Ponder and Pray

[ 0 ] July 24, 2009 |

Poignant statement: The one task of the church is to be like Jesus in compassion and proclamation. Both are critical to maintain the orthodoxy of our faith and command of the Lord.

 

Subject: The touch of Jesus

Scripture: Mathew 8:1-4

During my morning devotion I was reading the above mentioned familiar passage and suddenly God began to speak to me on various issues. As I try to go deeper into the passage I found out myriads of spiritual nuggets. I want to share with you some of my discovery. I know for some it will be ordinary but to some may be there are some new truths they can learn.
Jesus was most of the time surrounded by crowd. They consisted of his disciples and people with all sorts of ideas and aspiration. Suddenly a man filled with full of leprosy comes and places himself in front of the Lord Jesus. The leper could be someone with unkempt hair, dirty clothes and emaciated. Emotionally he must have been fearful, hesitant and full of trepidation. He was desperate and he took that one chance and came to the Lord seeking His help.

There must have cries of horror, anger, threat and total consternation. You can imagine a great commotion as this action was most obnoxious. Who knows some in the crowd had already started looking around for stones or anything to strike the leper as the Old Testament commanded. One scholar says “No disease, with which the human family has been afflicted, has been more dreadful than that which is often mentioned in the Bible as the leprosy”. A man with leprosy was as good as a dead man and totally alienated from the society and the only thing he deserved was to be killed by stoning and here he was seeking nothing but a violent death from the crowd.

He comes with courage. He must have thought a lot before putting himself in front of the Lord. He must have heard that Jesus was the only one who could heal him. He did not care for the crowd or the consequences. He was desperate and needed healing no matter what. He had nothing to lose and have perhaps the only chance of being healed. His courage teaches us that a sinner who knows he is sinful will do anything or go anywhere to be healed.

He comes with absolute humility. The Bible says” came and knelt before him” He entreated healing with humility. Today many people come to us and say they want to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ but many do not realize the desperation of sin in their lives and there is no humility. In fact I have seen some new believers as if they have been doing a great favor to the Lord Jesus by coming to Him. Some high castes converts in India go around with open display of pride that they are high caste converts and in fact they are introduced by church leaders as high caste converts as if they are sort of a trophy to be displayed. Many of us in the hope of having many believers do not emphasize on repentance and just make sure that believers believe in Jesus Christ. The result has been there are many ‘believers’ who strut around in our churches with their old way of life still intact. We are guilty of softening the Gospel which in the long run does no good to the people who believe or the church.

He comes with faith. He knows if Jesus wants he can be healed. It was not a simple healing from some headache or itching. He was asking the most impossible thing as far as human being was concern. The Jews had stories of distant and cloudy past of people getting healed but not in their lifetime. In his time a leper was a dead man with no hope of ever experiencing healing. They also believed that it was due to some sin he or his forefather had committed which has put him in this situation now. He cannot help and should not be helped as well.

 

Jesus’ response is equally astounding. He does three things

He has compassion. I could just imagine the eyes of Jesus when he looked at this poor man. I could almost see his eyes moist with tears and love. How many times we read the compassion of God and in the Gospel again and again we hear of Jesus filled with compassion. Today most preachers do not cry for the sinners and they have no compassion. Preaching has become profession and at times a very comfortable and profitable too. Those of us who are old preachers have become so used to seeing sinners that now we are sanitized and feel no pain. May be once again there needs to be pouring of tears in our pulpit and cry for those who are lost.
He touches the leper. He goes much further than mere compassion. He reaches out and just touches the man filled with leprosy. I can almost imagine the crowd gasping with consternation and alarm at this action of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was absurd and unheard! How can He even allow Him to approach Him and then go to the extent of touching? It is great to have compassion but it has to be divine love to touch someone who is full of leprosy. Was there any need and were not words of healing adequate? After all Jesus was doing him a favor which he did not deserve. I am always impressed when people show compassion and help the needy. But there are few people who touch the needy and desperate but that is what the church is called to do. All can have compassion but it is the church which has been going down in the gutter and embracing the needy and taking them out of gutter.

He declares healing “ Be clean” We will never know what the tone of his voice was when he spoke but I would not be surprised if Jesus was not weeping silently when he said those words. It was a command with tears in His eyes. The man was miraculously and instantly healed in daylight in the presence of all the people. It must have been the most astounding thing the people had ever seen in their entire life. Can you imagine the devastation of leprosy leaving the man right in front of the eyes of the people? This is what Jesus does to all the people. Every one who genuinely repents and believes and comes to Jesus is miraculously and instantly healed. He is a new creation with new life and hope.

After healing was the restoration in society. “…Go and show the priest” A person who is healed need to be seen as healed by the society. This is just a wonderful but needed truth. The ex-leper can follow the Lord but he needs to be right in the midst of society to tell people what God has done for him.

He also warns not to tell anyone. I can never see the point of this as all had seen him healed publicly. Was this not the perfect time to prove beyond a shadow of doubt that Jesus is indeed the Promised and Coming Messiah and now people should believe in Him? I am able to some extent understand the command of Jesus after reading the book ‘Disappointed with God’ by Philip Yancey. He contends that if miracles could convince people then the Israelites would never rebel against God. God displayed an array of miracles to these people yet they were the most rebellious people. Jesus wanted people to believe Him as Messiah not because of the miracles but because of His claim to be the One.

The Gospel writers wrote this and many such stories to not only display the love of God for the fallen humanity but also to urge his disciples to follow the example. May we see many believers among us who are deeply convicted of sin and may we display the demonstrative love of Jesus in totality.

Poignant statement: The one task of the church is to be like Jesus in compassion and proclamation. Both are critical to maintain the orthodoxy of our faith and command of the Lord.


Prayer: Dear Lord, My prayer for the Nepali churches all over the world is that you continue to bring sinners on their knees, who recognizes that they are sinners and only you can heal. Then I pray that you would and we know you will, continue to touch the lives of the people. Then they would go out in the world and proclaim ‘what the good Lord has done for me’. Amen

Republished in new layout on 8/6/2013

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Ponder and Pray
written by Yoel , August 07, 2009

Yes ! Often churches emphasize on Believing in Jesus, while whole repentance thing is forgotten which is necessary to welcome Christ in our Heart.

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Category: Devotion