In Matthew 9, there are three stories where Jesus commends someone for their faith. In the first story, Jesus sees some men carrying their paralytic friend towards him. They are bringing their friend so Jesus can heal him. Jesus commends these men for their faith. How does he know that they have great faith? Did he look into their hearts? He certainly is capable of doing that. But I think that Jesus witnesses the men’s faith by the very act of their bringing their friend to be healed. If they didn’t have faith they would have stayed at home. Their actions showed their belief in who they thought Jesus was.
In the second story, a woman who had been suffering with chronic bleeding comes to see Jesus. She reaches out to touch Jesus to see if that would heal her. Jesus stops. He turns around. He sees the faith of the woman and says, “Your faith has made you well.” How did her faith make her well? Was it magic? No. I think that her faith drove her to make the trip to see Jesus and to grab onto his robe for healing. There were no healing powers in Jesus robe. The healing did not come from her faith either. It still came from Jesus. He healed her because he had compassion on her when he saw her condition. When he saw that she had the boldness to grab onto his robes, he knew that she believed in him. She believed that he could heal her. So he did.
In the third story, Jesus healed the two blind men. Healing blind people is not unusual for Jesus, but was in unusual in this story is what the blind men are doing. They are following Jesus. I mean, they are actually attempting to walk where he is walking. Did I mention they were blind! It can’t be easy to follow anyone when you’re blind. Jesus actually asks these blind men if they believe that he can heal them. They say, “Yes Lord, we do.” Jesus says that their faith has healed them. They showed not only by what they said but in their efforts to actually follow Jesus, that they have true faith.
These three stories in Matthew 9 highlight the fact that true faith in Jesus is seen in our behavior, not just in what we say we believe.