Matthew 8:1-4 New King James Version (NKJV)
Jesus Cleanses a Leper
1 When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him.
2 And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”
3 Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
4 And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
As the hymn says, maybe Jesus has touched you, also.
--In the Bible, and our day, Jesus has touched many.
--We need His touch. It means much. To touch us all.
--To convict. Convert. Cleanse. Comfort. To heal.
Ours is a wonderful world, but not all is right in it.
--Since 9/11/01 especially, many broken hearts, bodies and dreams - that His touch can change and cheer.
--People concerned with economy, jobs, and the future.
--Some families and marriages, not running smoothly.
--So much division, conflict, and evil over the world.
--Maybe one's health is not what we'd like it to be.
--Who is it who doesn't need God's touch .. and others.
--Who better to turn to than the Lord Jesus Himself?
That's what this leper did! Came to Jesus, praying!
--Listen, "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean." So, "Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, 'I am willing; be cleansed." He was healed!
--The man calls Jesus Lord. Left results up to Jesus.
--It is one of six healings of Jesus in Matthew 8.
Like sin, leprosy is a dreadful disease. Eats us up.
--We've seen some leprosy; compares to AIDS, of today.
--There was no common cure. Jesus was his last hope.
--Jesus had compassion. Has power, to help, to save.
Let Jesus touch us, make us Easter people in our Good Friday world, many of us are facing.
I heard of some birds, complaining of heavy burdens.
--Questioned why? Faulted their Maker - and others.
--So God told them, "Just be patient. Trust Me."
--Soon, their burdens became wings, by which to fly!
--Who knows, our burdens can lift and bring us to God!
Take this poor leper, getting worse. Family notices.
--All the care, does not seem to bring him healing.
--He sees a doctor. Is told, "You have leprosy."
--"You cannot go back home!" What a disappointment.
--It would spread. Very contagious. Must live apart.
--The illness of one, can affect so many others.
--He could not embrace his dear wife. Or children.
--If any came near, he must cry out, "Unclean."
--Must, at a distance, watch his children grow up.
--No holiday joys at home. All food brought to him.
--No more employment. Or church. Only with lepers.
--His family could not touch him. Nor he touch them.
But Jesus touched him! God cares for us just as much.
Of the "great multitudes" who hurt, this man had faith.
--One of the most pitiable. Also one most admired.
--Why? His courage to believe! To seek out Jesus!
Note, the man "came to Jesus." He sought God's help.
--He came to the right Person. Right God. No idols.
--To get God's divine help. God made us. Can mend us.
--He came in the right attitude - "he worshiped Him."
--This man was humble. Did not insist on his own way.
--He left it up to God! "Lord, if You will ..."
--He had the right faith! "You can make me clean."
--In effect says, "I know You can do it, if best."
He knew no one else could heal him - but Jesus could.
My friend, sometime God brings us from the mountain top, to depths of difficulty, teaching us to trust Him totally .. come what may. That's how we grow in God.
--This leper had been there. As low as one could go.
--Now, needed God's heavenly touch on his life.
So "Jesus .. touched him .. his leprosy was cleansed."
--No one else would. Or could touch him. Jesus did.
--No one else could heal him. But Jesus did!
Now look .. with no appeal to a higher power, for Jesus is God, Jesus healed him with a touch of His hand.
--That touch, of that hand, still works in our lives!
--Either to heal, here or hereafter. To give us grace.
--To trust God to make "all things work for good."
--The leper let the Lord decide! So should we.
--Do our best, leave the rest, to Him Who loves us most.
Jesus' touch means so much. The man cleansed, well.
--This must have made a believer out of him.
--Now able to return home. Back to worship and work.
--What a testimony to give. To show to the priests.
--To the whole world! Like saved folks should do.
You say, "I don't have leprosy or disease. I'm young, and healthy and successful. I don't need Jesus, and the church. I'm doing just fine on my own."
--You hear that. But friend, you do have sin!
--We "all have sinned and come short of God's glory."
--We all go astray. "Turned to our own way," not God's.
--Maybe it is pride. Our speech. Lust. Whatever.
--God says, "What we sow, we shall reap," (Gal. 6:7).
--There will be a pay day, some day. Jesus paid mine.
--Everyone needs a Savior. Jesus alone qualifies!
--Sinless, sacrificed Himself on a cross, for us all!
--No other has ever done what Jesus did .. and arose!
--Promises forgiveness and eternal life in believing.
--Jesus touched me. Changed me. He can bless you!
I heard Bishop Fulton Sheen tell of visiting a colony, of lepers, and in the spirit of Jesus, touched one.
--The leper had reached his hand for some literature.
--He said, "I touched him because I cared. The leper was not healed (as Jesus did). But I felt he was encouraged and comforted. It was for Jesus I did it."
It is the touch of Jesus that blesses, for He is God.
--By your touch and mine, in His name, we help others.
--Anyone can befriend one attractive, well-dressed, or young and healthy .. all perfumed up.
--It takes Christ in us to touch the unlovely, unloved, and unlike us - needing help, clean them up, in Him.
--Jesus reached for these. So should His followers.
As a boy, ill, Mother heated a chest poultice for me.
--It caught fire. Severely burned her; left a scar.
--A large scar on top of her hand, was beautiful to me.
--She got it for me! Like Jesus' scarred hands.
Jesus touched Peter's wife's Mother, Matthew 8:14-15.
--"The fever left her. She arose and served them."
--Jesus healed many, to prove He is God Who is able.
--All to prove that He is able to give eternal life!
Think of Jesus' hands. He touched so many for good.
--His open hand, inviting, "Come unto Me .. and rest."
--His care-worn hands, beckoning, "This is the way, walk in it." For He is "the way, truth and life..."
--His outstretched hands, pierced by spikes, that Good Friday on a cross; as "the Lamb of God" for us.
--His up-lifted hand in blessing, ascending back to heaven, in the clouds .. before their very eyes.
Jesus touched blind eyes that had never seen (John 9:6).
--Many saw His miracle of sight. And saw their Savior.
--He touched and healed many people. In many ways.
--You and I can't do that. But Jesus did .. and does.
--You say, "He's not healed me." (Nor me - fully yet.)
--Understand physical healing was not Jesus' chief end.
--Jesus came to save our soul, most of all.
--Any healing is a bonus. But is temporary, at best.
--All He healed got ill again, and in time, died.
--Salvation of our soul is permanent and everlasting.
Medical doctor and preacher M. R. DeHaan knew suffering.
--He says, from God's Word, it is through seasons when we go through trials that God equips us spiritually. Blessed are those Jesus touches with His saving grace.
--They grow in the Spirit. In trusting God at all times.
--Take St. Paul; he often healed. But he not healed.
--He had a "thorn in the flesh," despite much prayer.
--Paul was told by God, "My grace is sufficient for you."
--And it is. What a powerhouse of faith Paul was!
A boy was given a world globe for a special present.
--He studied it. Admired it. Was so proud of it.
--Sleeping, his dad came to borrow it, and he awoke and said, "Daddy, what are you doing with my world?"
--The boy is right .. What are we doing with the world?
As Easter people in a Good Friday world, are we touching others with the love of God, and grace of Jesus?
--Are we making our world a better place?
--Jesus said, "Let your light so shine before men."
--Not our light, but His. The beauty of Jesus.
Let the Lord touch you .. save Make sure today.
--Touch others, for Him.
Wilbert D. Gough, ThD., DD. 782