Summary: A sermon for the 6th Sunday after the Epiphany
6th Sunday after Epiphany
Our gospel lesson this morning shows us very clearly the compassion, the piety, and the love that Jesus had for people on this earth. Jesus was willing to walk with others as they suffered and also in some ways help those people who did suffer.
There is a story about Mrs. Booth, who along with her husband founded the Salvation Army, when she was a little girl running along the road with a hoop and a stick, she saw a prisoner dragging away by a policemen to jail. A mob was hooting and calling out names to the man, and his utter loneliness appealed at once to her heart; it seemed to her that he had not a friend in the world. So quickly, she sprang to his side and marched down the street with him determined that he should know that there was one person who felt for him whether he was innocent or guilty.
Jesus in the same kind of way, and even more so, walks with us in our guilt, in our brokenness, in our situations of life. We are not alone, but we have one who is willing to spring by our side, and be with us.
This point is illustrated very well for us this morning in our gospel lesson. A leper came to Jesus, and said "If you will, you can make me clean " Notice the exact words of this man, he comes to Jesus and says, "If you will" he was putting his whole life in the hands of Jesus. He was taking a risk and putting his whole life into the hands of this man.
Being a leper, this man was taking a chance that Jesus might walk away as the scribes and Pharisees did, or cast stones at him, or taunt him like many of the people were accustomed to doing, but he felt that Jesus was different, that this man might just be the one who could change his whole life.
So he approached Jesus, not demanding that Jesus do anything, but coming to him and letting Jesus’ will be done. He didn’t come to Jesus saying, you have to heal me, but he was willing to take a risk, saying If you will. In other words, he was saying to Jesus, I am putting my whole life into your hands, if you will you can cure me, and if you decide I shall remain this way, then so be it. Isn’t that an act of faith, a tremendous act of surrender, an attitude that tells us something about this man’s convictions, and this man’s belief in Jesus Christ.
Can you just imagine what must have been going on in that man’s mind. I think he might have had thought similar to these:
"There is Jesus, I have heard he has healed many people, I have heard he is a man of compassion and a man of power. I wonder if he car make me well?? No, I don’t wonder, I believe, I know deep within me that he can. I cannot go begging him to heal me, or demanding that he does, but I will go an ask that whatever he wills for my life, then so be it. I will approach Jesus and ask that his will be done in my life."
And we know the rest of the story, the text says that Jesus is moved with piety’ stretched out his hand and touched did him and said to him, " I will; be clean." And immediately the leprosy led him and he was made clean. Jesus didn’t forsake the man, he didn’t turn his back on him, he didn’t ignore him, he didn’t tell him he had to do something before he would act, Jesus was moved with petty and reached out to touch this man, and made him clean.
Jesus acted. Jesus acted because he knew how lonely, how miserable, how forsaken this man was. Jesus acted because no one else would. Jesus acted because the rest of society forsook this man, Jesus acted because this man’s own religion ignored him, because they couldn’t be bothered.
As we study this lesson, I think there are two points that come home to us. The first being the example of faith, trust and complete surrender of this leper.
I wonder how many of us could do what he did? I wonder how many of us can surrender our entire lives to him, letting his will he done in our lives.?? I wonder how many of us could say to Jesus, take my life and whatever you will for it, so be it?? That sounds very serious, very strange to us. But isn’t that what Christianity is all about? Surrendering ourselves to God, then letting his will of love be done in our lives.