Are you ready to take a faith-building journey through the Word of God? Get an in-depth look at four people whose lives were transformed by Jesus' healing ministry, and discover how believing God, releasing faith and trusting His Word will bring you the same results.
One of the best ways to increase our capacity to receive from God is to study the accounts the Bible gives of people who were good receivers. I want to focus on four of my favorites: the woman with the issue of blood; Jairus, the synagogue ruler; the Roman centurion; and the beggar—blind Bartimaeus.
We find the first two in Mark 5. Their stories are so intertwined in Scripture that they are best told together:
Behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw [Jesus], he fell at his feet, and besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live. And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him. And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years…when she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague
Let’s look first at the woman with the issue of blood. She was facing some very bad circumstances. She was not only sick, she was sick and broke. She could have easily stayed in her room and felt sorry for herself. She could have sat on her bed, crying and thinking, If God is good, why has He let this happen to me?
But something happened to her that made her decide not to do that. She heard and welcomed into her heart the word about Jesus. She had no doubt heard that He was healing people and she believed it.
What’s more, she acted on her faith. The first action she took was to open her mouth and say what she believed. Notice, she did not say what she felt or how terrible her life had been. She spoke words of faith, saying, “If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole” (Mark 5:28). According to The Amplified Bible, she did not just say that once, either. She “kept saying” it.
Then she took the next step of faith. She left her home, in spite of the fact that it was against the Jewish law for her to be in public in her condition. She fought and pushed her way through the crowd that was surrounding Jesus. She reached out to touch His clothes.
Sure enough, exactly what she said happened. She was instantly healed. Other people were touching Jesus, but theirs was not the touch of faith so they were not receiving anything from Him. She is the one who was believing, speaking and acting on the word she had heard about Him, so she is the one who received! According to Jesus, it was her faith (her believing and saying) that made her whole. Jesus said, “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague” (verse 34).
Wholehearted Faith Speaks!
Look at how Jairus, the synagogue ruler, received. We can immediately see striking similarities between his behavior and that of the woman with the issue of blood. He, too, had obviously heard the reports of Jesus’ love and power and had believed them.
We also find him speaking words of faith. After telling Jesus about his sick daughter, he said, “Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live” (Mark 5:23, New King James Version). Pay special attention to those last three words. They are not a request; they are a declaration of faith: “She will live.”
Watch Jesus’ response to Jairus, and you will see a clear picture of how God always responds to those who reach out to Him in faith, trusting His goodness and power. Jesus did not say, “Who do you think you are to tell Me what to do? Maybe I don’t want to come to your house. Who are you to tell Me to lay My hands on somebody for healing? Maybe I want to do it some other way.”
No, Jesus did not say any of those things. On the contrary, He immediately turned and went with Jairus, intending to do exactly what Jairus asked. He was easily entreated. Jesus was easy to receive from.
Although the Bible does not specifically say so, I believe Jairus had to exercise great patience to receive his miracle. He had already told Jesus his daughter was at the point of death. Time was of the essence. But in spite of the critical nature of the situation, Jesus allowed an interruption. He stopped, spoke to the woman who had been healed of the issue of blood, listened to her tell the story of her illness, and confirmed to her that her faith had made her whole.
I can just imagine how Jairus must have felt. Surely he was thinking, Hurry up, Jesus! Can’t You talk to this woman later?
To make matters worse—much worse—by the time that incident was over, Jairus had received very bad news:
While [Jesus] yet spake [with the woman], there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further? As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe. And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly. And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying. And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. And straightway the damsel arose, and walked. And they were astonished with a great astonishment
(Mark 5:35-36, 38-42).
I think it is very interesting that when Jairus received news of his daughter’s death, Jesus immediately said to him, “Be not afraid, only believe!” Why was Jesus so quick and definite about that? He knew Jairus’ wholehearted faith and his faith-filled words had put him in position to receive his daughter’s healing. He did not want Jairus to step out of position by allowing fear to get into his heart and choke his faith. Jesus did not want Jairus to diminish his capacity to receive by speaking words of doubt and fear.
Thankfully, Jairus did exactly what Jesus said. As a result, Jesus did exactly what Jairus had said. He went to his house, took the girl by the hand, and told her to rise. She came back to life healed just like Jairus said she would!
