Summary: The Healing of the Leper was far more than just physical. Christ seeks not to simply save our soul but to fully and wholly restore us.
“The Restoration Of Christ”
Dcn. Chris Nerreau
“The Restoration Of Christ”
Text: Matthew 8:1-4
May the words of my lips and the meditation of my heart be always acceptable in thy sight, giving praise, glory and honor to Your name our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen!
Often times in the scriptures, we find stories of Christ’s divine healing after hard teachings, they serve as evidence that Christ has the authority to call us to a life of sacrifice. This is exactly what we find in today’s passage. After giving a very difficult sermon on the ethic of the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus restores a man suffering from leprosy.
Recently, as you know, our “mother” church, Emmanuel purchased a new building. I can remember walking around it for the very first time. It was dirty, and run down. You could almost sense in a tangible way a spirit of defeat. Yet, one of the great joys of my life was watching this tired old building come back to life, watching it become beautiful again. Every time I enter the building now, I am humbled by its beauty and I have a sense of satisfaction that its beauty glorifies God.
Today, like that building, God wants to restore humanity, actually He is in the process of restoring all of creation, but today I want to focus on the apex of His creation, humanity. God wants to do more than just clean us up, He wants to bring life back into us and in the process, bring glory to Himself.
Christ is not just in the business of saving our souls, He is in the business of restoring us to our original image, which is an image of Himself. (Genesis 1:26 “let’s make man in our image…)
Today I want to try to illustrate for you what I mean as we see:
• The Humility Of The Leper – v.2
• The Healing Of The Lord – v. 3-4
TRANSITION: So let’s begin Matthews narrative by looking at the…
I. The Humility Of The Leper – v. 2
Observation – (v. 2)
v.2 “A leper came to Him…”
• There is no way to understand this passage without a proper historical understanding of what it meant to be stricken with leprosy.
You were diagnosed by a priest – Lev. 13:8 “and the priest shall make an examination, and if the eruption has spread in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean; it is leprosy.”
You were asked to wear ripped, shabby clothing in order to stand out (Lev. 13:45). (You needed to look the part, so others would know to avoid you.)
You were ordered to find a place away from all other people where you will dwell alone, outside the gates of the city. (Lev. 13:46)
You were to yell “unclean, unclean” to anyone who might consider approaching you, that they may be warned off. (Lev. 13:45)
• What must be seen here is the absolute poverty of this man. Like Job, He has in fact lost all things. His family, friends, relatives, God (for a Jew to be cut off from the temple was to be cut off from God) and even his own health.
• What must also be seen is this man who was ordered to be alone, to suffer and die alone YET! in his brokenness he approached Jesus! He came to the one whom held a cure for the dying.
• This was a desperate act, it was a last ditch effort, it was his only chance.
v.2 “he knelt before Him…”
• One of the most moving parts of this story is that the man had the courage to come to Jesus but not to stand in His presence.
• He had the nerve to approach but not the hope to remain on his feet. In the presence of his only hope, the man with leprosy falls to his knees and begs for mercy.
v. 2 “If you will, you can make me clean”
• And now, finally the words fall from His quivering, dry lips.
• Notice the first word he uses “if”, it is a question of the heart of God. The question is this “does the grace of God extend even to me?”
• He then makes a profession of faith “you can make me clean”, in this statement he acknowledges that the perfect healing he so desires can only come as an act of divine mercy, found in the will of Christ.
Interpretation – (v. 13, 14)
• While I believe this to be a literal event in time and space, I also believe it is symbolic of the plight of all humanity.
• Each one of us is in fact that Leper, dying from the disease of sin and wondering, can the divine mercy of God, mediated through Christ cleanse me?