Matthew 9:21, She said to herself, “If only I touch His garment, I will be made well.”
Her faith did not doubt Christ and His power, nor His willingness to lend aid. I once read a poorly written book on prayer—Jerry Savelle’s Prayer of Petition—that postulated we ought to approach God the Judge as in a courtroom, using “petition” as a law term to make our case before God whilst laying out Scripture as evidence to the innocence and just “yes” of our plea. First, the word often translated as “supplication” or “petition” in the Greek from Philippians 4:6 is δέησις (déēsis)—a “plea,” or “urgent request.” (“Supplication” and “petition” are adequate translations, but their meanings are often misconstrued with our modern understanding of the terms versus what Paul originally intended as the author. Jerry Savelle is an example of such misconstruing.) Second, this woman did not approach a judge; she approached the Redeemer, our only Mediator between us and God (1 Timothy 2:5). Her faith was so reliant on Christ—her plea of good health so urgent—that she knew if only she could touch the Redeemer’s cloak, she would be healed, and indeed she was. If she, and we, approached God the Judge in prayer, He would sentence us to Hell every time! But we approach the God-man Jesus Christ, our gracious Redeemer.
God does not deal with us and our prayers—urgent or not—as Judge, for Christ is our Mediator, or Reconciler (μεσίτης, mesítēs). We do not approach a God who, as Judge, will answer our requests based on our pile of substantial or insubstantial evidence. Rather, we approach Him in Christ, who hears our groaning before they’re even muttered and answers with an affirmation or negation based on the Father’s will. His will is known to Him alone; we cannot manipulate His will with our fallen, human reasoning. For in prayer we do not enter a courtroom, but rather Christ meets us wherever we are. And wherever we are, we make our plea known and cling to His grace as we trust in God’s will. The only evidence we can lay out before God is evidence of our guilt and evidence for our just condemnation. But He takes our guilt, declares us innocent for the sake of Christ’s broken body and shed blood on the cross, and Jesus invites us to His table to partake of His body and blood to forgive our sins, standing justified by our faith that clings to Him alone. Faith that heals is one that trusts in the will of God the Father.