Seeing (Matthew 9:33-34)

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Jesus has been ministering to all who are brought to Him and to all who sought Him out. Each and every time, those He touched, those He spoke to and those around Him were better off. Every time people met Him they could see, hear and experience the Kingdom of God breaking in. Jesus is anointed of God and He leaves a trail of evidence behind Him that He is anointed of God. The poor have heard good news preached, the prisoners of sin have been freed, the blind have their sight restored, those oppressed by demonic spirits are released. The lame walk, and the mute speak again! It truly is exactly as Jesus said it was in His first public address (see Luke 4:16-21).

One might think that such profound works of God would lead people to draw obvious conclusions. But they do not. In fact, though they are being ministered to constantly, the crowd is simply “amazed”. Their conclusion (as it is) is simply a remark that no one has ever seen anything like what is happening before. They are so caught up in what is going on they do not see or appreciate that God Himself has come to Israel. They only want to see more, to hear more and experience more. To them, Jesus is a traveling festival of cool stuff.

That’s disappointing for sure. Far worse though, is that the better educated and more capable are coming to conclusions. Negative ones! “The crowd was amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.”” Sadly, the Pharisees to this point have not even had a face to face conversation with Jesus. They’ve just talked to His disciples, and that only to criticize Him.

Ministry begins with the work of blessing people with the reality of God. That blessing is a mirror that reveals truth. Both the truth of God, and also the truth of who those being blessed really are. It reveals God because it is an act of God, done by the power of the Spirit of God, by the anointed of God. So it always draws a crowd. Some in that crowd will see God in the blessing and immediately recognize that they belong with Him (and so are changed). But the great majority are ambivalent about God. They see the works of God and are amazed, but they not changed. The blessing means as much to them as a street festival performance. They see the work of God but they cannot recognize it for what it is because their ambivalence toward Him clouds their sight. At most, they’ll take advantage of the blessing as just a random blessing (for no particular reason at all).

Sadly, a few will go much further in the wrong direction by reflecting their own rejection of God. They damn what is happening without even speaking to those involved, reacting to the blessing with hatred because they’ve already given their souls over to their own darkness. Even more sadly, some of those are the very ‘servants of God’ that society looks to for guidance and direction in the things of God.

Time, power and money will make you more of what you already are. That’s why the work of ministry is so important. Blessing people with the reality of God at least lets them see who they are, before they etch that character in the stone of eternity.

Ministers are powerless people who have nothing to boast of except their weaknesses. But when the Lord whom they serve fills them with His blessing they will move mountains and change the hearts of people wherever they go.

Henri Nouwen

APPLICATION: Intentionality

How are you bringing the blessing of God to others today? Are you ready for the responses – both positive and negative? 

Never Before (Matthew 9:32-33)

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One would think that in our modern world, everyone who cannot speak or is mentally disturbed in some way is a victim of circumstance. We are taught to see their condition as entirely medical and clearly beyond the level of care all but the most highly trained can offer. Often it is, but that does not negate the fact that these conditions can also be spiritual in nature. Even if their medical condition is beyond us as a society, the spiritual condition has a remedy that all God’s people can put into effect. For the spiritual must always bow to the Name of Jesus.

Every disciple of Christ has His authority to cast out the demonic, and every disciple of Christ can at least pray for healing.

In our reading of Matthew to date, we’ve just seen Jesus find a home to rest in after raising Jarius’ daughter from the dead. Once there, two blind men asked to be seen. When He healed them, He warned them not to tell anyone, so His journey out of town could be unhindered by the crowds that sought Him everywhere He went. But when the formerly blind men left the house, they spread the news about Him all over. The result was a crowd waiting in the morning with at the sick and possessed. “While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.””

This is not just another case of Jesus casting out the demonic and speaking physical health into someone. It is a ministry to one who was considered beyond help, because a mute person is someone who has never had the ability to speak, or has lost that ability through physical damage. To ‘cure’ that would be to rebuild their vocal cords. If they’ve never spoken before, it would also require many, many weeks of speech therapy! Yet in one moment of power, Jesus casts out the demon, repairs the physical body and gives their ability to speak. It is a three-for-one spiritual healing!

The result of this deliverance ministry is not only another soul made completely well. It is also the amazement of the crowd. In fact, the crowd is so astonished they take note that this particular level of healing had never been seen in Israel. That was true. This kind of trifold healing had never been done before.