Jesus Changes His Plans
Some people seem to have the idea that faith offends God. Or maybe they have the idea that God doesn’t want to be bothered. Religious people especially seem to get upset at the idea that anyone would be bold enough to expect God to do exactly what they asked Him to do. But the fact is, faith does not offend God; it pleases Him. Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
God isn’t bothered by the boldness of the one who comes to Him in faith, because that boldness isn’t inspired by the person’s confidence in himself. It’s inspired by his confidence in God—in His goodness, His love and His power.
One of the best examples of such confidence can be found in Matthew 8, in the story of the Roman centurion:
When Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, and saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour
(verses 5-10, 13).
Isn’t that amazing? Not only did Jesus do what this man asked Him to do, He changed His plans in accordance with the man’s next request. Jesus intended to go to his house and heal the servant, but the centurion said, in essence, “No, I’d rather You not come to my house because I’m not worthy. Just speak the word and my servant will be healed.”
Once again, notice the centurion put himself in position to receive just as Jairus and the woman with the issue of blood had done. He heard and believed the word about Jesus. He spoke words of faith, saying, “My servant will be healed.” And he put action to his faith by coming to the Lord.
Making the Faith Connection
Our final example of good receiving is found in the healing of blind Bartimaeus. Mark 10:46-52 tells the story:
As [Jesus] went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.
One of my favorite things about Bartimaeus is that he refused to let the people around him discourage him. They did not have the faith in God’s goodness that he had. They had such limited understanding of God’s love that they thought Jesus would not be interested in a seemingly worthless, blind beggar. But Bartimaeus had heard about Jesus. No doubt he had heard of His mercy and kindness and His healing power. And he believed.
So when the people tried to shut him up, he cried out all the louder, “Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me!” Why did he cry so loudly? Because he was convinced in his heart that if Jesus heard him, He would answer. Jesus would deliver him. This was his chance of a lifetime.
Jesus heard him and when He did, He stood still and commanded that Bartimaeus be called. Aggressive faith gets Jesus’ attention.
What Bartimaeus did next was one of the most beautiful expressions of faith recorded in the New Testament. He threw off his cloak.
By that act, he was making a very clear statement. He was saying, “I’m not a blind man anymore. Jesus has heard me, and I’m as good as healed!”
Notice what Jesus asked Bartimaeus next. He said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” (verse 51, The Amplified Bible).
Bartimaeus said boldly, “Master, let me receive my sight” (verse 51).
Bartimaeus was in perfect position to receive. God was looking to and fro throughout the whole earth for someone to whom He could show Himself strong…and He found Bartimaeus full of faith, speaking and acting with great confidence in Jesus’ goodness and power. The connection was made and Jesus said, “Go your way; your faith has healed you” (verse 52, The Amplified Bible).
I want you to be impressed by Jesus’ goodness and how willing He was to express that goodness. Whatever those who came to Him for help said, He said. Jesus acted on their words! He, being just like the Father, was easy to receive from.
The woman with the issue of blood said, “If I only touch His garments, I shall be restored to health” (Mark 5:28, The Amplified Bible). The moment she touched it, she received her healing.
Whatever the centurion asked, Jesus was willing to do, so that his desire could be answered and the servant healed.
Jesus asked Bartimaeus, “What can I do for you?” Bartimaeus told Him what he wanted. Jesus said, “Your faith has made you whole.” What Bartimaeus said, Jesus did. He immediately received his sight and followed Jesus.
Look again at Acts 10:38: “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” Jesus was so good that He went about doing good and healing all who would receive.
When you’ve seen Jesus, you’ve seen the Father:
Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works (John 14:8-10).
The Bible says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). There is no changing in Him.
Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.” Jesus and the Father are still going about doing good and healing all who will receive. “The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works” (Psalm 145:9).
Jesus is saying the same thing to you today that He said to Bartimaeus. He is asking all who would look to Him in faith, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
Jesus is alive and well today and He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is just as anointed and compassionate today as He was when Bartimaeus sat by the roadside begging. The Resurrected Lord, the Messiah, is saying to you, “Receive your healing today! Receive your deliverance today!”