Right at the onset of chapter 8, Jesus healed a man with leprosy, healed a paralytic, healed Peter’s mother-in-law in bed with a fever, and drove out spirits of demon-possessed people with just a word.
Verse 17 says, “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.”
Jesus clearly stated the costs of following Him – to leave everything behind, even your family – be willing to give up everything to follow after Him. In verses 23-27 the Bible tells of when Jesus calmed the storm. When the disciples got up to follow after him in the boat, a furious storm came up and the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. They woke Him up crying out, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
He rebuked the wind and the waves, and it was completely calm.
The disciples were amazed and said, “…Even the winds and the waves obey him!” What kind of God do we pray to when we are asking for healing? Do we pray God-sized prayers that are led by faith in the God that commands the winds and the waves? Do we pray to the God that parted the Red Sea for the Israelites to cross into freedom on dry land in the middle of the ocean? Do we pray to the God that spoke creation into being, and it was so? Do we pray to the God that spoke healing over people, and immediately they received healing? Do we pray to the God that died and defeated death, raising to life on the 3rd day? I fear we all too often pray puny prayers as though our faith is not big enough for the size of our God. You may have heard the saying, “Stop telling God how big your problems are, and start telling your problems how big your God is.”
The people mentioned in the beginning of chapter 8 who received healing from Jesus all have something in common. Their faith was placed in God. The man with leprosy believed that Jesus could heal him if he was willing. The centurion believed that Jesus could heal his servant who was paralyzed if He would just say the word, and his servant would be healed – and it was so as Jesus spoke it in that moment.
Sometimes we fear our greatest enemy, the devil, who is the father of lies and comes only to steal, kill and destroy. We buy into the seeds of doubt that he plants, and we get knocked off our faith when we are not careful. But listen carefully to these next verses. Lean into this – it truly sets you on the edge of your seat! Verses 28-29 say, “When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. ‘What do you want with us, Son of God?’ they shouted. ‘Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?’”
Time out! Did ya’ll catch that just now? Even the demons call Him by name!
“What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted!
Verse 31 tells us the demons then begged Jesus if He drives them out to send them into the herd of pigs. Then in verse 32, “He said to them, ‘Go!’ So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water.”
I just love this so much. Next time we give into doubt or fear, recognize that it is from the enemy who wants to steal our joy and rob us of what God has for us – let us remember that even the demons fear the Lord. They know who He is and even they recognize His power is greater than their own. Don’t you know if you are a follower of Jesus, you have already won victory over the enemy?
It’s not IF you gain victory, it is that it has ALREADY been done and handed to you!
It is not WHEN you will be an overcomer, but it IS that in Christ you already ARE an overcomer!
It is not someday, sometime, hopefully, perhaps or even maybe. It is done. It is finished. Christ claimed, signed, sealed and delivered the victory and He hand delivered it to you and to me and to all that recognize that we are sinners in need of a Savior and that He alone is Savior, Yahweh, Adonai, Jesus, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the only perfect lamb whose sacrifice covered our sins and gave us victory. That SAME God provides healing and forgiveness still today!
In chapter 9 Jesus forgave and healed a paralyzed man lying on a mat. He told the man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” Here lies an important message in this particular healing story. I would venture to say that we ask for healing, or we ask for answers for help from God, and He brings us answers and help in all sorts of ways that we fail to see, or we even blatantly dismiss. We stay put, laying on our mats, wondering when the healing and answers will come. Let’s read that again. Jesus said, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” This required action on the part of the paralytic. He could have stayed on the mat complaining, “But can’t you see I can’t get up? I’m paralyzed!” Perhaps he could have thought to himself that surely Jesus wasn’t talking to him – he must have been talking to someone else.
Friends, how often do we miss the blessings of God because we are so wrapped up in our circumstances that we cannot even see or hear when He is speaking to us? The man wanted healing and believed Jesus could do it, so guess what he did? Verse 7 tells us, “Then the man got up and went home.” He had to GET UP and follow through. All too often we lay around on our mats still wondering when Jesus is going to come. Let us get up off our mats and pay attention to the voice of God.
