I found a few examples of pure faith in action. Here are some questions we should be asking ourselves, what does it take, what must I do, and what does it look like in human form.
Matthew 8: 23-27 New Living Translation
A Gentile woman who lived there came to him, pleading, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely.” But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. “Tell her to go away,” they said. “She is bothering us with all her begging.” Then Jesus said to the woman, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel.” But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, “Lord, help me!” Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.” She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.” “Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed.
The lesson here in Matthew 8 is so interesting especially when you lay it alongside the one in Mark 9. In Mark 9 we have a father and a son, the father has sought out anyone who can help his son but to no avail. Then Jesus appears and talks with the father. The father is faced with the challenge of his belief, his trust, and with his relationship to Jesus as he pleads for the health of his child, “Help my unbelief”.
In Matthew 8 we find a non-Jewish woman who has faith, so I cannot help but notice that Jesus begins to test that very faith. “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep”, the test begins, did she understand who she is? The test gets more direct as Jesus explains that her background does not allow her a chair at the table. (But for Jesus and the Grace of God do any of us have a chair at His table.) What a wonderful statement of faith she comes back with, “but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their master’s table.” Her daughter is healed instantly.
Luke 7: 6-10 New Living Translation
So Jesus went with them. But just before they arrived at the house, the officer sent some friends to say, “Lord, don’t trouble yourself by coming to my home, for I am not worthy of such an honor. I am not even worthy to come and meet you. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to the crowd that was following him, he said, “I tell you, Ihaven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!” And when the officer’s friends returned to his house, they found the slave completely healed.
Another example of someone without a Jewish heritage, a Roman soldier. He served under authority and at the same time had authority over others. Jesus served under the authority that His Father had given Him to accomplish. Our Roman soldier also gave out orders to others and they followed his command. Jesus gives direction to those who follow Him, and they are to live out those commands. This Roman understood to whom he was making his request. Jesus is to be about His Father’s business which includes setting things right that had turned in the wrong direction. The Roman soldiers display of faith causes Jesus to turn to the crowd, “I tell you; I haven’t seen faith like this”. Jesus makes a point in telling all who could hear him, this Roman understands my mission.
Mark 5: 22-23 New Living Translation
Then a leader of the local synagogue, whose name was Jairus, arrived. When he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet, pleading fervently with him. “My little daughter is dying,” he said. “Please come and lay your hands on her; heal her so she can live.”
It is noteworthy to mention that we have seen; a mother and daughter, a father and son, a man and his friend, now we are looking at a father and daughter. The lesson I am learning is that faith is not required of the person in need. In each of these cases someone else has brought them to Jesus. This is a local synagogue leader, the first time in this study we have seen someone involved in the church. He asks Jesus to come and lay His hands on his daughter. The other examples do not mention the laying on of hands either. Although I do know plenty of verses where the laying on of hands is encouraged but for our discovery of great faith, I felt this fact should be highlighted.
Mark 5: 25-28 New Living Translation
A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.”
In the middle of the march to the leader of our local synagogue a woman fights her way through the crowd maybe on her hands and knees just to touch His robe. Like our man in Mark 9, she had tried everything to the point of exhaustion along with depleting her finances. Our woman in the crowd had gained faith upon learning of Jesus but our man in Mark, well he struggled.
Mark 5: 30-34 New Living Translation
Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my robe?” His disciples said to him, “Look at this crowd pressing around you. How can you ask, ‘Who touched me?’” But he kept on looking around to see who had done it. Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell to her knees in front of him and told him what she had done.
And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.”
Jesus had asked many questions to check the faith of those who had made request of Him. This time, the questions fell on the disciples and those around Him. “Who touched my robe?” He continued asking those crowded in around Him, “I felt healing power has gone from Me, who was it?” Twelve years she had suffered with this blood issue which brought about so much personal loss, now she is being singled out for that very issue. Jesus does not test her faith but proclaims that faith to all who are listening.
Mark 5: 35 – 36, 39, 40 – 43
While he was still speaking to her, messengers arrived from the home of Jairus, the leader of the synagogue. They told him, “Your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.” But Jesus overheard them and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.” He went inside and asked, “Why all this commotion and weeping? The child isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.” The crowd laughed at him. But he made them all leave, and he took the girl’s father and mother and his three disciples into the room where the girl was lying. Holding her hand, he said to her, which means “Little girl, get up!” And the girl, who was twelve years old, immediately stood up and walked around! They were overwhelmed and totally amazed.
Jesus gave them strict orders not to tell anyone what had happened, and then he told them to give her something to eat.
Remember, this started as a walk over to the local synagogue leader’s home to touch his daughter. The woman that touched His clothing, stopped the trip. The news is bad, friends came to tell Jairus that it is too late, death had taken his daughter and there is no need for the teacher. The crowd has begun to offer their sympathy to the family. It is over and nothing more can be done. This local synagogue crowd does not understand who is coming to visit this little girl.
I see that I have written more in today’s blog then normal, forgive me but we must dig a little deeper. I mentioned that faith is not required of the person in need, someone else can have that faith for them. Then we see a single woman, full of her own faith, crawling through the crowd to touch his robe. Next, we have a little girl who has her supporters losing hope. Jesus gets the fathers attention and says, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.” We have seen Jesus test each person coming to Him so that they can understand their place and their need for Him. So many times, we come to Jesus last, after attempting all we know to do. We have come to the end our ourselves and realize that He holds the answer.
One last thought for today, in the other examples Jesus points out to all those listening that the faith they witnessed is worthy of discussion. The local synagogue leader is told something different, “I am giving you strict orders not to tell anyone what had happened.” When Jesus awakens the girl inside the home, we find Jesus, three of His disciples, along with her mom and dad. Jesus was demonstrating his authority to these 5 people for soon He would be awakened from death himself. When Jesus raises on that third day, Jairus will need to fall back on this moment and remind his synagogue crowd something he was once told, “do not be afraid but have faith?
Where is your level of faith, is it a secret or is it shared for all to learn who Jesus is and who we are?