We are the Leper!

Matthew 8:1-3

When Jesus came down from the mountain, large crowds followed Him. And a leper came up to Him and bowed down before Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You are able to make me clean (well).” Jesus reached out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

I would like to first explain what it meant to be a leper in the time of Jesus. As the Jewish people were taught from the book of Leviticus, they were instructed to keep away from people with the “leper plague.” If someone was stricken with leprosy, they would be brought to a priest and inspected. They were told to be cleaned and if the person still had leprosy, they were shunned from the community. Their belongings would be burned, this was to include their homes if they were deemed “unclean.” People did not want anything to do with a leper. These people were hurt physically, emotionally, and spiritually because of this disease. These lepers were socially rejected everywhere they went. Can you possibly imagine how this can make a person feel? From the moment they were stricken with leprosy until the day they died, they were treated so poorly.

Now, by understanding the background of a person with leprosy, I want to start this message. The leper came to Jesus and acknowledged His authority as Lord. He bowed before Jesus and having confidence through his faith in Jesus said, “If you are willing, You can make me clean.” That leper knew exactly who Jesus was and the authority that was given to Him by God. This is something that we should take to heart. It is one thing to have faith, and it is another this to have confidence because of how strong your faith is in Jesus. That leper understood his condition well, yet he still sought Jesus.

Then, Jesus healed the leper by touching him. Let us really think about that. Jesus did not just heal a person that was sick. He reached out to him and touched him. Jesus went against every social norm at that time concerning people with leprosy. The reason why I explained exactly what it meant to be a leper at the beginning of my message is that I wanted everyone to understand what it felt like to be a leper in that time. Can you imagine how that leper felt after Jesus touched and healed him? That man instantly went from not being able to touch “clean” people to be able to live among them. He would no longer be despised or treated poorly because of his illness. That man was made a new creation and I can guarantee you that he lived every single day after Jesus touched him as a new creation in Christ.

The point of this message is to remind each and every one of us that we were once that leper. However, somehow I believe that many of us tend to forget this simple fact. We used to be filled with the sickness of sin, and then one day we were healed by the touch of Jesus Christ in our lives. We recognized Jesus’ authority and we all sought Him out. We accepted Him as Lord over our lives and accepted His free gift of salvation, however, where is our follow through? I feel that the Spirit is grieving over so many of us because we have grown stagnant in our walk with Christ. We started our journey chasing down Christ like the leper did but how many of us are still living a life of defeat instead of living every single day in victory? Christ healed us and gave us His Spirit so we can have a changed life. So, I urge everyone today that the old us is dead. Our sins are gone and a thing of the past. Do not let them hold you down any further because of the chains we have placed upon ourselves. We are cleansed, renewed, and we are a new creation in Christ.

Now, I want to finish this message with a simple prayer. Lord, I pray that you provide each and every one of us with the same confidence that the leper had in this Scripture. I pray that each and every one of us can remember that you went against everything to save that one man, just as you came to do the same for us. I pray that we can live a life worthy of your sacrifice. I pray that all of our brothers and sisters can also live a life of victory. This is a promise that you have given us, and it is upon this promise that we have victory over ourselves, the world, and satan. Lord, thank you for healing lepers like us. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen!

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