Summary: Jesus of Nazareth, the promised Messiah comes as promised, and he comes healing. Physical healing is an important part of Messiah’s work in rolling back the curse of the fall.
The Promised Healer
Text: Matthew 8:1-17
You all know I like to check out sermoncentral.com as I prepare my sermons. Sometimes it is more revealing for what is not there than what is there. This week for instance I was fascinated to read through sermon after sermon on this passage that dealt with anything but healing, They dealt with Jesus reaching out to the outcast, about him cleansing us of our sins, about our need to reach out to others, a few mentioned healing as a side note (O yes, and Jesus can heal bodies too). Now these are not inappropriate applications of the text but they certainly are not the central message either.
Now I’ll confess that it would have been easy for me as a Pentecostal preaching in a general Protestant service to take that route too, lest I become too controversial, or lest anyone misunderstand what I’m trying to do. But I’m not doing that for two reasons--
#1 I read the passage again and trust me on this, it’s about healing (yes, there are other appropriate applications, but healing is front and center). So if you’re wondering what I’m trying to do, the answer is just to be faithful to the Word of God.
#2 I think God placed this providentially on my preaching Schedule, a schedule I put together months before I got sick myself, But God knew right where I would be at this Sunday, And if he knew where I would be, He knew where you would be too.
So here is what I see as the central Thesis of the Passage
Proposition: Jesus of Nazareth, the promised Messiah came as promised by the prophets and He came healing.
Transition: What I’d like to look at specifically is how He did that, or maybe more precisely according to what set of rules or Guidelines, and there are four things I’d like to note in particular. The first is that Jesus heals according to His own...
vv. 2-3 A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" Immediately he was cured of his leprosy.
What does the leper understand here that’s also important for us to understand? That Jesus acts on his own prerogative. The choice to heal is his, "If you are willing you can make me clean."
There are some who say that health and healing are the prerogative of the believer, that we can insist that God provide us with these benefits because they are our due.
The problem is I never see that attitude displayed among those who come to Jesus for healing, they come asking, hoping, praying, believing, sometimes even begging but never demanding.
I think this man with Leprosy displays the perfect attitude in coming to Jesus--Lord I know you’re able to do this--will you?
God’s purposes are beyond me, I don’t understand how all that troubles me works into his plan--but that never means I doubt his power, or his love for me. Yet I understand the prerogative to heal is his alone. But note with me also Jesus’ response, he says basically "You’re right, it is my choice--I choose to heal you."