Word from Scotland
by Sandy Shaw
In Matthew Chapter 8 , Jesus comes from these slopes, not far from Capernaum, where he has been teaching the Sermon on the Mount, and a man approaches Jesus. We are told that he is full of leprosy – covered with leprosy – Luke 5 .
Think of the pain - isolation - ostracism - lumps - twisted distorted limbs - lack of physical feelings – which this leper would experience. The man is desperate, and Jesus loves desperation. Does that sound cruel? No - because Jesus can do something with it. Mild interest has its limitations.
He fell at Jesus feet - how undignified! He has been begging, and having had to cry out "Unclean".
Leprosy can be taken as a sign of sin, but not many see themselves to be covered with leprosy - covered with sin.
We have to come to know and recognise that our sin is so dire. People think that their condition is not as serious as the Bible paints.
Leprosy at that time was regarded as a consequence of sin, and sin separates man from God, and sin separates man from man.
Leprosy disfigures, and so does sin.
Leprosy is not easy to diagnose at first - that too is similar to sin, which can work away silently and secretly in a man’s life.
Leprosy can paralyse and remove feeling and sensitivity and so does sin.
Leprosy graphically describes human sinfulness and its consequences.
This needy man comes with that word “if” - but he approaches Jesus with an open fervent sincere request. Jesus did not overlook the prayer from this pained body. "You know my need - heal my pain." This man was sure that Jesus could heal him.
Jesus touched what was not supposed to be touched. Jesus could not overlook such an impassioned plea. When necessary, Jesus would sweep aside religious regulations, as they would only hinder any real help being given.
Jesus touched him. Jesus healed him just like that.
People would not believe that this man had been so covered with the ravages of leprosy – “ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven”.
Why was he not to tell? Was it because of the depth of the work done in him? A deep work had taken place. Jesus does not want more crowds coming for the wrong reason - people might just appear for healing, important though that was in a day of sore severe sickness and pain. Jesus did not desire easy popularity.
Jesus looked for a degree of faith – a degree of believing in Him. Jesus could have healed bodies, but he had come to save people from their sins.
In Acts Chapter 6 at verse 4 , we read of how the Church of Jesus Christ was not to become a mere humanitarian agency. The bodily needs of the people must be secondary. These apostles were not going to become social workers – prayer and the word would be the priority. Healthy bodies are one thing, but spiritual strength is something else.
Verse 3 - I am willing – be thou clean. What a thrill must have gone through that leper’s heart. He was touched and healed. He was to go to the priests and testify. He was to go and witness, just as we have to witness when our sin is healed – removed – forgiven – and people may reject our witness – but one day these people who reject our testimony and witness will have to stand before the great white throne.
News of this healing soon got around. Crowds came! What did Jesus do?
Dr Luke tells us he withdrew to pray – Chapter 5 . Jesus Christ did not want to be just a healer, although this had been a period of tremendous success. He decides to be alone with His Father, to prepare for the next stage in his ministry.
Prayerful seasons are essential – hard, but necessary.
Might that just be the word of inspiration and motivation that you need this coming week?
“Loving caring compassionate Father – we thank You for the comprehensive picture depicted in our Bibles – we thank You for every authentic authoritative truth in these pages – we thank You that this is milk and meat to nourish our spiritual lives. Enable us to feed upon Your Holy Word so that we might develop and mature day by day – we pray in Jesus’ name.” Amen.
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Alexander 'Sandy' Shaw is pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship in Nairn, Scotland. Nairn is 17 miles east of Inverness - on the Moray Firth Coast - not far from the Loch Ness Monster!
Gifted as a Biblical teacher, Sandy is firmly committed to making sure that his teachings are firmly grounded in the Word.
Sandy has a weekly radio talk which can be heard via the Internet on Saturday at 11:40am, New Orleans time, at wsho.com.
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