TO THE LEPER, THE CENTURION & THE RICH MAN
Matthew 8 & 9
Jesus has been teaching us verbally. Now He teaches us by action. He touches people, illustrating how the reality of His kingdom and principles look when interpreted into action and relationships with the natural realities in people’s lives. The first stage was the classroom. Now He goes into the field, the lab, to illustrate how it looks when this Love from the Father actually flows through a willing vessel.
The sequence of people He touches starts with the total outcast from society, then the strong self-sufficient and powerful man’s-man. The list includes the current religious leaders both legislative and spiritual leaders, such as they were. The helpless, the hopeless, the abused, the opportunist and the actors are all addressed by Him personally. Then there’s the would-be followers, the sincere seekers and His true followers. He even seems to turn to the “class” and use the example of the centurion’s faith to give another little nugget of truth. That seems to be a pretty complete sampling of the human varieties. Which one are you? Oh, He also spoke to demons. Hmm!
To the outcast, the leper – “I am willing; be cleansed. See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded.”
To the man’s-man, the centurion – “I will come and heal him.”
To the “class”, the people – “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! And I say to you that many will come from east and west, sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
To the centurion – “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.”
To the religious would-be followers, the scribe – “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
To His disciples – “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?”
To demons – “Go.”
To the helpless paralytic – “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.”
To the law-givers, the scribes – “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins…”
To the helpless paralytic – “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”
To the opportunist, the shark, Matthew – “Follow me.”
To the religious Pharisees – “Those who are well have not need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
To committed seekers, John’s disciples – “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is mad worse. Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
To the abused woman – “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.”
To the actors, the mourners – “Make room, for the girl is not dead, but sleeping.”
To the hopeless blind man – “Do you believe that I am able to do this? According to your faith let it be to you. See that no one knows it.”
To His disciples – “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send more laborers into His harvest.”
Jesus is willing. We don’t have to talk Him into saving us or healing us or restoring us. He is willing to come to us where we are and take care of what needs to be done. Jesus was here for a specific purpose: to show us how our Father feels toward us. “God so loved the world that He…” He is willing. In fact He’s the one actually seeking us. And there’s more good news: If you have turned to Him and let Him move into your heart, He has begun a good work in you and He is going to finish it.
Now that’s the best news you will hear all day!
He said it, I believe it and THAT’S THAT!