The importance of Faith.


 

In today’s Gospel Jesus shows the importance of faith in the Lord and the need for ministers of healing and compassion is here emphasized.  It is easy to believe that we are self-sufficient and God is detached from the world.  We can get caught in the logic of worldly reasoning and forget about the importance of God.

Jesus’ healing power was profound. By His mere presence and a touch to His cloak He healed a woman. Soon after, all it took was for Him to hold out His hand and a young girl rose from her death bed. It is no wonder that word spread about Him throughout the land.

He is the story! Jairus, an elder of the Jews came to Jesus in great distress, and cast himself at His feet, exclaiming, “My little daughter lies at the point of death: I pray You, come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.”

Jesus set out at once with the ruler for his home. The ruler’s house was not far distant, but Jesus and His companions advanced slowly, for the crowd pressed Him on every side. The anxious father was impatient of delay; but Jesus, pitying the people, stopped now and then to relieve some suffering one, or to comfort a troubled heart.

While they were still on the way, a messenger pressed through the crowd, bearing to Jairus the news that his daughter was dead, and it was useless to trouble the Master further. The word caught the ear of Jesus. “Fear not,” He said; “believe only, and she shall be made whole.” Jairus pressed closer to the Savior, and together they hurried to the ruler’s home.

Requiring the crowd and mourners to leave the house, Jesus took with Him the father and mother of the girl, and the three disciples, Peter, James, and John, and together they entered the chamber of death. Jesus approached the bedside, and, taking the child’s hand in His own, He pronounced softly, in the familiar language of her home, the words, “Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.”  Instantly a tremor passed through the unconscious form. The pulses of life beat again. The lips unclosed with a smile. The eyes opened widely as if from sleep, and the maiden gazed with wonder on the group beside her. She arose, and her parents clasped her in their arms, and wept for joy.

On the way to Jairus’ house, Jesus had met, in the crowd, a poor woman who for twelve years had suffered from a disease that made her life a burden. She had spent all her means upon physicians and remedies, only to be pronounced incurable. But her hopes revived when she heard of the cures that Christ performed. She felt assured that if she could only go to Him she would be healed. In weakness and suffering she came to the seaside where He was teaching, and tried to press through the crowd, but in vain. Again she followed Him from the house of Levi-Matthew, but was still unable to reach Him. She had begun to despair, when, in making His way through the multitude, He came near where she was.

The golden opportunity had come. She was in the presence of the Great Physician! But amid the confusion she could not speak to Him, nor catch more than a passing glimpse of His figure. Fearful of losing her one chance of relief, she pressed forward, saying to herself, “If I may but touch His garment, I shall be whole.” As He was passing, she reached forward, and succeeded in barely touching the border of His garment. But in that moment she knew that she was healed. In that one touch she was concentrated the faith of her life, and instantly her pain and feebleness gave place to the vigor of perfect health.

Who touched Me?” Jesus asked. The Savior could distinguish the touch of faith from the casual contact of the careless crowd. Such trust should not be passed without comment. He would speak to the humble woman words of comfort that would be to her a wellspring of joy,–words that would be a blessing to His followers to the close of time. So, looking toward the woman, Jesus insisted on knowing who had touched Him. Finding concealment vain, she came forward tremblingly, and cast herself at His feet. With grateful tears she told the story of her suffering, and how she had found relief. Jesus gently said, “Daughter, be of good comfort: your faith has made you whole; go in peace.” He gave no opportunity for superstition to claim healing virtue for the mere act of touching His garments. It was not through the outward contact with Him, but through the faith which took hold on His divine power, that the cure was wrought.

The only faith that will benefit us is that which embraces Jesus as a personal Savior; which appropriates His merits to ourselves. Many hold faith as an opinion. Saving faith is a transaction by which those who receive Christ join themselves in covenant relation with God. Genuine faith is life. A living faith means an increase of vigor, a confiding trust, by which the soul becomes a conquering power.  After healing the woman, Jesus desired her to acknowledge the blessing she had received. The gifts which the gospel offers are not to be secured by stealth or enjoyed in secret. So the Lord calls upon us for confession of His goodness.  Our confession of His faithfulness is Heaven’s chosen agency for revealing Christ to the world. We are to acknowledge His grace as made known through the holy men of old; but that which will be most effectual is the testimony of our own experience. We are witnesses for God as we reveal in ourselves the working of a power that is divine. Every individual has a life distinct from all others, and an experience differing essentially from theirs. God desires that our praise shall ascend to Him, marked by our own individuality. These precious acknowledgments to the praise of the glory of His grace, when supported by a Christ-like life, have an irresistible power that works for the salvation of souls.

Do you take your troubles to the Lord with expectant faith and confidence in His help? People in desperate or helpless circumstances were not disappointed when they sought Jesus out. What drew them to Jesus? Was it hope for a miracle or a word of comfort in their affliction? What did the elderly woman who had suffered greatly for twelve years expect Jesus to do for her? And what did a grieving father expect Jesus to do about his lost beloved daughter? Jesus gave hope where there seemed to be no human cause for it because His hope was directed to God. In both instances we see Jesus’ personal concern for the needs of others and his readiness to heal and restore life.  In Jesus we see the infinite love of God extending to each and every individual as He gives freely and wholly of himself to each  person he meets. Do you approach the Lord with confident expectation that he will hear your request and act?

“Lord Jesus, you love each of us individually with a unique and personal love. Touch my life with your saving power, heal and restore me to fullness of life. Help me to give wholly of myself in loving service to others.”

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