Summary: an encouraging sermon Illustrating the fact that Jesus has compassion on all of us regardless of our past.

Text : Matthew 8:1-17

Introduction :

- have you ever been in a situation where you felt like you were worthless ?

- story of getting picked in sport

- being picked on in school

All of us at some stage have felt like we are not good enough, today we are going to learn about 3 people who were rejected by society. They found hope and an answer, I know their stories will be an encouragement to us today.

Read : Matthew 8:1-2

State: a leper desires to be healed by Jesus

Explain: - this man had a skin disease that got progressively worse until death

- this man would have been ostracised and forced to live in a separate part of town

- he would have had low self esteem from walking through the streets shouting “UNCLEAN”

- would have been considered cursed by the people and questions would arise over what sin he had committed to bring this disease upon himself

Illustrate: likened to the aids virus today

Apply: at a deeper level leprosy in the Bible speaks of sin, it has the same attributes

- both cause death (physical and spiritual)

- both cause separation of relationship (with people and with God)

- at one stage in our lives we were all lepers, we were all separated from God and due to die a spiritual death

but look what happens next

Read: 8:3

State: Jesus was willing to reach out and touch the leper

Explain: the people would have been amazed at the willingness of Jesus to not only talk with but to TOUCH someone who was unclean

Illustrate: When Princess Diana was nursing AIDS babies it made front page news around the world

Apply: Just like Jesus, God saw the need of human kind and reached out and touched us by sending His son Jesus to earth. We have all been the receiver of the compassion of God.

Read: 8:4

State: Jesus wanted to bring the man back into relationship

Explain: by going to the priest this man would follow the law of the day which required a man to show himself to the priest so that the priest could grant him permission to rejoin society.

- the gift Moses commanded was most likely an offering at the temple

Apply: Jesus requires us to be in relationship with God. He opened the way for us through his death and resurrection

Read: 8:5-8

State: Jesus is willing to help a Gentile man

Explain: This soldier would have been despised by the people as he was associated with the Romans who oppressed the people

- Jews were not permitted to enter Gentiles houses but Jesus was willing to go

Apply: we need to be willing to have compassion and put ourselves out in order to minister to others

What Jesus says next would have amazed the Jewish readers

Read: 8:10-12

Question: can you imagine how the people would have reacted?

Explain: the people considered themselves the chosen people and now Jesus is explaining that some of them will not enter heaven and some gentiles will

Illustrate: like me walking into this church and saying you will not get to heaven but those people doing their own thing at home will!

State: How we respond in faith to Jesus determines whether we get to heaven

Read: 8:14-15

Question: have you ever been to a friend’s house and you are so tired all you want to do is sit down and relax? I’m sure Jesus probably felt like this.

State: Jesus has compassion on Peters mother in law and heals her

Explain: the healing must have been complete as she gets up to serve him

- displays a grateful attitude

Illustrate: when someone goes out of their way to help you and you don’t say thankyou or appreciate them they will be hesitant to do it again

Apply: we need to ensure we maintain a grateful attitude when Jesus helps us

- Romans 12:1 in view of gods mercy we should offer ourselves as living sacrifices, this means we should be serving Jesus

- We need to be careful that we don’t just expect blessing after blessing, it is a 2 way street (God helps us and we serve Him)

If we look at these 3 stories what can we learn about Jesus?

- Jesus has compassion to help a leper. Gentile and a woman, these were the marginalised in society who had a need

- Despite their situations Jesus desired to help them

- Don’t let anyone say that “God could never help me because of who I am or what I have done” Jesus has already displayed that he desires to help us

To receive help from Jesus we must learn these things

1) from the leper humility (verse 2 “on his knees”)

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