It is so obvious only a theologian could miss it! Today we read four major stories about people who were healed by Jesus, and all were healed through faith (Matt. 9:2, 22, 29; Luke 8:50). Apart from faith they would not have been healed, even though it was clearly Jesus’ will for them to be healed due to the fact that He healed them. So when people piously say, “God is sovereign, and so if it’s His will for me to be healed, He’ll heal me, regardless of what I do,” they display their ignorance of simple biblical truth, even if they hold doctorates in theology. Had the people we read about today adopted that same attitude, none of them would have been healed. They were healed because they believed that Jesus would heal them.
Additionally, they didn’t believe Jesus would heal them “someday, in His time, when it was His will.” They believed He would heal them very soon. The paralytic man believed Jesus would heal him when he was lowered into the room with Jesus. The woman with the hemorrhage believed she would be healed when she touched Jesus. The two blind men believed they would be healed when Jesus touched them. The synagogue official believed Jesus would resurrect and heal his daughter when He laid His hand on her. We should learn from their examples. Jesus said, “All things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you” (Mark 11:24, emphasis added).
I stated yesterday that there is no example in the four Gospels of Jesus healing an adult solely in response to another adult’s faith. What about today’s story of the paralytic lowered though the roof by four of his friends? We read, “Jesus, seeing their faith…” (9:2).
Certainly, all four men, as well as the paralytic, had faith, as demonstrated by their actions. If the paralytic had not had faith, he would not have cooperated with his four friends, and when Jesus told him, “Rise, take up your bed, and go home,” he would have laid there, not believing such a thing was possible. So we see that his four friends believed with him, but not for him, that is, apart from his own faith. You and I cannot overpower another person’s unbelief by our faith. For example, what if I said to an atheist, “I know that you don’t believe in Jesus, but I’m going to have faith for you so you’ll be forgiven and go to heaven”? Would my faith save him? No, he must believe for himself. So it is with divine healing.
But notice that the faith of the synagogue official (see Luke 8:50) brought his daughter back to life and cured her of what killed her. Thus we see that parents can use their faith on behalf of their children for healing, at least up to a certain age.
Why did Jesus first tell the paralytic man that his sins were forgiven? Perhaps because he was doubting Jesus would heal him due to his sins. Once you know God has forgiven you, it is much easier to believe that He’ll heal you (see Jas. 5:14-15). Another good lesson.
When I read the brief story of Jesus calling Matthew, I often wonder how many other people heard Jesus say to them as He walked by, “Follow Me!”, but who watched Him walk off into the distance. Luke’s Gospel tells us that Matthew “left everything behind, and rose up and began to follow Him” (Luke 5:28). That gives us some understanding of why Matthew was later chosen to be among the twelve. He said goodbye to his dishonest and greedy lifestyle.
When Jesus made the statement that the harvest is plentiful, there were an estimated 200 million people living on planet Earth. Today there are thirty-five times that many, close to seven billion people. Truly the harvest is even more plentiful than ever before, and the need for workers is much greater than ever before. Perhaps one-third of the world’s people have never heard Jesus’ name a single time! Pray that the Lord will send more laborers, adding, “Lord, send me!”