Summary: Study on the miracles Jesus wants to do in our lives and in our world today, and how our prayers can make all the difference! Link included to formatted MS Word text and PowerPoint Presentation.
The 7 Prayers of Matthew 8
This series is called “The Gospel of Jesus”, and we are striving to keep Him the focus all the while…and our Lord makes that easy to accomplish all the time. In today’s text His ministry is in full swing as Jesus descends the mount He gave His great sermon upon and works some amazing healings and miracles, and as we study this we’ll learn about the miracles He wants to do in our lives and in our world today, and how our prayers can make all the difference!
There are 7 prayers in this chapter, and many other amazing truths. Let’s do a flyby and observe from a bird’s eye view…
1. The Cry of Misery
v. 2 “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.”
Leprosy is a loathsome disease, still active in some parts of the world including Thailand where Kimberly’s uncle has his orphanage…he works w/ lepers there as well. It was much more prominent in Bible days, and much worse. The skin rots, entire limbs and digits can fall off…yet it all starts w/ just little white spots.
This man in v. 2 was probably living in a leper colony, isolated and exiled from society…then he heard about the Lord, and he believed that if only he could get to Jesus, he could be healed.
He approached the Lord and would have proclaimed, “unclean, unclean!” as the law required. Bystanders would be outraged at his actions (“how dare he?”), but would scatter to a distance.
Leprosy in the Bible is a picture of sin. For instance:
In this man’s case, he was probably out plowing one day, and noticed a little white spot on his hand…just a little white spot! Like us, he probably didn’t think much of it. But over time it grew, and eventually he was forced to take it seriously. He went and showed the priest.
As the law required, the priest would have the man quarantined for 14 days, at the end of which the priest broke the bad news, you have leprosy, you’re going to die, you must be banished, separated away with others like yourself.
“Wait, I have to tell my wife goodbye”
No, that’s not possible, you can never go near her or your family again.
“Wait, just one hug from my children!”
No, you cannot…never again can you touch a clean person.
He was sent to a leper colony to die (the avg. lifespan for a leper in those days was 9 years)
Certainly he probably watched his children grow up from a distance…they would approach from the safety of a few hundred feet and would wave at him, leaving him food or a written message.
Soon the sores covered his whole body and became ulcerated, and would begin to bleed…then flesh would begin to fall off of his body, sometimes in large portions—fingers and toes first, perhaps an ear or part of the nose.
Lepers would begin to emit a foul odor so bad you could taste it. If you tried to lie down long to rest, the rats would come to eat off of your flesh. You couldn’t sit on a rock, it was against the law, lest someone else sit there later and contract the loathsome disease. He couldn’t drink from a stream, either.
The voice would become raspy and the breath wheezy, and then he would know there wasn’t much longer for him.
He was a total outcast, totally isolated/exiled/despised. His leprosy was a picture of the filthiness/rottenness/putridity of sin…a picture the devil doesn’t want us to see today. Satan presents sin as pleasant, alluring, and enjoyable…and he never shows us the ultimate results of sin!
Sin always starts out rather innocently: just a little white spot (glass of champagne on an anniversary, just a beer w/ the boys…but the man has the drink, then the drink has a drink, and then the drink has the man!)
How does adultery begin?...as just a little white spot. An innocent flirtation, listening to a co-worker share their problems at home, consoling them a little…then emotions are added to the already present physical attraction, lust leads to sin, something physical happens, adultery occurs, and lives are ruined by the deadly leprosy of sin!
A teenager has just a little white spot on their record, that friend from the wrong crowd…the devil makes sure it all comes together one night at the wrong place, at the wrong time, the circumstances snowball on them, and they do something they would never have dreamed of doing when the night began…and everyone knows now, or their picture’s in the paper, someone’s life has been destroyed, somebody’s got a disease, somebody’s pregnant, or somebody’s dead! A deadly dose of leprosy has crept in…and it all started as a little white spot!