Jesus called another of his disciples named Matthew to come and follow him. Matthew was a tax collector. Chapter 9:10-12 tells us that Jesus was eating at Matthew’s house with many tax collectors and sinners and his disciples. The Pharisees began asking the disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus responded, (and don’t miss this!) – “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. . . For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” When you begin to think your sins are too great and you don’t think you are covered, remember that He came to save the lost. He wasn’t just hanging out with “church” people when He was here. He was hanging out with the sick, the broken, the lost, the sinners, the tax collectors, the ones who could recognize their weakness and see their need for a Savior. Don’t ever exclude yourself from the grace of God – He says you are included and completely covered in His grace – if you just believe and follow Him!
Here comes one of my favorite passages in all of Scripture – perhaps the one story that touches my heart the deepest. This one hits home for me in a big way. Matthew 9:20-22 says: 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 at that moment.
Jesus said to her, “Take heart daughter, your faith has healed you.”
And the woman was healed at that moment.
This touches my heart so deeply because though I have always known the love of the Father and I have known that His gift of salvation covered over me, I still have always struggled with feeling as though my sins were too great and I was just unworthy of His salvation. I knew I was saved. I believed it all in my head, but getting the truth of the love of the Father from my head to my heart unfortunately took decades from becoming saved at 8 years old to waiting until I am nearly 40 to let it touch my heart the way it does now. This picture of this woman – I can imagine her just crawling through crowds of people, fighting her way through, pushing her way through, doing whatever it took to get to Jesus. All her pain, all her suffering, all her shame would be gone in an instant if she could just reach out to Him and touch His cloak. I could not dream up a more beautiful picture than this moment. The love of the Father, perfectly, beautifully, and humbly displaying His gracious compassion and fervent love for us. A woman who would have been shunned and rejected publicly was accepted, seen, acknowledged, noticed and loved by her Creator, her Father, her Daddy, Jesus Christ.
I recently experienced a major healing in my heart just this year and it was over the lies of the enemy that I have held on to far too long. I was challenged to take an old lie and replace it with a new truth. We were given a rock to paint and let it be a representation of our new belief we would choose to walk into freedom believing. I took my rock and on one side I wrote the word: "Unwanted." On the flip side I wrote the word: "Wanted." Through much prayer leading up to this and persevering in my faith, I received healing by the Holy Spirit over the pains in my heart from years of believing I was unwanted. I always knew God loved me, but never felt that He wanted me. What a new revelation I have now living and believing that God actually wants me. I share this with you for one reason, and that is to tell you that – guess what? He wants YOU, too!
Throughout the rest of chapter 9, Jesus goes on to bring a dead girl back to life, healed two blind men giving them back their sight, drove out another demon-possessed man who was mute and when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. Verse 35 tells us that He continued on through towns and villages teaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. Wow!
And we end today’s time in God’s word in Matthew 9:37-38: Then he said to his disciples,
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
The harvest is plentiful. I have traveled all over the world and I happen to live in an incredibly small town that I grew up in. Just in this tiny little town I live in, statistics show that roughly 8700 of our some 23,000 residents are believers or have been reached for Christ. That leaves about 14,300 people just in my town alone who don't yet know or don't yet follow Jesus. We need workers desperately. People need the love of Jesus and those of us who have Him are responsible with what we do with what we know.
I would love to have you join me at a free training to learn how to share Jesus without fear. We have the greatest news to offer – let us share Him with joy and with urgency! What better way to love our friends than to share the love of Jesus!
Friends, I urge you, if you know Jesus – What are you doing with Him? Are you in a local church? When was the last time you invited someone to church, or invited someone to Jesus?
If you want more information on sharing the love of Jesus and inviting people to Him, please join me in my Share Jesus Without Fear group to ask questions, attend a discipleship event, and be a part of the Great Commission in Matthew 28 that He has called us all to. Click here to join me! Join Me!
And friends who don’t know my Jesus – Who do you say Jesus is? Do you know where you will spend eternity? If you want more information on who this Jesus is I speak of, join me in discussing who He is and how you can come to know him! I would love to hear your story and get to know you. Join me here! Join Me!
Be blessed my brothers and sisters,
Your beloved sister in Christ,
Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
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