The Importance of Faith

Matthew 9:18-26
Hos 2:16-18,21-22 / Ps 145

“Take heart, daughter,” He said, “your faith has healed you.”
(Matthew 9:22)

The little girl was already dead,
But her father’s faith made her live.
Always remember what Jesus said:
“When you believe you will receive.”

While Jesus was speaking these things to them, a ruler came and knelt before Him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” Jesus got up and went with him, and so did His disciples. Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind Him and touched the edge of His cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch His cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” He said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed from that moment. When Jesus entered the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd, He said, “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at Him. After the crowd had been put outside, He went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. News of this spread through all that region. (Matthew 9:18-26)


She had suffered this debilitating illness for 12 long years, and her resources had all been spent on various doctors who were unable to cure her malady (Luke 9:43). But she held on to the hope that one day she would be cured, and when she learned that Jesus was passing by that place, she resolved to brave the crowd even in her weakened state, believing that “If only I can touch His cloak, I shall be cured.” For her faith and brave spirit, Jesus granted her desire, and she was healed. Jesus told her, “Take heart, your faith has healed you.”

Jesus always advised the afflicted or those who sought His healing power to “take heart”, or “have faith” before they could be healed. In the case of the ruler for whose twelve year old daughter he sought out Jesus, He told him in the gospel versions of Mark and Luke, “Do not be afraid; just have faith” when news came that his daughter was already dead. The gospel accounts of Mark and Luke are similar but differ from Matthew, as they both relate that the daughter of Jairus (the synagogue ruler) was at the point of death (Mk.5:23, Lk.8:42).

Jesus could not or would not perform His miracles in the midst of people who did not have faith in Him. This was probably the reason why the crowd who had mocked and laughed at Him “had been put outside” before He raised the dead girl back to life.

Many have been healed miraculously from various afflictions and disease because of their strong faith in God. But more important than the healing of their bodies, their souls have been saved. Again we note that the Gospel accounts of Mark and Luke differ from that of Matthew in this regard, when Jesus told the woman healed of her hemorrhage: “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” (Mk.5:34, Lk.8:48)

I am reminded of an old Rotarian friend who passed away many years ago. For a long time he had always been a “man of the world”, enjoying a life of “wine, women and song” and hardly took any interest in religion or concern for the state of his soul. Then he contracted liver cancer. His doctor advised him to get his life in order as at the most, he only had about six months to live. Miraculously, through the prayers of family, friends and relatives, he lived on for another four years before he finally succumbed to the disease. In that span of time his faith in our Lord Jesus developed, and we all believe that he was eventually saved.

How gracious and merciful You are to us, O God, for You not only heal our bodies and free us from the torments of our disease, but more importantly, You save us by increasing our faith in You and your Beloved Son, our Lord and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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