Faith of Jesus Daily Devotional - Day 40
Previous Context: devotion:Matthew:9:14-17
At the same time that Jesus was responding to the inquiring disciples of John the Baptist two more simultaneous events occur. Jesus is obedient to what He sees His Father doing and saying in each. Again this devotion asks what God is doing, what man is doing and what does it mean to the saints in keeping both the commandments and faith of Jesus?
What is God doing?
In case it be forgotten God is doing one thing, the same thing HE has been doing all along: establishing Jesus in our minds and hearts as HIS promised one for the purpose of our salvation. HE has long worked to establish the need walking man through step by step, through the prophets HE has established what HIS messiah would be doing, HE is now confirming with numerous signs and wonders that this now is that One.
We have considered recently (devotion:Matthew:8:1-4 etc...) why in God's creation disease has come to exist. Now is a time to add to that consideration how our own faith fits into all of that.
"Thy faith hath made thee whole"
Now certainly the healing is being performed by God the Father in confirmation of Son Jesus; let there be no confusion. What is being acknowledged and encouraged is that our faith plays a certain role, it draws us towards Jesus both to ask and to receive. Two people are drawn to Jesus here nearly at the same time, one with a twelve year issue of menstrual blood, the other with a daughter who has just been declared dead. Faith, the substance of things hoped for as described by Paul, drives these two, one to the hem of Jesus' coat and the other face to face then up the block alongside Jesus. That is the best that faith can do; the rest is God's power and doing.
Now lets consider where this specific type of faith comes from. The big picture view is that it comes from God. In one sense God has established Jesus through other miracles and healing to give these people substantial reason to hope that Jesus could do the same for them. In a much deeper sense going all the way back to Adam and Eve outside the Garden, it is doubtful that man would have ever had cause to seek out and find Jesus to hope upon had death and toil and disease not been allowed by the removal of the Tree of Life. Death could have been fully enforced right then and there and none of everything else to follow serve any purpose if not for the chance of drawing us back into Grace via the life line of Jesus. We have to ask would either of these people be drawn to Jesus had it not been for what they were having to go through on their own?
What is man doing?
"Come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live"
Too often an emphasis is placed on the depravity and corruption of man. We have said that man is doing many things all of which are in some sense corrupted. Though this is perfectly true across the board, there is also the raw human tug of a mother crying out to her husband to "do something she's dying", "do something now". There is the blank look of the fathers wrenching desperation "I don't know what to do". Perhaps it is the woman's servant that drops to her knees "dear God help us" and the sudden remembrance in the father's eyes "the Nazarene" "the man that spoke and healed at the Synagogue" "Jesus can do this". So he rushes, his urgent determination unimpeded by the throngs of people gathered around Jesus in the street. There is his renewed hope as he and Jesus move now towards the house there where his daughters cold corps lays, but then the untimely interruption of somebody else with a desperation seeking Jesus in faith all her own.
"If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole"
Then there is a woman who in this culture is viewed perhaps cursed above all else who because of her unceasing womanly issue is unceasingly defiled legally. Her husband and children cannot sit with her on the same chair, cannot lie with her in the same bed, she cannot go out into the market, she cannot go into temple, she cannot be touched. For twelve years this has continued and no one, not her doctors/not her priests, have been able to do anything of help her. On top of this in many other eyes this plague is presumed to be her fault, a consequence of her sin.
Her faith? Likely it is a much deeper story of constant prayer, constant petition for healing and if not for strength, constant searching of herself/of the religion of others/wrestling doubts and fears and loneliness. Her search has brought her to Jesus, He is just an arms length away, but now He is being whisked away from her. "Oh God" she cries "don't let Him leave me" "don't let Jesus go" "don't make me to suffer this an hour longer" "I'd much rather die" "please dear God please".
Within that very hour according to Jesus comforting word to her for the first time in twelve years (for her seemingly an eternity) that woman was made completely whole! "Thy faith hath made thee whole". Now we know better what that personal faith and God's power combined actually means.
"They laughed him to scorn"
The girls dad is the ruler over the local Synagogue. There is probably not a single parishioner in the town that is not aware of what has taken place and the desperation that even the most substantial pillar of the religious community can be driven to in such a tragic moment of crisis. They gather at the house to be anchors for this family in turmoil. What is their reaction to Jesus?
Well you see the anchors in these times are the familiar things, familiar songs, familiar verses, familiar faces, familiar words of condolence; traditions. Where the loss of a child is so unfamiliar, the return to these familiar things even right after is comforting and attachable. Death itself is all too familiar and it is looked upon as a natural passage. Scripture says that sin rules because of the fear of death. In a profound fashion we are immensely afraid of our own death yet on the surface at least we are awkwardly offer ourselves comfortable and consoling to the death of others.
What Jesus is about to to do will rip that whole world of familiarity apart. What the Son saw of the Father that He did!
"Fame hereof went abroad into all that land"
So it is done. The obedience of the Messiah is once again confirmed by the Father. The girl is sitting up and laughing and shouts are being made out to the streets. "She lives" "She's alive" "Jesus has raised the girl from the dead". The flutes and timbrels are silenced. The word quickly spreads across the entire region, into all the world and echoes down through all history. You can bet that there is a lone woman nearby that is most glad (jubilant) to hear of it, one dancing father in the upstairs hallway that will soon likely have to answer to others for it .
What does this passage tell us about the about the commands and faith of Jesus that saints are to keep/guard?
The message today is in part regarding the incompleteness yet necessity of our own faith driving us nearer to the person of Christ Jesus. In part it is of the depravity of man and the judgment he lives under and yet the mercy and resource God has purposely given in this short time for us to find and rely upon Jesus by holding back the full consequences of the Fall to a later date. To an even greater extent today is about the raw emotion of our pilgrimage wholesome and not that gushes from our hearts, from the hearts of parents, from the hearts of the lonely, from the hearts of the afflicted, from the hearts of the mournful, from the hearts of the longsuffering, from the hearts of those wrestling with God and religion in their thoughts and prayers, from the hearts of those ready to run up to a total stranger as have others for the hope of being made whole.
The guarding of the commandments and the faith of Jesus is the keeping of the gospel message in it's proper context, a much deeper and substantial context than we often project, the recognition and acknowledgement of it's deep and often emotional conditions/purposes and intents.
Next: devotion:Matthew:9:27-34 Jesus Heals the Blind and Mute