Summary: A look at the story when Jesus healed the leper. This sermon will help your congregation realize that to reach out to the lost, we have to be willing to touch people that society classifies as "Untouchable."
Sunday, February 19th 2006
He Touched Me
Good morning etc…
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to know Jesus? I don’t mean in the way that we do as Christians, but I mean as a person, what would it be like to just spend time and hang out with Jesus. I wonder what kinds of things he did for fun? I wonder if he had any hobbies? I wonder what his childhood friends were like? I wonder if Jesus ever had a burping contest with the disciples?
One thing that has always interested me is who Jesus hung out with. The people that he chose to surround himself with are kind of interesting. Prostitutes, tax collectors, diseased people, sinners and saints, everyone! It seems that Jesus often knew and spent time with all different types of people. There was one such person that Jesus talked with and I want us to spend our time this morning focusing on that story. If you have your Bibles, you may want to turn and hold your place at Matthew chapter 8. We will be taking our text from that chapter this morning.
In the previous chapters, Jesus had been preaching to a very large crowd, and he has just finished delivering one of the most famous sermons ever preached, the Sermon on the Mount. And the people were absolutely captivated by his message and they were hanging on his every word. In fact, they were so spell-bound by his message that they began following Jesus, just to see where he would go and what he would do.
And this is where we will pick up the story in Matthew 8:1 READ VERSES 1&2.
What I want you to notice about this passage so far is that there is a problem. A problem has been presented to Jesus.
Jesus came upon a leper. In those days, if you had leprosy, you didn’t necessarily have what we consider to be leprosy today. Leprosy was any kind of skin disease, it could be eczema or psoriasis or any discoloration of the skin. People with leprosy were outcasts of society. They couldn’t live in town, or even come into town, and no one would even come near them. In fact, they even had leper colonies, where all the lepers would live so they could be excluded from normal society. They were completely shunned by everyone and couldn’t live a normal life at all.
This man, had a serious case of leprosy. His disease was extremely contagious and would cause red dots and bumps to form all over his body. Eventually his flesh would begin to rot and literally fall off in thin flaky white scales. The disease would show on the outside of the body, but the real pain was on the inside. You see this form of leprosy would take root in the bones and marrow, causing the person indescribable misery and pain for years.
With such a contagious disease, it was no wonder that people wanted nothing to do with lepers, they didn’t want to run the risk of catching this horrible, painful disease that not only hurt you physically, but emotionally too since they were so rejected and cast out from society. This man and others with this disease were considered “Untouchable.” No one would go near them, no one would have anything to do with them, not their friends, family or anyone. They were complete and total outcasts.
This man has a problem! He comes to Jesus, knowing that He has the power to cure him of this disease. He has faith that Jesus can handle this problem in his life and heal him of his disease. It’s so awesome how God takes care of His children, even though sometimes we don’t have that much faith in Him. We think about situations and problems in our lives, and we aren’t sure whether they’re going to turn out good or bad. I really like the story of two fellas that were talking one day.
One said, “Hey did you hear what happened to George?”
No what? He fell out of an airplane. Oh, that’s too bad. No, he had a parachute on his back. Oh that’s good! No, the parachute wouldn’t open. Oh, that’s bad. No, there was a haystack underneath him. Oh, that’s good. No, there was a pitchfork in the haystack. Oh, that’s bad. No he missed the pitchfork. Oh, that’s good. No, he missed the haystack, too!
It’s hard to tell sometimes if what happens will turn out to be good or if it’s bad. The leper in this story had to have felt this way. He had faith that Jesus would heal him, but just as he says, “Lord if you are willing, you can make me clean.” It really shows that there was some fear that this could turn out good, or it can turn out bad.