Jump Start # 2728
Matthew 8:2 “And a man with leprosy came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”
Our verse today leads to the cleansing of the leper. Three illustrations of faith are found in this one verse.
First, he came to Jesus. The Lord didn’t come to him. He must have heard about the miraculous healings of Jesus. He could have stayed home and had a pity party. He could have said to himself, “He might heal others, but He won’t heal me.” He could have talked himself out of going to Jesus. Everyone knows how busy Jesus was. And, there is a strong possibility that the leper had never met Jesus before. So, why would Jesus heal a stranger. Yet, he came to Jesus.
Sometimes you and I can talk ourselves out of things that we ought to do. We ought to send a card to that person who just had surgery. We ought to take some food to someone who is home sick. We ought to talk to the shepherds about how we can become more engaged. We ought to have a Bible study with the preacher. Oh, all the things we ought to do. But, we talk ourselves out of them. We reason that no one would be interested in us. We convince ourselves that we’d be bothering others. We just know that everyone is so busy. So, we don’t. We stay home and we stay as we are. Good is not done. Help does not reach us. We do not improve. The man in our verse today came to Jesus. He came as a leper. He came unclean. He came unwelcomed by others. But, he came. And, he went home better.
Second, he bowed. Many folks did that back then and they still do it in different settings today. At the end of an classical orchestra concert, the conductor and musicians often bow. In England, people bow before the Queen. Bowing, shows respect and that you recognize the other person has honor and authority. Throughout the Psalms, the idea of bowing before the Lord is found. In Revelation, around the throne the twenty-four elders bowed toward God.
This leprous man comes to Jesus and he bows. He may not understand all the Jesus is, how He fulfilled prophecy and how He had a destiny with the cross and all that meant, but for the moment, he realized that Jesus was greater than he was. They were not equals. The leper could not cure himself. The leper could not cure other lepers. Jesus could. That’s what he knew and that alone, made him lower himself in humility to the Lord.
For us, the bowing takes place when we pray. We lower our heads and close our eyes. We do not look eye to eye, as if we are equals with God. We don’t tell God. We don’t demand of God. We don’t even question God. Job teaches us that. God fired a series of sixty questions about nature that Job had no clue about. Unable to answer them or understand them, made Job see that the deeper things in life he would never grasp.
Third, this leper said, “You can make me clean.” He knew Jesus could do it. He built that statement around, “If you are willing.” He understood that Jesus didn’t owe him a miracle. Jesus didn’t have to cleanse him. He wasn’t telling Jesus. He wasn’t demanding. He placed it in the Lord’s hands. If you are willing, you can. He wanted the Lord to be willing. He was hoping the Lord was willing. But in the end, he understood that it was up to the Lord.
You can make me clean. God can. God can forgive you. God can change you. God can lift you up and give you a better outlook. If God can do the impossible to this leper, just imagine what He can do for you?
And, what we see in this simple passage is that faith is demonstrated by what we do, what we say, and what we believe. It’s more than words. It’s more than sitting in a church pew. It’s going, when the going is hard. It’s bowing, when others may not. It’s verbally saying, what you know is true.
Now, tie these thoughts into Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians, “We walk by faith and not by sight.” Faith demonstrated. Faith going. Faith bowing. Faith saying. In our times, when there is much fear, concern and worry, we need disciples of Jesus to demonstrate faith. God is still upon the throne. God is still good. God is still there for you.
Faith demonstrated—by a simple diseased leper, who came to Jesus and bowed. We sure can learn much from that unknown leper.