Israel had seen people raised from the dead (notably the widow of Zaraphath’s son whom Elijah raised, and the Shunammite woman’s son, whom Elisha raised), and Israel had seen a mute person speak again (notably Zechariah), and Israel had seen many demoniacs delivered (all of them by Jesus). But this case stands out even more than all those, because this particular fellow’s condition was thought to be totally beyond help. But as it turned out, Jesus was well able to speak peace and health to even this level of disability.

Our Lord is not limited by precedent. He can do what has never been done before. He can bring health to even the most hopeless of cases. He is as unlimited in ability to influence and change our world as an author is to influence and change the world they created on the page.

Our high and privileged calling is to do the will of God in the power of God for the glory of God.

J.I. Packer


The day is quickly coming when all disease, handicap and injury will be made moot forever. Praise God that all at once, the dead in Christ will rise, the mortal will put on immortality and the corruptible will put on incorruptibility. 

Knowing When Not (Matthew 9:30-31)

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After restoring their sight, Jesus gives some rather strange and solemn instruction to the formerly blind. “Jesus warned them sternly, “See that no one knows about this.” But they went out and spread the news about him all over that region.”

Any reader of Matthew’s Gospel who comes across this text immediately wonders why Jesus would want this particular miracle to be kept from public expression. He gave no such warning to the woman who was healed of her bleeding. He made a spectacle out of healing the paralytic. He healed many to whom He gave no such instruction (4:23, 8:16). So why the sudden silencing? Shouldn’t those who have been blessed be free to thank God through testimony? Aren’t they actually even obligated to do so – to give Him glory?

Such questions are not answered in the moment. What is, and what we know, is that God’s will for these particular few (the formerly blind) was that they not tell anyone. They do so anyway.

On the one hand we can of course sympathize with the formerly blind. Everywhere they went people would ask, “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” and they would have to respond with, “Yes, I used to be one of the beggars by the road out of Jericho.” The conversation would inevitably lead to the question, “How is it then that now you can see?” It would appear to us to be worse than dishonest if they did not give God glory for how Christ healed them. Yet the fact that Christ specifically told them, “See that no one knows about this” cannot be ignored.

They may have gone on from there and been confronted with the inevitable question about their sight. They may have been thrilled that God sent Christ to them, and even more thrilled that because of their encounter with Him they could now see. But in answering the inevitable question about their newfound sight, they were disobedient. Joyful perhaps, but disobedient all the same, and joy is no substitute for obedience.

The conclusion to the blind men’s story is not unique. Much of the Old Testament story of God’s people is a story of the disobedient. From humankind’s earliest days, God’s people are blessed and then given instruction – and then promptly disobey that instruction! It was so with Adam/Eve, with Noah’s descendants, with all Israel through the period of the Judges, with Saul, with Solomon and virtually every King the prophets were sent to. Sadly, this trend continues to today. Every pastor, preacher and faithful Kingdom worker can know from experience that blessing and instruction do not guarantee the obedience of those who were blessed and instructed. They only guarantee that someone was blessed, and that someone was instructed.

We must not consider the sacrifice of praise a substitute for obeying the Voice of God! As Samuel had once warned, “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”

There is a time to testify. There is also a time to hold back – and if God tells us to hold back, hold back we must.

When obedience to God contradicts what I think will give me pleasure, let me ask myself if I love Him.

Elizabeth Elliot

APPLICATION: Intentionality

If Samuel’s warning has any meaning at all, is is that obedience to God’s specific direction comes before all else. What is God telling to you do? What is He warning you not to do? 

Testify! (Matthew 9:28-30)

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Two blind men have followed Jesus and called out after Him. When He went inside, they sought a private audience with Him. “He [Jesus] asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they replied. Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith will it be done to you”; and their sight was restored.”

Jesus responds to the blind men, because they have sought Him wholeheartedly and in faith. They have followed him along the road from Jarius’ house, they have seen Him as Son of David and grasp that He is well able to restore their sight. But after all that, they are still not healed. Not until they confess their belief. There is something about confession – about testifying of your faith – that changes one’s experience of Jesus!

Earlier, Jesus had told the woman on the way to Jarius’ house, “your faith has healed you.” Her faith in Jesus is what healed her. Yet her faith in Jesus did not heal her until she touched Him. Taking action because of faith that strengthens that faith! Even if that action is something as simple as confession. As Hannah Smith once wrote, “Confession, it seems to me, is one of God’s ways of strengthening us in our faith. In this, it is just like it is in justification: if we do not confess it, the sense of it becomes weakened in our own minds.”

