Margin notes: The power of faith?

Matthew 9:20–22 (ESV) — 20 And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, 21 for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” 22 Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well.

As Dr. Smith took us through this amazing passage this last Sunday, I could not help but be caught by those words of Jesus “your faith has made you well” – or “saved you”, or “made you whole.” Jesus alluded to this concept at least 4 times in the Gospels if not more. “Your faith has made you well.” But how are we to understand that? Does this imply that faith is some force that we can just tap into to get what we want? What is really going on here?

It is vitally important to note the context here, as well as in each of the cases where a similar thing is said. And so we MUST see this: Her faith did not do this, did not make her well,  in a vacuum, as though faith had power in itself. What her faith did was bring her to Christ, and to trust HE could work.

Faith does nothing on its own. Faith is neither a “work”, nor a generic cosmic force we can somehow tap into for our own uses, it is looking to Christ. If faith could operate on its own, then she did not need to get to Jesus at all. She could have “just believed” where she was. So too with the others where this phrase is used. But in each case, it was faith that brought them into contact with Jesus. It was bringing their need to Him, not just “believing.” This is vitally important to see if we are not to turn faith into a Christianized view of magic. Faith brings us to Christ, and looks to Him to meet the need, as He sees fit. It simply looks to Him. This is always what faith does. 

But note the nature of her faith. She did not imagine she needed Him to stand and make pronouncements, move mountains, still seas, rebuke storms or demons – she knew all she needed was the slightest touch. That grace and mercy are so grand, so expansive, that the slightest true touch – even of just His garment, will transform in the most unspeakably glorious and powerful way.

What we need every day, is the sense of our need being great enough, to press through the mob of all that claims our attention and seems to make Him distant, to but touch the hem of His robe. Lord Jesus, let me come to you – today!

This is the place of prayer. Press through. Touch His hem.


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