According to your faith
Matthew 9:18-38 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
While He was saying these things to them, a synagogue official came and bowed down before Him, and said, “My daughter has just died; but come and lay Your hand on her, and she will live.” 19 Jesus got up and began to follow him, and so did His disciples.
20 And a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak; 21 for she was saying to herself, “If I only touch His garment, I will get well.” 22 But Jesus turning and seeing her said, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.” At once the woman was made well.
23 When Jesus came into the official’s house, and saw the flute-players and the crowd in noisy disorder, 24 He said, “Leave; for the girl has not died, but is asleep.” And they began laughing at Him. 25 But when the crowd had been sent out, He entered and took her by the hand, and the girl got up. 26 This news spread throughout all that land.
27 As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” 28 When He entered the house, the blind men came up to Him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” 29 Then He touched their eyes, saying, “It shall be done to you according to your faith.” 30 And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them: “See that no one knows about this!” 31 But they went out and spread the news about Him throughout all that land.
32 As they were going out, a mute, demon-possessed man was brought to Him. 33 After the demon was cast out, the mute man spoke; and the crowds were amazed, and were saying, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.” 34 But the Pharisees were saying, “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.”
35 Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.
36 Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38 Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”
Again in today’s text we see the false notion that Jesus did not or would not associate with the church is refuted. The text begins with Jesus responding to the request of a synagogue official, to accompany him in order to pray for his daughter. The text ends saying: Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Along the way Jesus also responded to a woman, who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years. This woman, because of her circumstance, probably was an outcast. She was probably judged as unclean and unrighteous. Yet Jesus response to her was, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.” So we see in these two accounts that Jesus did not discriminate for or against people based on their social standing or their church affiliation.
Jeremiah 17:10 says: I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds. 1 Samuel 16:7 says: God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. Jesus says: “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel.” (John 5:19-20) Jesus didn’t discriminate. He did what the Father was doing. In today’s text He responded to the faith of those who came to Him, in order to do the Father’s will. John 3:16 says: “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” God judges the heart and responds to the heart that responds to His love in faith, believing.
Today’s text ends: Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” The image of Jesus as a shepherd is something He Himself spoke of. In John 10:11-15;27-28 He says: “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep… My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. ” Perhaps though the most familiar reference to the Lord as a shepherd is that of the psalmist written through faith about 1000 years before Jesus birth.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
If we would see the Lord Jesus, through eyes of faith, as our shepherd, we too would not want for anything. Jesus says: “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33) In today’s text Jesus restored life to the dead child. He restored wholeness to the woman. He restored sight to the blind men, and as the psalmist says, He restores my soul. Jesus came to restore everything that was lost through sin. Jesus says that His sheep hear His voice, the psalmist says that hearing the voice of the Lord, leads him in the path of righteousness. Jesus says His sheep will never perish. The psalmist says that death is merely a shadow. Because we have eternal life in Christ death has no power over us. Whether we are raised like the little girl or we are raised with Christ to eternal life, death is just a shadow. The rod and the staff of the shepherd are instruments of protection, guidance and discipline. Even the discipline of the Lord brings comfort because, For whom the LORD loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights. (Proverbs 3:12) That He would prepare a table before us in the presence of our enemies, positions us to fulfill what is says in Romans 12:19-21: Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. These burning coals are not meant to bring pain to our enemy. Instead they are like the burning coal taken from the altar in Isaiah 6, to cleanse and purify the prophet in the sight of God. Jesus says: “I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:44-45) As we share the blessings and provision of God, even with our enemies, they too may be cleansed and purified by the coals from the altar of sacrifice. The psalmist says that the Lord anoints him with oil. For us we have been given the anointing of the Holy Spirit, the very indwelling presence of God. Surely then, goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
How then will we respond to what Jesus says: “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest?” Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit thank You for Your provision and Your restoration. Thank You for peace and comfort. Thank You for Your guidance and leading and thank You for Your invitation to join You in the work of Your plentiful harvest. I do ask that You would send out workers. I ask that You would send me. Amen.