How true! Without confession – without testimony – faith is weak. But with testimony and by taking the action of speech, faith is made strong. Confessing your faith in Jesus enables the power of the Holy Spirit to do a work in your life.

In their commentary, Lange, Far, Hurst and Riddle note that confession has power, “Because it: 1. makes inward faith irrevocable; 2. Breaks loose from unbelief; 3. Unites with believers, becomes flesh and blood, and, in a good sense, acquires worldly form, worldly power, and the power of manifestation; 4. Pledges itself to full consistency in word and deed, life and death.”

Confession of Christ is the testimony of the Spirit, and therein lies its power. The late Henry J. Foster noted, “Every great religious awakening affords many examples of the power of testimony, even when that testimony is nothing more than the story of the speaker’s conversion and his “present experience.It has often been from rude lips a mighty power with cultured people. The facts of the Gospel story, told with freshness and reality, and with the power of the Spirit of God, have, from Pentecost onwards, been very effective preaching,—the most effective. Christian speculation has its time, and place, and value. There is a philosophy of Christianity. But the working force, the real lever-power, of it lies in its “testimony.””

To that we can only say, “Amen!”

Trials and tribulations only come into your life to test you, so you could make some testimonies out of them

Edmond Mbiaka

APPLICATION: Intentionality

When did you last testify to God’s power working in your life? Let it be that we speak often of His work, so that we might see His work in the lives of those around us! 

Blind (Matthew 9:27-28)

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In the opening verse of Matthew, the Gospel writer introduced us to Jesus as “Jesus
Photo by Jana Shnipelson on Unsplash Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham.” He also took pains to ensure that we understood the lineage of Jesus as coming through David, giving us His whole family tree. These are important details, because to call someone a son of David is much more than calling them a Israelite. David was the God-appointed king of Israel, so to call them a son of David is to call them a rightful Prince (or King) of Israel. As if to drill that fact into our minds, as His story began unfolding, the angle of the Lord spoke to Jesus’ earthly father and called him, “Joseph, son of David.” That is a supernatural affirmation of Jesus’ Davidic lineage!

Matthew looks back with hindsight and tells us these things with confidence. But in His early ministry, Jesus was not seen as Israel’s rightful King. To this point in Matthew’s narrative (9:27) He has raised the dead, made the lame walk and preached the Good News to the poor, but He is not yet seen as the Messiah of Isaiah 61. At least, not by most. Most only see a prophet. A miracle worker. A man worth listening to. It is ironic then, that as Jesus leaves Jarius’ and his newly resurrected daughter, He encounters two people who do Him for who He is, even though they are blind. “As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!””

The blind men heard the crowd talking about Him, and they recognize that He is bringing about the Kingdom of God. They ‘see’ Jesus as Son of David, and are so filled with hope that they determine to follow and call out that He might notice them. They have set the eyes of their hearts on Jesus. Not only do they see Jesus as Son of David, they also see Jesus as able to restore sight; “When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they replied.”

The irony of this moment has to be seen in the light of the greater context of all that is happening. For many were at the feast at Matthew’s house and followed Jesus out of wonder of what He would say next. They were there when He healed the woman with the issue of blood, and many followed Jesus out of wonder of what would happen next. They were there when He literally raised the dead at Jarius’ house, and many followed out of wonder of what He would do after that. All of these people were getting an emotional high listening to Him speak God’s truth, and out of watching Him do the miraculous.

But they weren’t really perceiving what that was happening. To them, it was mostly a matter of all the really cool ‘stuff’ happening around Jesus.

The blind men see what is really going on. They see how it includes them. They see Jesus as Son of David. They see One able to restore their sight. Best of all, they see clearly enough to recognize Him as Lord.

And this is the sad reality; Sometimes the blind see much more than those with eyes.

The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.

Helen Keller

APPLICATION: Intentionality

What draws us to worship? Is it the really cool stuff happening in our church? Or is it our Lord? What draws us to pray for revival? Is it that we desperately want really cool stuff to be happening in our church? Or is it our Lord? 

