What does Jesus mean whenever he tells people your faith has healed you or your faith has made you well? We have numerous indications in the Gospels where Jesus said that kind of thing to various people at different times. And we looked at one of those stories this last Sunday in my message, and if you missed it, you can always go to the church website and watch that so you can get a little bit of context here. But there’s a woman who had an incurable disease for twelve years and Jesus heals her and he talks about how her faith healed her or her faith made her well.
And that’s a statement that I think troubles us for a variety of reasons, and I’ll get into that more in a moment.
But really our question is, what exactly does that mean? Well, one of the ways that we can go about it is by looking at the original languages and trying to understand exactly what that word heals means whenever Jesus says it in the original language. And that word does have more than just simply a physical connotation. It can mean physical healing, but it can also refer to something in the area of spiritual healing, as in a person coming to faith in that moment in addition to being physically healed. But we got to dig a little bit deeper as we look through the stories in the Gospels, whenever people were healed or a prayer is answered, or really all throughout Scripture, what are some of the patterns that we see?
On the one hand, we have to look at those indications where Jesus, for instance, would say something like, if you only have a mustard seed of faith, then you can say to this mountain move. And those kinds of statements where we think about, well, what is a mustard seed of faith and what does that have to do with a person’s faith, healing them or making them well, it seems to be that in that instance that Jesus isn’t saying that it’s necessarily a quantity of faith or a size of a person’s faith. That is the key ingredient there.
Yes, a person might have great faith, a person might have less faith, but it’s not so much in terms of a measurement of size or of quantity. There’s also another thing to consider, because there’s times when Jesus would talk about how people are of little faith, but he also then compares them to being faithless, as if the two are sort of synonymous there.
And so we already know that Jesus probably isn’t looking for a quantity or a size of faith, but there is an indication that there is a type of faith that is correct and a type of faith that is incorrect, that would be the equivalent of being of little faith or of having no faith. So we need to dig a little bit deeper. And then, of course, that takes us to statements that Jesus had made. And then also we look at a place like the Book of James, where in chapter four it talks about how our heart and our motives matter whenever we pray, as if are we praying with the right motives?
And sometimes we ask for things and we don’t get them because our heart is not aligned with God’s heart.
So that is another sort of clue as we try to figure out. Again, what does the statement mean about your faith has healed you or your faith has made you well? And then we also have those instances in scripture, like in one John, chapter five, where it talks about praying in alignment with God’s will. We can pray and pray and pray, but if we’re praying outside of God’s will and what God wants to do, then we may not see that prayer answered. And it doesn’t matter really the size of our faith, as long as though we’re praying in connection with God’s will and we’re praying with the right motives, and we’re praying by having the right object of our faith.
Because again, it’s not so much the quantity of faith, but it seems to be that what Jesus did in the life of this woman in Mark, chapter five, who had the internal bleeding for twelve years, that she had the right object of faith. And now I think that that is confirmed in Scripture as to what would be the most important thing. What is your faith in? Is it just a general positivity, just a general faith in the universe? Or is it a specific faith in God’s power, in his ability, in his will for your life?
You have the right motives, you go into it with the right mindset. It seems to be that, of course, God’s power is always responsible for healing. Anytime anybody’s healed, it’s always God’s benevolence and his mercy and his power at work. But in the case of this woman, in the case of other situations where Jesus said, your faith has made you whole or your faith has made you well, it seems to be that that person’s faith acts in concert with God’s power in such a way that a miracle gets done. But here’s what I would say as we just sort of conclude this.
And some of you might say, Steve, you didn’t really ever even answer the question. And I think you’re probably getting at something here, which is, I don’t necessarily have great clarity myself on the firm answers to this, but we do have clues in Scripture. And so my conclusion would be this. We need to pray for the kind of faith that is pleasing to God. We should pray for faith.
And whenever our faith seems to be lacking, we should confess that to God and say, God, I believe, but help me to continue to believe, or to believe more, or to have faith in you and what your timing is and what your power is, that that is paramount, that we approach it with the right motives, that we understand God’s will and all of this and continue to seek his will. That that is the most important factor in all of these things. And as we pray with faith in alignment with God’s will and with the right motives, there’s certainly the possibility that God could bring an answered prayer or a healing in a situation that he might not.
If somebody has the wrong motives or is praying outside of his will, or is praying with the wrong type of faith, or they have the wrong object of their faith, the object of our faith should always be Jesus and on who he is and what he is able to do. But I also want to just caution us because this is a tricky subject.
I know that I’ve certainly been around others who have used the idea of your faith has healed you, your faith has made you well in a way that is hurtful to other people. As if God isn’t answering your prayer, you must have a deprived faith. Your faith just must not be that big, as if the issue is only on you. And I think that that can be a very dangerous weapon that people in the body of Christ can use, is if we fully know the mind of God, it very well may indeed be that that person has the wrong motives, or there’s something about that person’s faith that is out of alignment with God’s will, and therefore he’s not answering the prayer.
But I think we need to be cautious about that.
And we need to understand that there are times when people have what we would consider to be tremendous faith and a heart of devotion and worship for God. And yet, for whatever reason, God doesn’t answer their prayers, God doesn’t heal them, God doesn’t come through, and those are always just really challenging moments. And so we have opportunities, the bodies of Christ, to say whether God answers this prayer or not, we’re going to trust that he is able, we’re going to pray that he would, but we’re also going to trust, even whenever he doesn’t, that he’s still good at all times.
Well, I hope that this conversation has stirred up maybe some ideas in your mind. I know that it’s intrigued me to want to keep seeking Scripture and trying to understand the heart of God in all of this.
But in all things, let us seek to pray with greater faith. And may the Lord help us in that. Thanks for joining us today. Bye.