No Longer Hiding (Matthew 9:20-22)

Photo by Malcolm Lightbody on Unsplash

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! 

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