Joy (Matthew 9:25-26)

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Jesus has come to Jarius’ house to see about his daughter, whom Jarius left  on her  deathbed to seek for Jesus’ help. As Jesus arrives, He sees flute players and a crowd – all the signs that she is has not only died, but has been dead long enough for the family to call friends and family and to start formally mourning. It would’ve been at least a few hours, likely the better part of a day. Knowing He was to raise her, He tells the crowd to go away. As Matthew puts it, “After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. News of this spread through all that region.” 

Matthew’s Gospel is beautifully understated. Matthew does not tell us what Jesus said, the details of her age or how the girl began walking around. Nor does Matthew speak of her parent’s reaction, nor Jesus’ further instructions. The fuller story can only be pieced together by merging Mark’s, Luke’s and Matthew’s accounts. But the details that Matthew leaves out are not necessary to his purpose for writing the Gospel. 

Matthew wants his readers to grasp the big picture without unnecessary distraction, and the big picture of this short episode is that Jesus raised the dead! That such news spread all through the region is a given. Even though Jesus had “gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this.” Those who saw the girl after the fact (perhaps even the professional mourners who had been playing dirges for the family) could not help but see her playing in the street later. Jesus had visited her, and this girl who had been dead, and who everyone knew was dead, was made alive! 

Every Jewish reader would have known that raising the dead is not something that the average prophet could do. In fact, Ezekiel had not done that. Jeremiah had not done that. Isaiah had not done that. Even Samuel and Noah and Abraham didn’t do such things. Jesus has just done what only the prophets Elijah (in 1Ki 17) and Elisha (in 2Ki 4) had done, and no one else in the history of the world prior. That is a very big deal indeed! It far overshadows all the details involved, because it speaks to God’s approval and participation in a particularly powerful way. 

More than that though, in Jesus’ case it also added tremendous credibility to His message. He had been preaching that the Kingdom of heaven was near. The signs Jesus has performed to date – the preaching to the poor, the sick that were made well, and the miracle of the paralytic walking – are but lead ups to this greater evidence of the Kingdom of heaven: The dead are raised!

One must not get so caught up in the tremendous excitement of the miracle that we forget to look at the full picture. When the Kingdom of heaven is finally fully and physically established here on earth, “There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things [will have] passed away.”  All that Jesus does – His preaching, His ministering and His miracle-work  – is toward that very end. He (Jesus) will bring it to that conclusion. When He does, the joy we have at one miracle will be magnified a trillion-fold, and the glory of Christ will finally be fully realized by His people.


We mourn for our present lot, we are comforted in hope: when the present is passed by, of our mourning will come everlasting joy, when there will be no need of consolation, because we shall be wounded with no distress.

Augustine of Hippo


God is coming back soon, and bringing His recompense with Him. What joy shall fill our hearts on that final day! 

Prophesy (Matthew 9:23-24)

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Having dealt with the side story of the woman subject to bleeding, Matthew turns again to Jesus’ journey to see Jarius’ daughter; “When Jesus entered the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd, he  said,  “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him.”

Everywhere Jesus went He saw and called out what should be and what will be. He never dwelt on what was or is. One commentator put it this way, “Jesus make[s] a remark directed towards the future which the crowd takes as directed towards the past. They hear diagnosis, Jesus offers prognosis; they know for a fact that she was dead, Jesus knows for a fact that by restoring her to life he will make this period of death into nothing more than a period of sleep.” It is not that Jesus is upset that there is a crowd there, or that there are hired mourners (the reed or flute players). These things were part of first century Jewish custom. No, Jesus tells them to leave because He knows that they are wasting their time. There is no reason to mourn what was when it is not gone. In His eyes, the girl is about to come alive even before He touches her.

This is the hallmark of the truly prophetic. To not only occasionally act in, but to live entirely in, and by, faith. Seeing what will be and knowing it so completely as to be completely caught up in acting according to that reality – a reality that is not yet present! 

To the faithful it all makes sense, but to the faithless it makes no sense at all. The world looks on and laughs because they cannot see what is to come. Eternal God – who was and is and is to come – is right there among them, and what will be is about to become! But they cannot participate in His reality for even part of a second. They are caught up completely in the present, because they are trapped in their sins and cannot see with eyes of faith. From their perspective the girl is dead. Talking like she isn’t just marks Jesus out as a fool. They do not know what is true reality, nor can they see what is about to pass. They know only what was. They see only what is. 

