From: Su Min
(teknion, "tek-nee-on" Strong's concordance #5040 [diminutive of teknon, child] darlings, little children, Christian converts)
Today we read Matt 8: 1-4. Jesus has just completed his Sermon on the Mount. The large crowds that had gathered from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and the regions across Jordan followed him (Matt 4:25, Matt 8:1). Even as we study the scriptures and read the text, so we too, the motley band across cyberspace follow him, from Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, UK, Canada, USA.
Jesus continues His healing ministry across Galilee: some 10 miracles are highlighted from Matt 8-1 Matt 9:38, though many others were performed.
- Man with leprosy 8:1-4
- Centurion's servant 8:5-13
- Peter's mother-in-law 8:14-15
- Many demon possessed 8:16-17
- Calms the storm 8:23-27
- Gadarenes demon possessed 8:28-34
- Paralytic 9:1-7
- Ruler's daughter 9:18-19, 23-26
- Bleeding woman 9:20-22
- Blind & dumb 9:27-34
Today we will focus on the Lord's encounter with the man with leprosy, and see what the Holy Scriptures has to teach us (Matt 8:1-4). The setting is during the peripatetic Galilean ministry of Jesus. He has just completed the Sermon on the Mount and has come down from the mountainside, accompanied by large crowds (Matt 8:1). Many have heard of his miracles and come along for a good show, just to awe and gape at the spectacular. Some have heard of what he has taught and want to learn more. Some are his disciples who are preparing to go out and help him with the ministry. Which group do you align yourself with, my dearest? What draws you alongside with Jesus?
A man with "leprosy" came and knelt before him and said, "Lord, if you are willing, make me clean".
The man had some generalised scaly skin condition: most Bible scholars are in agreement that this was not leprosy as caused by mycobacterium leprae, but some undetermined skin disorder characterised by scaly skin. Perhaps "leprosy" as identified in the Bible represents a bundle of different diseases. Nonetheless, it was associated with ritual uncleanliness. This man recognised that he had a skin condition, and he recognised that the skin impurity was linked with his spiritual impurity.
This man came to Jesus, knowing himself to be impure, and knelt before him, begging him on his knees, (Mark 1:40) he prostrated himself and fell with his face to the ground begging Jesus for cleansing (Luke 5:12).
This leper had the requisites of a repentant sinner.
- Recognised his own imperfection and sinfulness
- Came to Jesus, knowing that Jesus had the power to heal
- Knelt, bowed down, prostrated himself in worship
- Acknowledged Jesus as Lord
- Sought God's will even in supplication for his own cleansing and healing.
Immediately he was cured of his leprosy (Matt 8:3).
- Jesus was willing. He showed his love by reaching out to touch this spiritually unclean person. This was a contact that no self righteous Pharisee would make. But Jesus was different. He showed overwhelming compassion.
- Jesus forgave him of his sins even while he was repenting
- Jesus met him at his very point of need.
- Jesus accepted the worship.
- Jesus accepted the Lordship of his life.
- Jesus accepted the submission of the lepers will to God's will, and let his Perfect Will include the cleansing of the leper, making whole his skin, and making whole his soul.
Jesus did not want any further publicity. He told the healed man, "See that you do not tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them".
Yet the news of Jesus healing spread all the more (Luke 5:15). Matthew is silent on the role of the cured leper in this. Mark records that the healed leper went about talking freely, spreading the news. Jesus was compelled to avoid the adverse undue publicity. Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Even so the people still came to him from everywhere (Mark 1:45). To find time and place to commune with God, Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed (Luke 5:16).
Let us close in prayer.
Almighty God, thank you for our lesson today.
Even as we seek healing, help us recognise our own imperfections and sinfulness
As we come to Jesus give us the faith to believe he has the power to heal us. As we approach Jesus, help us come with the right attitude, a humble and contrite spirit, prostrating ourselves in worship
Help us acknowledge Jesus as Lord
Help us seek your will in everything we do, even in supplication for our own cleansing and healing.
In the name of Jesus, Great Physician, Saviour of our Souls, Lord and Master of our lives. Amen.
For any comments or enquiries please write to Dr. Lim Su Min
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