the crowd to touch his garment believing that she would be healed with that touch. Jesus, realizing that power had gone out from him turned around and “seeing her said, ‘Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.’ At once the woman was made well,” (Matthew 9: 22).

What is going on here? I think there is an important lesson for us to learn. Jesus said it in John 16: 24, “Ask and you will receive.” From his brother we learn, “You do not have because you do not ask,” (James 4: 2). I have been amazed at the reluctance people have shown to asking for prayer. If Jesus came to town, would we shake of our lethargy and actually seek prayer? People will tell me the incredible challenges they have gone through and I will think, “We have a prayer line on our website, why don’t people ask for prayer?” What is going on in our cultures that was not present during Jesus’ time? Is our attitude the result of the protestant reformation? Since we each have a direct pipeline to God, have we determined that we do not need to ask other people for prayer? Even knowing that I am a pastor, few people come to me and ask me to pray for them. Almost none ask me to lay hands on them for healing? Is this simply because we have not taught people to ask?

Well, I am teaching today! Ask! Are you sick? Do you have need of any healing for your body, mind, emotions? Ask. In the examples above, the people brought their faith for healing in their request. The woman with the hemorrhage demonstrated her faith, actually used her faith, to reach out to Jesus. Others went to Jesus seeking healing because they had faith that they would receive. He didn’t seek them out. They sought him. That was the measure of faith. Perhaps we ask not because we have no faith for healing. Perhaps we don’t ask because we are arrogant, or maybe bashful. On the one hand one might feel he can pray as well as anyone else. On the other hand, one may be too shy to ask. Here I am saying today, “Ask.” You have not because you ask not.

Be persistent. Be tenacious. Be determined to receive everything Jesus promised. It is not always easy to receive your answer. I know that but, sitting in the recliner complaining is probably not the answer either. Get in front of every preacher you know and ask them to lay hands on you and pray. Get your friends to anoint you with oil and pray. Go to our prayer line at Ivey Ministries (https://iveyministries.org/prayer-request/). Do something. God wants you whole too. Reach out to others and ask them for prayer. If you have already prayed about something and have not received the answer then get out of your comfort zone and ask someone to pray for you. Slay apathy and be a doer of the Word. Tug on Jesus’ robe and demand the promises fulfilled in your life. His answer is yes, but first, you have to ask.

Faith in His Glory

Matthew 9: 20 – 22

And behold, a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak; for she was saying to herself, “If I only touch His garment, I shall get well.”  But Jesus turning and seeing her said, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.”  And at once the woman was made well.

I believe this is an important recounting of one person’s encounter with Jesus. This event was also recorded by Mark (chapter 5) and by Luke (chapter 8). We see in this encounter that it wasn’t actually Jesus that healed this woman. Jesus said that it was her faith that made her whole. That is a very important lesson. But there is more here than we may at first see.

We learn from Psalm 107: 20 that God sent His word and that the word had the power to heal. We now know from our post-Messiah perspective that Jesus was the Word that God sent (John 1: 1) and that he is our great physician and wonderful healer. None the less, most of us are not walking in perfect health. Many of us have prayed for people who have not manifested their healing or been prayed for ourselves without evidencing the healing truth of Jesus in our bodies. So what is going on here? Why did the woman in this account receive her healing and so many of us fail in receiving ours?

I was praying for someone’s healing this week and something occurred to me as I opened my mouth to pray. It is best framed in this question. What was the faith that the woman in the story demonstrated? Jesus said that it was her faith that made her well so what was that faith? When we pray for others or receive prayer for ourselves we often become very focused on ourselves. We begin focused on the sickness or injury. Then we shift our focus to our faith because we want healing. Then we focus on receiving the blessing, and on and on. The point is that unwittingly we have deviated far from the example of the woman whose faith healed her. I believe the key in her healing is that she had faith in Jesus himself. She said to herself, “If I can but touch the hem of his garment, I shall be made well.” The key here is that her eyes were on Jesus. She was fixed on him and his glory. I believe we are spending so much time thinking and worrying about our faith and our receiving that we have actually taken our eyes off of the healer.

I picture this woman of faith on the ground below Jesus looking up at him. She had faith in him. She believed in him. I don’t think she thought that highly of herself. Moreover, I don’t think she had herself on her mind. I believe the crucial point here is that she was absolutely fixated on this man Jesus. She believed there was healing issuing from him such that if she could just touch even the fringe of his garment she would be made well by that anointing emanating from him.

Receiving your healing really ought not to be about anything you have to do. It isn’t as much about your faith and your ability to receive as it is about the glory of the Lord Jesus. When you invited him to make his abode inside of you, he took healing with him. He had no choice, it is part of him. We have separated ourselves so much from the majesty and glory of the Lord Jesus that his power is deactivated within us. It is exactly like when he went home to Galilee and could do no miracles there (Matthew 13: 57). He is the same Jesus, the same Christ with the same power. He was able to perform miracles everywhere he went except in his hometown where they did not revere him, where their eyes were not full of the awe and wonder of him. The text in Matthew 13 says that he was without “honor” in his hometown. I believe many of us are experiencing the same thing. We have become a bit complacent in our regard of him. He has, perhaps, become too familiar. He should be your best friend but at the same time we should never lose sight of his majesty and magnificence.

Secondly, our attention and concern with the quantity and quality of our faith has caused us to take our eyes off of Jesus and put them on ourselves. We constantly check our hearts and minds looking for evidence of world changing faith. Jesus said we only needed mustard seed faith which is the smallest of all seeds. All we need is just a bit. When we sow that little bit of faith in him and put our eyes on him and stop worrying whether we have enough faith or we have strong enough faith, then there is fullness of faith. It is then that we can see him in his glory and when you really see Jesus for who he is, you have no trouble believing that he can do all things. You won’t even see yourself as a roadblock to his greatness. You will know that he can do all things, even in you. We just have to get a bigger picture of Jesus. We don’t need to worry about who we are or who we are not, what we have or what we don’t have. It really is not about us, our qualifications or knowledge. It is all about him. He is the Lord of glory. He is the Word that our father sent with healing in his hands.

Everything we need for healing, for life, for success in every area of our lives is with us right now. God sent his best and he sent his all. There is nothing that has been withheld. What great news! Now, just let your mind and spirit be filled with Jesus. Look upon him and see the radiance of his visage. The more you fill up on the vastness and greatness of our Father God and our Lord Jesus, the less the damaging effects of this world can impact you. Fix your eyes on Jesus. Fill your mouth with his praises. There are great things for you in his heart. He is the breath you breathe, he is health to your whole body; he truly is all in all. He is the Lord God Almighty to whom no thing is impossible. Selah.