Jesus’s Response to Imperfect FaithMay 13, 2015 at 1:38 pm | Posted in Matthew | 3 Comments
Tags: answered prayers, commentary on Matthew, divine healing, faith, Jairus, Matthew 9, prayer, Sunday School lessons on Matthew, superstition, woman with the issue of blood
In Matthew Chapter 9 Jesus heals Jairus’s daughter and the woman with the issue of blood.
While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples. And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. And when Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.
Jairus was a leader among the Jews and a man; this will sound mean, but, to society’s way of thinking at that time, the woman was a “broke nobody.” Jairus worshipped at the synagogue; the woman was considered unclean. Jairus was pleading for his daughter; the woman needed healing for herself. Jairus’s daughter had been healthy for 12 years; the woman had been sick for 12 years. Everybody knew about Jairus’s problem; no one knew about the woman’s problem. Jairus needed God to increase his faith; the woman’s faith was very simplistic, childlike, and almost superstitious. Jesus ultimately healed both the woman and Jairus’s daughter. As fallen human beings, our faith, just like everything else about us, is far from perfect.
When my second daughter was born, the doctor and the nurse who were in the delivery room with my wife and I remained calm and acted very similar to the way the doctor and nurse had acted when our first daughter was born. They were calm, and seemed occupied in cleaning her off, checking all her body parts, getting her onto the scale, etc. But we could sense something was wrong. She wasn’t crying nearly as loudly as our first daughter had, and she seemed to be wheezing and having trouble breathing. After a few moments, the nurse decided that she needed to be taken out. It was frightening – terrifying actually – and for the next few days our daughter was in the newborn intensive care section of the hospital on a breathing tube. We were only allowed to hold her very briefly a couple of times a day. Despite the fact that the breathing tube bypassed her vocal cords, making her crying soundless, it was obvious that she was in distress and wailing with body-wracking sobs almost constantly. One of the most frustrating things about the whole situation was that the doctors and hospital staff couldn’t or wouldn’t tell me what was wrong. They said it was too soon to tell, revealing only that it may be something as routine as the need to drain fluid from her lungs or something as serious as a heart valve problem. I pled for percentages, possible diagnoses, treatment options, contingency plans, you name it, but the doctor in charge of her case would only shake her head somberly and say that she could give me no assurance at all. I tried my best to stay with my wife, who needed comfort in her hospital room, but it was hard to stay away from the intensive care unit. They had a special waiting area, and I would sit in there all alone, all night long, pleading with the Lord to heal my daughter. This might very well be one of the most sinful prayers you can pray, but many, many times during those three days, I asked God to take my life in exchange for my daughter’s. This was one of the most miserable periods of my entire life, but I can honestly say that I probably drew closer to God in that ICU waiting room than I ever had before. I give Him glory and praise today, almost 17 years later, that He did completely heal my daughter, despite the superstitious nature of my faith.
I don’t know exactly what was going through the mind of Jairus or the woman with the issue of blood before Jesus answered their prayers, but I am eternally thankful that He does answer imperfect prayers prayed with imperfect faith.