Summary: The fourth in a five part series on miracles, focusing in on spiritual deliverance, physical healing, and relational restoration. This sermon utilizes a series of in-character monologues to testify to God’s healing power.
(This sermon opens with four in-character monologues. I did NOT use full costume. Just some simple prop to draw the listener’s eye to the character (i.e. a sword for the centurian). This sermon was extremely well received, and had a higher than usual attention level!)
Have you ever noticed something on your skin that just didn’t seem quite right? Something that seemed a bit out of place? I wasn’t quite sure at first, what with all the freckles and stuff. Thought it might just be some strange acne, or a rash of some sort. Wouldn’t have been all that unusual. Hygiene in my day wasn’t quite the deal that it is for you today.
Problem was, it started spreading pretty quickly. And in our society, there was no tolerance once word got out that a white spot had been discovered on your skin. So it began. My life as a leper. I was isolated from my family and friends. Cast out of the city to live in this village with other lepers. Like how am I ever going to get well in that environment? Surrounded by the very thing I’m trying to get free from.
If I went to town, I had to call out, “Leper! Leper! Leper!” Always thought that was pretty lame too. Everyone knew who the lepers were. Word got around. It was really just one more act of humiliation to go with the rest of the package.
Sounds pretty dismal, wouldn’t you say? Most of my leper friends thought so. In fact, most of them had pretty much thrown in the towel. Given up. It was just a matter of time until fingers, toes, ears started falling off, and their complete demise was eminent. No reason to even believe that life will ever get any better. A rapid, downhill slide to death.
But not me. I’ve always been the eternal optimist. So when I heard that there was a man moving through the countryside. A man with supernatural powers. A man who some were even saying might be the very son of God. I kept my hope alive. It would take a great strategy, but if I played my cards right, I just might be able to get close enough to Him. And He might just make this whole skin problem disappear.
So one day I hear that he is giving a sermon. Sitting up on the side of some mountain, preaching away. You know how that works. People tend to look at the preacher during the sermons. I mean, someone could walk right into the back of this place right now, and none of you would even notice. And that was my plan.
As he preached, I moved in. And when he finished, I knew my opportunity was upon me. He started heading down the mountain, and this great mass of people turned as he went by, fell in line with him, and began moving with him. Right towards me. I knew it was now or never.
I broke through the crowd, ran right toward him, and began worshipping him. Some of the people around him must have thought I was crazy. But what else could I do. This was the son of God standing right in front of me. Can you think of anything more logical to do than worship him? Can you? I couldn’t. So I worshiped him. And as I worshiped him, my faith welled up within me, and I looked at him, and just like Matthew tells you in his little record of what happened that day, I said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”
I knew it was that simple. I knew that if he wanted me to be clean, it was a done deal. And check out what he did. He reached out his hand, and touched me. Probably no big deal to you. You get touched all the time. I used to watch boys and girls touch each other, and scream, “Cuddies”, and I would think. . .”Cuddies? Man, what I wouldn’t give for someone to be willing to shake my hand, give me a high five. Gently of course, I was still a leper. Or put their arm around me.”
And Jesus did. He touched me. And then he said, “I am willing, be cleansed.” And it was gone. Not some slow retraction. Not some three week diminishing of the junk. I mean, it was gone.
I learned an important lesson that day. Want to see a miracle in your life? Want to see God do something that will blow your mind? Take your focus off yourself, and put it on him. For me, the mindset for a miracle is a mindset that worships with anticipation.
So hears the deal. I live in a town called Capernaum. I am a Centurion. Pretty cool job. I’ve got plenty of authority. Plenty of soldiers that have to do what I say, and mind my words. Could be worse gigs. I’m paid pretty well. We definitely aren’t in the poor house. Nice chariot. It’s a sweet ride. Alloy rims, those wheel covers that spin even when you stop.