Today’s reading is Matthew 15.
As I read today’s verse, I was moved by the healing power Jesus provided the people, both Israelites and Canaanites, during his time on earth. We are offered so many examples of his healing power and the faith people had in him.
In our first Faith and Healing example, a Canaanite woman comes to Jesus asking for healing. The picture of a panicked mother comes to mind, fully exhausted dealing with her daughter. 25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
She does not know what else to do and appears to be at her wits end. She needs her daughter to be healed.
22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David,have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”
She is crying for help. She is pleading, trying to draw his full attention by saying “Son of David”. Jesus in turn does her her plea for help, yet he does not offer healing right away. He instead questions her faith and questions her further.
26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
But she continues saying even the dogs need crumbs. Even if this woman and her daughter are feeling as if they are not worthy, they still have faith and need Jesus’ healing. Jesus sees her faith and heals her daughter. Relief.
In the next story of Faith and Healing comes in the form of feeding the 4,000, no, not the 5,000, the 4,000. This story is not as well known but a strong reminder of Jesus’ powerful time on earth.
30 Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. 31 The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.
It must have been a wonderful seen as person by person, he offers healing power. He offers healing to each person. This story does not show discerning between who “deserves” the healing and who doesn’t, he openly offers his healing. He must have seen or felt the strong presence of faith in the crowd, almost as we do sometimes going to church and feeling the power of the congregation in song and praise.
Jesus then turns to his disciples and shows his compassion. He knows people have traveled far to receive his blessing and healing. He does not want to turn away the hungry and he doesn’t. This time, he has seven loaves of bread and some fish:
“Seven,” they replied, “and a few small fish.”
35 He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. 36 Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people.
As we look for healing, we can count of God. He may make us demonstrate our faith such as the Canaanite woman before he heals us, but he does heal us. He also has compassion and provides the bread (fish) and wine we need through his body and blood offered through communion.
In the last few weeks, I have seen people in need of healing: a concussion on the soccer field, a friend having sinus surgery, one son struggling with his path, and my ongoing journey with my mother’s failing health. Faith and Healing. Two powerful words for us to remember as we face life’s every day bumps. May you remember God’s healing hand and to have Faith in his actions in your lives.