To become more like Jesus is to live as Jesus lived. We must likewise look with eyes of faith, and we must likewise call out and act according to what will be. This is what the Scriptures exhort us to do; “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

This we do, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” Amen.

While we are to pursue love we are also to desire spiritual gifts, and chief among them the gift of prophecy. Now this gift is very clearly defined in the next verse. It is not merely or mainly the power which foretells future events, nor is it at all the mission of receiving inspired revelations and adding to the already finished Word of God, but it is a simple and practical ministry of help to men. He defines it by three terms, “He that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification and exhortation and comfort.” In a word, the prophet’s business is to build up men, to stir up men and to cheer up sorrowing and troubled hearts..

A.B. Simpson

APPLICATION: Intentionality

Not everyone is called to the office of prophet, but all God’s children can prophesy from time to time, because every time you speak the truth of God into someone’s life you are prophesying. When did you last do that? Look for opportunities to do that today. 

No Longer Hurting (Matthew 9:22)

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Matthew’s Gospel records what happened when the woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years touched Jesus; “Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed from that moment.”

There is such a thing as divine healing, and we all want to access it – either for ourselves or for those we care about. So when we read the story of this particular woman, we tend to focus on Jesus’ statement, “Your faith has healed you.” We then assume that if we have faith we will be healed, and we get frustrated and despondent if we are not immediately healed. It would be wiser to take Scripture in its full context. 

First of all, it is not just any faith that heals. 

The woman had a faith that caused her to rise from her home and go to where Jesus was. For her, that was uncomfortable. Her condition would’ve meant that excessive movement would result in an embarrassing predicament. Still she goes. Moreover, she pursues Jesus even though there was a crowd of people around Him. She even reaches through the crowd to touch Him. She knew that such close contact with all those pressing around Jesus would mean that her condition will be noticed. She risked being called out as unclean in front of a large group of people. That would make her would be even more of a pariah than she already was, and now the synagogue ruler was there too! Yet she persisted, because she believed that Jesus could and would heal her. 

She had faith that prompted her to action – and that is the only kind of faith that really matters. Faith that doesn’t result in action cannot heal, because that isn’t really faith. As James said, faith is made complete by what we do (see James 2:22, 24).

Yet many have faith that does prompt them to action and it still cannot heal (or save) them. They have faith in Allah or faith in Mohammed or faith in Bhudda or faith in themselves or faith in something else. That kind of faith cannot heal either. It is faith, but it is a mere faith. It is faith put in someone or something that has no spiritual power over circumstance or condition. 

Faith in Jesus is different. Faith in Jesus can heal, because it is faith in the One who actually does heal. As Matthew has already recorded, “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. […] people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them.” It is Jesus that actually does the healing, not anything within ourselves. And it is our faith in Him, acted upon, that connects us with Him who heals.

Yet that doesn’t mean that He who heals is obligated to heal us instantly. It doesn’t mean He is obligated every time we cry out to Him for healing. And this is something else to consider, even as we act in faith.

For His own reasons, Jesus may by circumstance and providence delay our healing. He may use that time to lead us through a journey to be a witness to others of their inability to heal, just as the woman He healed in Matthew chapter 9 wound up waiting twelve years and speaking to many along the way. Each one she spoke to found themselves unable to truly help. They are all shown to be less than Jesus, and likewise the long lasting effect of her illness is also shown to be less than Jesus. But the world wouldn’t know that if she was healed earlier. 

Faith sometimes has to wait. Nevertheless, the day is coming when every prayer for healing will be positively answered.  “For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.”  Amen.

The road you travel as you follow Christ leads to the cross before it leads to the resurrection.


APPLICATION: Thankfulness

If God has healed you, be thankful. If God has not yet healed you, be thankful. He surely will in His time, and meantime He will not waste your suffering. 

No Longer Hiding (Matthew 9:20-22)

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A woman has just approached Jesus from behind while He was walking to another appointment. In spite of the crowd of people all around Jesus, she somehow manages to get her hand in close to Him, and she reaches for His garment. “Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed from that moment.”

We see this story as a story of faith in action, and it is. But it is also a story of a woman who really did not want to get noticed. A woman who wanted to stay in the background. A woman who was not actually intending to become the center of attention, however briefly. Luke tells the rest of the story, “She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.  “Who touched me?” Jesus asked. 

When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.” Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet.”

