Summary: Jesus touched the life of one leper & changed him forever.
“ONE LEPER” Luke 5:12-16
CWBC – 1/6/19
INTRO – Dictionary.com’s “Word of the Year for 2018” – “misinformation” – “false information that is spread, regardless of whether there is intent to mislead.”
- “Misinformation is what is guiding people’s choices, behaviors, & actions.”
- “If you hear a piece of misinformation enough times, you start to believe it’s information…We are stalled in the age of misinformation.”
- “The best way to change someone’s mind is to be empathetic & to do it one-on-one.”
In this age of misinformation, I want to issue a challenge to you, my brothers & sisters in Christ – the Church – the Body of Christ – the FAMILY of God. Let’s make a commitment right here at the beginning of 2019 that we are going to be bearers & sharers of TRUE information. And the TRUEST information we can share is the Gospel – that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.
Today, I am beginning a series of sermons for the month of January entitled, “Who’s Your 1?” But this is more than just 4 sermons – this is going to be the challenge for our church for this entire year. I want you to consider the impact if EACH one of us led just 1 person to Jesus this year.
- Imagine the rejoicing if 200, 300, or even 400 people came to know the Lord in 2019 b/c you & I each led just 1 person to faith in Christ this year!
- Imagine the excitement that would build throughout the next 51 weeks as more & more people were saved & were being baptized each Sunday!
- Imagine the impact this would have in families, in workplaces, in schools, in our community, state, nation, & world!
“Who’s Your 1?” – Witnessing is simply 1 saved person telling 1 lost person about the Lord.
- It’s God’s simple plan for growing His Church.
- It’s Jesus’ commission to us as His followers.
- It’s what you & I are called to do, & I want to challenge you right now to take this seriously & make the commitment right now to win 1 person to the Lord in 2019.
In this age of misinformation, it’s time for the CHURCH to speak up & speak out the TRUE information that Jesus Christ the Way, the Truth, & the Life. And as was said earlier, the best way to do that is to do it one-on-one.
EXPLANATION – Open your Bibles or your Bible app to Luke 5:12-16 (page 861 in pew Bible).
Jesus dealt w/ people one-on-one. Yes, there were times He interacted w/ large groups & large crowds of people. Our passage today tells us that this encounter w/ the leper went public & caused “great crowds” to gather to hear Him & be healed. Large crowds followed Him around as He went about His ministry. He fed the crowds of 5,000 in Matthew 14 & a crowd of 4,000 in Mark 8. He taught the crowds. He had compassion when He saw the crowds of people.
But we also see Him regularly interacting & ministering to individuals who came to Him in their times of desperation & brokenness. And that’s certainly what we see today in this passage of Scripture – this man who was “full of leprosy” (v. 12).
Leprosy was the most terrible disease in Jesus’ day. It included a variety of different serious skin diseases & was not limited to what is today called “leprosy” or Hansen’s disease. It was greatly feared as it would causes grotesque disfigurement & sometimes death.
Here are 4 things that made leprosy, not just physically painful, but emotionally & spiritually painful:
- The person w/ leprosy was considered utterly & completely unclean – both physically & spiritually. The leper could not get w/in 6 feet of any person, including their own family members. Lev. 13:45 – “The leprous person…shall wear torn clothes & let the hair of his head hang loose, & he shall cover his upper lip & cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean.’”
- The leper was considered dead. He was the living dead. Had to wear a black garment to be distinguished as from among the dead.
- The leper was banished as an outcast, totally ostracized from society. Was given no hope of going to heaven. Had to live alone outside the city walls.
- The leper was considered to be polluted & incurable by any human means. Leprosy could be cured by God & His power alone. (I guess it’s a good thing that Jesus showed up!)
This leper came to Jesus in his desperation & humiliation, knowing that Jesus was his only hope. When he saw Jesus, he forgot about his physical condition & his social position, & fell at Jesus’ feet. Nothing else mattered to him at this point b/c there was the possibility that he was about to receive the help that he so desperately needed. He begged Jesus to cleanse him, not heal him. He was asking for both physical & spiritual cleansing – external healing & internal healing. He knew he was dirty & defiled both inside & out. And Jesus responded to this one leper w/ a compassionate, healing, cleansing touch of His hand. Jesus did for this one leper what no one else would do or could do. No one else would touch the leper – Jesus did. No one else could heal & cleanse the leper – Jesus did. One man in desperate need encountered the One Savior who could save Him, & his life was forever changed. This leper was Jesus’ “1” at this moment.