MATTHEW 8:1-3 – When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
THEME OF THE DAY. DESPERATE PEOPLE AND JESUS. Imagine us being in the scene of today’s scripture account. We are one of the many faces in the great crowd following Jesus. It would have been loud, perhaps some pushing to get to the front where Jesus was walking. And out of nowhere a leper fights his way through. Maybe we saw him. If so, like the rest, we would have avoided him like the plague because, well, he had the plague. As he fights his way to Jesus, an opening in the crowd occurs. There is space, and the man falls before Jesus. Perhaps a moment of silence gripped the crowd as Jesus and the leper meet eye-to-eye. In the locking of eyes, the leper cries out, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” In this account, there are three lessons for us to learn and apply for spiritually, speaking, we are like the leper; suffering from an incurable disease called sin.
First, only truly desperate people come to Jesus and receive attention from Jesus. The leper was in trouble and knew it. His disease was beyond human help, even from himself. The only glimmer of hope was in a Man named “Jesus” who had a growing reputation of curing the incurable. So, beside the obstacles of a big crowd and social stigma, he pushed toward Jesus. And this is illustrative of us in our sinful condition. We are desperate. We are powerless, but we have hope in the Savior, Jesus. Run to Him we must in our incurable condition. If not, we remain diseased by sin, now and forever.
Next, desperate people seeking the Lord Jesus will be attacked with the fiery darts of doubt. The leper did not for a second question Jesus’ power to heal Him, but he struggled big time with Jesus’ willingness to heal him – And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And who of us have not battled in this area? We never questioned Jesus’ ability, but when we see our sin and failings, we are tempted to doubt Jesus’ love, and thus His willingness to help us. This is of the devil; to drag us away from trusting both Jesus’ heart and hand when it comes to Him helping us. And that leads to the third lesson from the leper.
Jesus is not only able to help desperate people who come to Him, but His heart of compassion does so willingly. Ponder the heart of our Lord in His reply and action toward the leper – And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. Friends, we don’t need to fear rejection when we come to Jesus. We are running into the open arms of a willing Savior, not the folded arms of reluctant God. We may confidently approach our Lord with every hurt, every burden, and yes, even sin, and we will be met with His willing heart of grace, mercy, and forgiveness, and like the leper, without delay and without reluctance. Don’t delay another moment by the sin of unbelief in making our way to Christ. He is an able and willing Lord.
PRAYER: “Lord, help me to fight the darts of doubt that tempt to question Your willingness to help me.”
QUOTE: “God’s ability to help us is not without His willingness to help us. They are inseparable in His heart.”