Matthew 9:18-26 was my challenge today as I read through my 160 plan. This plan will take me all the way through the new testament whilst helping me with my knowledge, faith and understanding of the message of the Bible.
The scene is already set, with Jesus once again imparting clever ways of interpreting the law of God, when he is asked to help heal two separate people in two separate ways. I really sat down and looked at this, to feel it, to actually live and immerse myself into the scene.
While he was saying this, a synagogue leader came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples. 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 at that moment. When Jesus entered the synagogue leader’s house and saw the noisy crowd and people playing pipes, he said, “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. 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 9:18-26 NIV)
We’ve just left the tables where we were eating. Its a bit of a blur really as the official is keen to get us to his house as fast as possible. We are walking past a throng of people, in a tight and crowded marketplace, when something catches Jesus’ attention and his cloak.
He is somewhat surprised but not alarmed or concerned. The woman, on the other hand, looks very scared. She took, in her mind, a very real risk but one that was worth it. Jesus reaches down to her and lifts her up. He is gentle and forgiving and tells her, the risk she took was a leap of faith, which is the reason she is healed.
Its then that we all immediately understand that by taking such leaps of faith, without necessarily having prior evidence or certainty of success, is what can reward us. Simply believing he heal can have that affect on us. You don’t need a third party for faith to have this power. Jesus heals and directly.
I’m eagerly following Jesus now through the paths and alleyways to the house where the daughter had died. Its late in the afternoon and there are lots of people there. I’m guessing that this official must be respected and well known for such a gathering to be here.
Perhaps though they are here because they know Jesus was coming. Perhaps they are here to see if he will fail to heal the girl so they can insult and beat him. I scan the faces around us as we arrive and I get the feeling it’s a bit of a set up.
After Jesus tells them to go away, because the girl is merely sleeping, they begin to laugh at him. This tells me that they were expecting his arrival and that, perhaps word got out, that the official had gone to seek Jesus. I’m not too worried though because I have already witnessed the power Jesus possesses. I watch as he walks in, and moments later, walks out with the girl holding his hand.
The crowd is completely awestruck and utterly speechless. They wanted and expected him to fail like people elsewhere had also wanted. Most are too stunned to even react.
Jesus leaves the house, with the local official profusely grateful – tears streaming down his cheeks, and we make for the next destination. As I walk with Jesus I share with him my joy to have witnessed such miracles but also my fear for him.
Everywhere people plot his downfall, at best by trying to catch him up and at worst, to kill him. We saw evidence of it already with the crowd at the officials house, I can still see their faces now, as Jesus passed by to enter. His hand rests on my shoulder as we walk and I feel immediately reassured. He tells me not to be afraid because, through faith in him, anything is possible.
Just then two blind men behind us call out. Jesus smiles at me and then whispers, “let me show you this” as he turns to greet the men.
As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” (Matthew 9:27 NIV)