October 9th, 2006
Faith is one of the simplest but at the same time most complicated things to understand. In today’s reading, Jesus heals some people in response to their faith. So is faith just a matter of wanting something a lot and then convincing yourself that it will happen, and shooting up a quick prayer to the big vending machine in the sky? Not quite. Maybe we can learn a lesson from the man suffering leprosy in yesterday’s reading who approached Jesus and said that Jesus could make him well if he wanted to. Maybe faith is more a matter of aligning our will with God’s plan for our lives.
Matthew’s Account of the Good News — Chapter 9
9:1 Jesus climbed into a boat, crossed back over the sea, and came to his own town. 9:2 They brought to him a man who was paralyzed, lying on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “Be encouraged! Your sins are forgiven.” 9:3 Some of the religious lawyers said to themselves, “That’s blasphemy.” 9:4 Reading their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? 9:5 Is it easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or, ‘Get up and walk?’ 9:6 Let me show you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then he turned to the paralysed man, “Get up, pick up your mat and go home.” 9:7 He got up and went home. 9:8 But when the crowds saw it, they were awestruck and gave glory to God, who could give such authority to men.
9:9 As Jesus moved on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting in the tax office. He said, “Follow me.” He got up and followed him. 9:10 Later, as they were sitting round the table in the house, many other tax collectors and sinners came and joined Jesus and his disciples at the table. 9:11 The Pharisees noticed this and asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 9:12 Jesus overheard and said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor; sick people do. 9:13 You need to learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ I came to summon sinners, not righteous people.”
9:14 John’s disciples came and asked, “Why don’t your disciples fast, when we and the Pharisees often do?” 9:15 Jesus answered, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn when the bridegroom is still with them? A time is coming when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. 9:16 No one patches an old garment with unshrunken cloth; the patch would tear away from the garment, making the hole worse. 9:17 And people don’t put new wine into old wineskins; the skins would burst and be ruined and the wine would be spilt. Instead, they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”
9:18 While he was still speaking, an official came and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but if you come and lay your hand on her she will live.” 9:19 Jesus got up and followed him, as did his disciples. 9:20 A woman who had been suffering haemorrhages for twelve years touched the fringe of his robe from behind, 9:21 because she had convinced herself, “If I just touch his robe I will be healed.” 9:22 Jesus turned around and noticed her, “Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed from that moment.
9:23 Reaching the official’s house, Jesus saw the noisy chaos of flute players and the crowd, 9:24 and said, “Please leave. The girl isn’t dead, just sleeping.” But they ridiculed him. 9:25 When the crowd was shut out, he went into the bedroom, took her by the hand, and the girl arose. 9:26 News of this spread throughout the district.
9:27 Jesus moved on from there and was followed by two blind men who shouted, “Have mercy on us, son of David!” 9:28 After the blind men followed him into a house, Jesus asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they said. 9:29 Then he touched their eyes, saying, “What you have believed will happen.” 9:30 Their eyes were opened. Jesus gave strict instructions: “Don’t let anyone know about this.” 9:31 But instead they went out and told everyone in the district about him.
9:32 When they left, a demon-possessed mute man was brought in. 9:33 When the demon was cast out, the mute man spoke. The crowds were amazed, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel!” 9:34 But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons through the dark arts of the prince of demons.”
9:35 Jesus visited the towns and the villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom, healing every disease and sickness. 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he was moved with compassion for them, because they were stressed-out and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 9:37 He told his disciples, “The harvest is enormous, but the workers are few, 9:38 so pray that the Lord of the harvest will send out workers into his harvest.”
Entry Filed under: Trust