Of course, if Jesus knew that power had gone out from Him, He also knew to whom it had gone. He does not ask who touched Him for His own sake. He asks, and then insists on an answer, so that the one who did might come forward. He wants her to testify, and in the end, that is exactly what happens, “In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed.” 

Our encounters with the Lord are not for our own sake only. They are times of blessing, times of healing, times of hearing His Voice. Surely they are for our blessing – but they are also for the blessing of others. Perhaps not immediately, but somehow and somewhere we must testify of what He did for us. For this is to God’s glory – that He spoke to us in our need, and that He ministered to us in our need. How could it be that we should then keep His glory to ourselves?

God knows our fear. He knows that we may not want to tell people we have never met before, or speak to a group of people – some of which are rulers over us. He also know it gives Him little glory when we hear His Voice and know His touch ministering to us, and we hide it from others. 

Every believer needs to testify. Every believer must testify. Fortunately, God knows how to put those of us who are uncomfortable with doing so in situations where we can do little else but overcome our fear of witnessing. That might not be perceived as particularly welcome, but it is a whole lot more comfortable than the situation we were in before He ministered to us. Besides, the result of our testimony is that others find courage to exercise faith. Effectively, our tentative and hesitant voice becomes a catalyst for others, and God is lifted up in a chorus of praise. 

If the Saviour had permitted this woman to retire in silence, many cowardly believers would have said that the Saviour’s silence gave consent to her retiring without a word, and that they might safely imitate her. […] The Saviour would not allow us to find in this case an apology for an evil course, and so he called out the woman whom he had cured.

Charles Spurgeon

APPLICATION: Intentionality

Faith hidden forever is not faith, but a mere wish. Faith becomes faith when it is acted upon. Today, ask the Lord to give you strength and courage to testify of Him and His grace to you! 

Faith (Matthew 9:20-21)

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What is faith? Often when we are asked that question, we turn to Hebrews 11:1, which   defines it for us. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” From that, we can gather that faith consists of surety, hope and certainty. All very true, yet often the person asking the question is seeking a more practical example. They might better have asked, “What does faith look like?” For this very reason, the rest of Hebrews 11 goes on to give example after example of what faith looks like in the life of the disciple of God. All of those examples demonstrate that faith has a practical outcome – the life of the person of faith is marked by their acting on it. 

On that thought, Hebrews 11 is hardly unique. The Scripture is packed with examples of faith in action. In Matthew 9, we read two such examples right next to each other. Firstly of Jesus responding to a synagogue ruler, who has left his daughter on her death-bed so he could – in faith – ask Jesus to help. As Jesus begins to walk to the ruler’s house to see the girl, He is interrupted by a touch. A lady in the crowd is also exercising faith! “Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” 

In his Gospel, Mark adds the fuller background on the woman’s story – “She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.” To be ‘subject to bleeding’ is an euphemism for an uterine hemorrhage. She was having a period that just did not stop, which meant she would’ve been treated as unclean by her society and limited in outdoor movement for fear of public embarrassment. This woman’s humiliating condition had driven her to increasing desperation for freedom from it, including the exhaustion of her resources on accessible care. Sadly, all to no avail.

The woman hears of Jesus. She’s heard that wherever He goes, people are healed. So she takes it upon herself to make whatever effort is necessary. 

Knowing that many will also seek His attention, it may even be that she was waiting outside Matthew’s house in the hope that He would see her when He exited the building. Perhaps the arrival of the synagogue ruler disrupted her plans as well as His, so she follows Jesus. Her condition does not really allow for long walks, and desperate to encounter Him in however small a fashion, she pushes forward, reaches through the crowd and touches His garment. 

Hers is a textbook definition of faith. 

Better yet, hers is an act of faith in Jesus. Faith in Jesus never lets us down, because He is not limited as others are limited. His is the fullness of God. His is the authority of God and the sovereignty of God. Faith in Jesus always works, because Jesus is God. And from old, we have been told who God is: “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”

The woman in this story is acting on faith because she believes God. Her believe is not tentative or with hesitation. It is faith that calls to action because it is based on God;’s revealed character. The result of such an act of faith – an act of surety, hope and certainty, is never in doubt. Or as the Scripture says, “the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” Amen.

Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible.

Corrie Ten Boom

APPLICATION: Intentionality

God does not disappoint those who come to Him in faith. So exercise your faith and come to Him this day in full confidence. He is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness!