I've been reading Matthew for the last few days and have been thinking about the miracles that Jesus performed. Three of the miracles stuck out to me. There are similarities in them, and things that really stuck out to me that were different.
The first miracle takes place in Matthew 8. Jesus enters Capernaum and a Roman captain comes up to him. Let me stop right there and point out that the Roman came to the Jew. Rome conquered Israel and Jews hated Romans. This Roman captain comes to Jesus and asks Him to heal his servant. Jesus offers to come heal the servant. The Roman tells Jesus that he needs to just say the word and he knows the servant will be healed. Jesus says that He has yet to come across such trust in Israel. He mentions that he is the beginning of many outsiders who become part of God's kingdom. Then Jesus tells the Roman to go and that his servant it healed. Then Jesus continues on.
The next one is about the Canaanite woman who comes to Jesus (Matthew 15) and asks him to drive an evil spirit out of her daughter. He tells her He is too busy dealing with the lost sheep of Israel. Um, wait a few chapters earlier He makes no comment about not helping Romans, as a matter of fact He says he was one of the first of many outsiders to come. Isn't this Canaanite an outsider? Yes, there is a long history with Canaanites but it struck me as strange. She goes on and says even the dogs eat the crumbs from the master's table. Jesus in so moved by her faith that he tells her that her daughter is healed. Then He just continues on his way.
The last one takes place in Matthew 9 and it involves a local official. The official comes to Jesus and says that his daughter is dead and that if He just touches her then she will live. Jesus got up and went with him. Before he gets there another miracle takes place when the woman with the bleeding touches Jesus and is healed. Jesus gets there and tells the mourners that she is just sleeping. He then goes in, takes her hand, and she is alive.
The similarities are that in each of these miracles someone came and asked for a healing for someone else. The Roman came and asked for his servant to be healed. The other two came and asked for their daughters to be healed. Of course, all three people were healed. All three people should faith that Jesus could do it.
The differences are what stick out to me. In both the Roman and the Canaanite they did not ask for Jesus to come with them. The Roman made a point of telling Jesus that He just needed to say the word and the servant would be healed. The Canaanite woman didn't make any conditions. She didn't ask for Him to come, to touch, to say a word. She just begged Him to help. The only one who asked for Jesus to come was the official, who I assume was a Jew since they were in Israel.
Okay, I hope I word this right because I think it is significant in this day and age. The outsiders did not need Jesus to come and touch. In both cases He simply spoke and they were healed. In both cases He emphasized their faith. Jesus came for the Jews, He said so to the Canaanite woman, and the Jew was the only one who asked Jesus to come and heal his daughter. He was the only one who needed Jesus to come. His faith was not as strong and he was an insider.
What does this mean for now? I think it means a lot about faith and a lot about Christians. Who had more faith in these miracles? The outsiders. Is that still true today? Not in all cases, but I think it might. Those who are not Christians do not expect God to come to them. They don't think they deserve Him or His touch, yet they still believe in Him. They believe He can heal. They've heard the stories, even read them for themselves, and they believe. Wen they need a miracle they do call out to Him and those who have faith like the Roman ans Canaanite call knowing He can heal. They know that He just has to say the word. Their faith is based on not seeing and on still being an outsider. Hopefully, they will go from outsider to insider, miracle or not.
Christians have faith too. They must or there is no way they could have accepted His forgiveness. They must have faith to believe that they are forgive and Christ is in their hearts. Yet, so often we, myself included, need to see His hand touch. We have the faith that He can put we still have to see it. We even pray for His touch. This isn't a bad thing, His touch is more amazing than words can even express. It's not about His touch. It is about our need to see His touch. Why don't we have as much faith as an outsider? A faith that knows we don't deserve it but we know He can heal, touch or not. Why don't we just ask Him to say the word? I know there have been times that I have prayed for Him to just speak into a situation or into my heart, but most of the time I pray for Him to touch the situation or touch my heart.
I want the best of both of these types of miracles. I want the faith that the two outsiders had and it just take the words of Jesus. I also love the fact that I am an insider, I have accepted Him into my heart, and that I have the ability to go to Jesus and know that He will come and He will touch.