Sunday, October 7, 2018

A Foundation of Grace: Grace From the Touch of Jesus

When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him.  And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, "Lord, if you are willing, You can make me clean." Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, "I am willing; be cleansed." Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.  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."-Matthew 8:1-4

Everyday I pray and ask the Lord what I should write about.  And everyday I feel like He gives me something.  Today is Matthew 8.

In Matthew 8, we have a story about a leper. We can learn a lot about Jesus through this man's story. 

In verse 1, it says great multitudes followed Him.  And then a leper came and worshiped Him.  The leper probably wasn't a part of the multitudes that day, because under the law, lepers were isolated from the rest of society.  When they were out in public, they were required to shout, "Unclean!" as they passed by so that others would know they had leprosy.

The man didn't shout, "Unclean!" that day, even though he may have been hiding from everyone else.  He came to Jesus, much like the woman with the issue of blood.  He had enough faith in Jesus, but still didn't make his presence known to everyone else, just like she did.

And he calls Jesus "Lord."  I love that.  You only see people who believed in Jesus doing that.  

Still uncertain of whether or not Jesus wanted to heal him, even though He knew He could, he says, 

Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.  

How many of us had said that to God in prayer?  I believe His will is that He is always willing.  Nowhere, not one place during the earthly ministry of Jesus do you see Him tell someone "no" or "wait" or "you are not ready" or "your sin keeps you from receiving my healing."  Nowhere.  He just heals people all the time, everywhere.  Because that is who He is.  He is the healer.

And immediately he is cleansed.  Immediately is one of my favorite words.

In this passage, neither Jesus nor the leper use the word sickness or healing though.  They used the word "clean" and "cleansed."  Those are lawful terms relating to sin.  That word "cleanse" is the same word found in 1 John 1:9.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

There is so much controversy around that scripture.  I believe that this is a salvation scripture.  I believe this is the scripture that demonstrates what happens to a person when they are born again. This is how a person becomes a Believer. If you look at the rest of 1 John 1, there is lots of discussion about darkness and light, and being in Him.  If you are in Jesus, the blood continuously cleanses you.  You don't need a repeat like the Israelites did yearly. That would put the burden of salvation back on you, and it's on Jesus now.

Back to Matthew 8.  Under the law, if you touched a person with leprosy, among other things, you would be considered unclean.  But with Jesus came grace, as we learned in John 1:17.  Jesus was a fulfillment of the law for every man and woman. So, when Jesus touched the man, grace was delivering healing and wholeness back to him.  

Then Jesus said something strange that I have always wrestled with.  He tells the man to tell no one, but the priest.  At first I just thought Jesus meant nobody, but after reading it again today and seeing that He could tell the priest, it made a little more sense. The man gets to tell the priest as a testimony.  As a testimony about Jesus.  As a testimony about the grace of God.  And the priest will examine the man and see for sure if he is clean.

Today, Jesus is our high priest, and we don't have to bring an offering or gift.  Jesus has already done it for us.  Because later on in that passage of scripture in Matthew 8:16-17,  Matthew echoes what Isaiah the prophet said in Isaiah 53:4,

...And He cast out the spirits with a word and healed ALL who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying " He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses."

Everything that happened for those in the Gospels is what happened for the Church with Jesus' death on the cross.  His earthly ministry was a picture of what is available to us, grace, forgiveness, and healing.

To read more in the series, please join me here, at A Foundation of Grace.

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