A Daughter and a Woman
Pastor John Sloan
Introduction: “Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’” This was Jesus’ response to the Bible scholars of his day, when he was interrupted over dinner. Go study. Go think. Go meditate on God’s mercy, because it’s not easily grasped. These are instructions that apply to all of us. God’s favor is not lavished upon the “deserving” but poured out on the undeserving, a truth that Jesus will illustrate through two miraculous (and compassionate) healings.
Questions for Discussion & Discovery
1. Sometimes Jesus responds immediately to a crisis (verse 19), but in other scenarios he delays (see John 11:5-6). Why can we trust Jesus’ timing in our own lives?
2. A ruler’s daughter is dead and yet he still believes that Jesus can help her. What does this say about the ruler’s faith?
3. An “unclean” woman was banned from being in a crowd and certainly forbidden from touching a rabbi, but she nevertheless persists. What does this say about her faith?
4. In what ways do we see the flaws of the faith of both of the above individuals? Does this preclude Jesus from acting? Why or why not?
5. What would you say is the opposite of faith?
6. What events or circumstances challenge your faith? What practices strengthen your faith?
1. We “owe” God everything in the sense that everything we have is from him.
2. We “owe” God obedience in the sense that he is our Lord and Redeemer, we belong to him, and he determines what’s right and wrong.
3. We “owe” God our worship in the sense that it is the only fitting response for an encounter with a Being so perfect and merciful.
4. “No longer paralyzed by anxiety in a debt economy we are free to live imperfectly yet joyfully in the eucharistic economy, between Christ’s finished work and our final glorification. We are no longer debtors to God in any respect — not even to his grace, but are grateful heirs. Jesus Christ alone offered a sufficient sacrifice for sin, and this brings to an end any notion of debt in our relation to God. For this first time, we can render obedience that comes from the heart of sons rather than slaves.” – Michael Horton
5. “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” – Colossians 2:13-14
6. Read Matthew 9:18-26
7. >> Jesus delights in responding to an imperfect (yet desperate) faith.