Summary: EPIPHANY 4 - Jesus shows mankind mercy by means of miracles in many ways and for various reasons. Jesus shows mercy for all the unclean. Jesus shows mercy in his mighty word to strengthen faith.


January 30, 2011 -

Epiphany 4 -

MATTHEW 8:1-13

INTRO: Scripture records a few of the many miracles that Jesus did in the world. The miracles of Jesus show to mankind his power. For believers, Jesus miracles strengthen faith. John writes in his gospel about Jesus’ miracles. "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name " (JOHN 20:31).


I. For all the unclean.

II. In his mighty word.

III. To strengthen faith.


A. Verse 1. Jesus has finished the Sermon on the Mount. The crowds are still following him.

1. Verse 2. A leper comes close to Jesus. Lepers were to keep their distance, “unclean!”

2. The leper seeks healing from Jesus. Note his heart: “Lord, if you are willing, you can…”.

B. Verse 5. A centurion was a Roman commander in charge of one hundred soldiers.

1. The centurion was also considered as unclean by the Jewish people. Still he comes to Jesus.

2. Verse 6. The centurion seeks healing for a servant. We see a heart of compassion.

C. In our nation there are not such distinctions between classes: clean and unclean. Our country is very accepting of those less fortunate. Who, then, are the unclean in our day and age? We want to remember Jesus considers what is inside rather than the outside. Man looks on the outside forgetting that what is in the heart is what makes us unclean. "For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man `unclean.'"(MARK 7:21-23). We are all guilty – unclean.

D. We dare not fall into the trap of spiritual comparison. We never want to point at anyone else with the thought that we are better than they. None of us have kept our hearts or thoughts pure. Our mouths pour out wicked words. We do not keep our lives free from sin. Thankfully, God does keep track of how many sins we commit. "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it"(JAMES 2:10). One sin makes us guilty of all of God’s laws. Sin is sin. In God’s eyes there are no great sins or small sins. God’s mercy opens our eyes to recognize our sins. A miracle.

JESUS REVEALS HIS MERCY IN MIRACLES for everyone who is unclean, all mankind.


A. Jesus and the crowd come down from the Mount. The leper approaches. The crowd backs away.

1. Verse 3a. Jesus reaches out with compassion. He is not put off by an unclean leper.

2. Verse 3b. “Be clean!” Jesus commands. Jesus’ words heal. “Immediately he was cured.”

B. Verse 7. Jesus wants to go the house of the centurion. Jesus hears the request and is willing to heal.

1. Verse 8. The centurion was a man of position, honor, and authority. “I am not worthy”.

2. Verse 9. The centurion’s words have power. He knows Jesus’ word is even more powerful.

C. The very word of God is under attack. People would rather trust in themselves, the experts, worldly wisdom rather than the simple yet very powerful truth of Scripture. Today the word of God is under at-tack not only from outside but also from inside the church. Look at all the religious self-help gurus. Al-most all of them point to themselves rather than Christ. All too many point to their words of wisdom ra-ther than the gospel of Christ. God’s gospel is foolishness to the worldly. "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile" (ROMANS 1:16). It is only the gospel that can and does save sinners. A merciful miracle.

D. May we never ever underestimate the power of God’s word. The Bible still remains as the very liv-ing and active word of God. The mighty word of God is even strong enough to change our hearts of stone into living hearts of flesh. "For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ" (2 CORINTHIANS 4:6). Now that is a miracle of mercy. We do not deserve salvation. Our very God who created everything out of nothing makes his light shine in our hearts. In God’s word we see Christ and God’s glory.

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