Matthew 9: Enlarging the Harvest (4)
Pray Psalm 31.1-5.
In You, O LORD, I put my trust;
Let me never be ashamed;
Deliver me in Your righteousness.
Bow down Your ear to me,
Deliver me speedily;
Be my rock of refuge,
A fortress of defense to save me.
For You are my rock and my fortress;
Therefore, for Your name’s sake,
Lead me and guide me.
Pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me,
For You are my strength.
Into Your hand I commit my spirit;
You have redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.
Sing Psalm 31.1-5.
(Brother James’ Air: The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll not Want)
In You, O Lord, I refuge take; let me not come to shame!
In righteousness deliver me, according to Your Name.
Incline Your ear, my prayer to hear, my Fortress strong to save!
For You my Rock and Fortress are; in Your Name lead and guide.
You rescue me from ev’ry net which wicked men might hide.
My Refuge strong, my spirit long in Your hand shall abide.
Read Matthew 9.1-26; meditate on verses 18-26.
1. How do you see both faith and grace at work in these two incidents?
2. Why did the people ridicule Jesus?
These two vignettes are very precious. Three of the evangelists record them – Matthew, Mark (5.21-43), and Luke (8.40-56). Together, they present a lovely study on grace and faith, each of which finds its focus, font, and fruit in Jesus. Let’s have a closer look.
A ruler came to Jesus, worshiped Him, and bid Him come and heal his daughter, who had “just died”. This man was probably a synagogue leader; thus, he would have been familiar with the Scriptures and well aware of Jesus and His growing ministry. But it took the crisis of his daughter’s death to move him to seek the Lord’s help.
Faith is like that. It can spring to life within someone, who suddenly realizes that he has reached the end of his rope, and needs help from somewhere beyond this world. This man came to Jesus out of sorrow and grief, but mostly for the sake of his daughter, that she might live again. Faith was at work in this man, but it was the grace he saw in Jesus that led him to seek the Lord.
Along the way to heal this man’s daughter, Jesus brought healing to a woman of faith, who saw in Him her only hope of deliverance from a serious physical malady. She was not seeking notoriety, only healing. Yet Jesus called her out and commended her faith. He did not have to heal her, and he did not have to heed the ruler’s urgent pleading. But faith taps the spigot of grace, even as grace moves the heart to faith. When that woman returned home healed, she would not have boasted about her faith, any more than the ruler of the synagogue would have boasted about his. Both had faith, but their faith was drawn out from within them by the Person of Jesus.
The ruler and the woman believed Jesus in the face of the unlikely, if not impossible. The people laughed at Jesus, choosing to believe their eyes and experience rather than His Word. In the end, His Word proved true, and the scoffers were “put outside”.
The lesson is clear: Faith turns to Jesus and taps into grace, not by looking to the world and its ways, but by believing Him for what to everyone else seems impossible. Thus grace responds to and increases faith, as Jesus acts to bring healing and salvation.
1. How do faith and grace work in your experience of walking with Jesus?
2. What can keep us from having faith like this ruler and this woman?
3. Why do people today laugh at the idea of believing in Jesus? How should our lives serve to silence such laughter?
Not unjustly did the Lord order them to be sent outside. He showed that incredulous and unbelieving people of this kind are to be excluded from the promise of eternal life or from God’s kingdom by him who is the Author of life and the Lord of the heavenly kingdom. Chromatius (fl. 400), Tractate on Matthew 47.7
Give me faith today, Lord Jesus, so that I will…
Pray Psalm 31.19-24.
How do you expect to know the goodness and healing power of Jesus today? Thank Him in advance, and set your heart to follow Him in everything you do today.
Sing Psalm 31.19-24.
Psalm 31.19-24 (Brother James’ Air: The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll not Want)
How great the goodness You reserve for those who fear You, Lord,
Who rest in You and boldly stand before men in Your Word.
You cover them from plots of men; You shelter them, O Lord!
Blessed be the Lord, for He has shown His steadfast love to me!
In my alarm I cried to Him; He heard my fervent plea!
In fear and dread with You I pled; You heard and rescued me!
O love the Lord, all you, His saints! He keeps us faithfully.
But all who act in sinful pride His wrath shall surely see.
Be strong and let your heart not fret; wait on Him constantly!
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).