Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode 107 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Matthew 9 today and our focus is on the role that faith plays in healing. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in . Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
Today is another day where our topic is honestly too deep for a short ten minute podcast to adequately cover, but I think we can go deep enough to get to some important truths on the nature of healing. I’m a Southern Baptist preacher who believes in healing. I am quite certain God still heals. Everything I read in Scripture points me in that direction, and my own life experience and the testimonies of many, many other people does the same thing. Does God always heal? Absolutely and positively not – that is equally obvious from Scripture, church history and personal experience. The Bible says that it is appointed unto humans to die once – and that means that we will all face death, which implies that many millions of prayers for healing will not be answered in the way we might want them to be answered. As Jesus has said, however, all who believe in Him will not PERISH – rot away into nothing, but will have eternal life. So – not all who pray for healing will be healed, but some will. What makes the difference between those who are healed, and those who aren’t?? Does our faith play a role in that? Are some not healed because they lack the faith to be healed? Are some healing prayers unanswered because they are not prayed with enough faith? The answer to that question is quite complicated, because we will clearly see in our passage today that faith does play some role in healing. Matthew notes that Jesus did few miracles in His hometown because of their lack of faith:
58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief. (Matthew 13:58)
What role does faith play? Must a sick person have faith in order to be healed? Can another person’s faith somehow be added to the equation? Let’s read our passage and see if there are any answers to our questions.
So – one caution. We have to be careful in making broad theological statements from narrative theology. We are on solid ground when the Bible tells us a truth, but we have to be careful when we are observing truth from narratives, like we are doing today. If you look out the window on a Tuesday, and you see that there is snow on the ground, you should not conclude that it always snows on Tuesday, or anything like that. Likewise, when we read about the woman with the issue of blood healed because of her faith, we should not conclude that people are ALWAYS healed because of their faith…unless the Bible teaches that truth.
In Matthew 9, we see several healings and miraculous deliverances. I count six people total who are specifically mentioned as being healed or delivered. What role does faith play in each healing?
- The first person healed is the paralytic, who is lowered by his friends through the roof in front of Jesus. A famous Sunday school story! Jesus FORGIVES the man’s sins FIRST, which is astonishing to us, and shows us that our greatest need – even for a paralyzed person – is not physical healing, but spiritual healing and forgiveness. This is very important. Interestingly, Jesus forgives the paralytic in response to the faith of HIS FRIENDS! “Seeing their faith,” says the text. Afterwards, Jesus heals the man physically, and faith isn’t mentioned. This does seem to indicate to us that faith of others can play a role in the miraculous.
- The second person healed here is the bleeding woman. She sees Jesus, and knows that if she can just touch His clothing she will be healed. When she manages to do that, Jesus knows that power has come out of Himself into her, and, upon seeing her, He says, ““Have courage, daughter,” he said. “Your faith has saved you.” So – HER faith seems to have played a role in her healing. This is interesting.
- The next person to be healed is the dead daughter of a synagogue leader. Obviously her faith can’t have anything to do with her healing, because she is dead. But, her father says to Jesus, “but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live,” which seems to indicate that he has faith in Jesus…though faith is not mentioned here. Jesus raises the young girl from the dead – completely healed. This passage seems to suggest that the faith of another could play a role in healing, but that is not specified.
- The next two people healed are blind men. Jesus asks them, ““Do you believe that I can do this?” They reply in the affirmative, and Jesus heals them. They obviously have faith…does this play a role? “Let it be done for you according to your faith.”
- Finally, the last person is a deliverance, not a healing. This person is demonized and unable to speak, and Jesus delivers him, casting the demon out. What role does faith play here? We don’t know – the text does not say.
When you look at other healings of Jesus, you will see that faith is sometimes mentioned, and sometimes not mentioned. The widow of Nain’s son is being carried out dead, and his mom is weeping. Jesus sees this, and raises the boy from the dead in compassion. Faith is not mentioned. What can we conclude from all of this?
We can conclude that God is sovereign, and He is able to heal. Sometimes faith seems to play a role in that healing, and sometimes it doesn’t. And honestly, we cannot and should not go much beyond that. Paul prayed in rock-solid faith 3 times for deliverance from some sort of ailment that was causing him remarkable pain and trouble. God did not heal Paul despite his faith, but told him that God’s grace was sufficient for him. Does this mean we should not pray? Of course not – we should most certainly pray for healing – but know that there isn’t a special formula that will guarantee us success. Faith is good and important, but it does not force God’s hand, and plenty of miracles happen in the Bible where there is no obvious source of faith. This should cause us to humbly trust in God- He is able and He is good.
That may not be as concrete a conclusion as you’d like, but allow me to encourage you to embrace the mystery and beauty of God’s providence. He is working all things together for the good of those who know Him and are called according to His purpose!
End of the Show: Bible memory verse for April James 4:6 “But he gives greater grace. Therefore he says: God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
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