January 22, 2016

HEALING BEGINS WHEN HIDING ENDS

Matthew 8:1–17

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Jesus Cleanses a Leper

When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. And behold, a leper1 came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus2 stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”

The Faith of a Centurion

When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant,3 ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel4 have I found such faith. 11 I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12 while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.

Jesus Heals Many

14 And when Jesus entered Peter's house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever. 15 He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him. 16 That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.”

Footnotes

[1] 8:2 Leprosy was a term for several skin diseases; see Leviticus 13
[2] 8:3 Greek he
[3] 8:9 Or bondservant
[4] 8:10 Some manuscripts not even in Israel

HEALING BEGINS WHEN HIDING ENDS



Key Verse | Matthew 8:3

And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, "I will; be clean." And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. (Matthew 8:3)

Bio | Kristen Reed

What's more ironic than being a writer and not knowing what to write about yourself?

As a copywriter and fiction author, I put pen to paper and finger to key all day, every day to write about beauty/fashion and the fantastical worlds I dream up in my head. I became a believer in 2013 through a pair of divine appointments at a department store and a concert. My life hasn't been the same since. Thanks to an amazing community group and other godly women, I get to experience God's love in new, often hilariously unexpected ways every day.

Central Truth

Because of the broken world we live in, everyone needs healing from something. Only when faith casts out fear and coaxes us out of hiding and into the light can true healing begin.

Devotional | Matthew 8:1–17

At the beginning of Matthew 8, Jesus follows up the Sermon on the Mount with an act that surely would have inspired a chorus of gasps from his followers: He touched a leper. To me, this is shocking because, according...

At the beginning of Matthew 8, Jesus follows up the Sermon on the Mount with an act that surely would have inspired a chorus of gasps from his followers: He touched a leper. To me, this is shocking because, according to Leviticus 13:45-46, lepers were called to wear torn clothes, loudly proclaim their uncleanness, and live alone because of their disease. Jesus and His followers would have known by the man's appearance, if not also by his reputation, that he was unclean and not to be touched lest his impurity infect them as well.

And yet Jesus touched him. Furthermore, He instantaneously healed him.

With a single touch, Jesus gave the leper the ability to enter back into society, no longer defined by his physical illness. With a single touch, Jesus lept over the barrier created by the disease. With a single touch, Jesus did what only blood and sacrifice could do: He made the leper clean. With a single touch, Jesus showed that He was not threatened by the uncleanness of the world because His cleanness was more contagious than any disease could ever be.

The only reason the leper experienced Christ's compassionate, restorative touch was because he came out of hiding and had faith that Jesus would heal him. If he had stayed outside the city hiding in shame because of his disease, his lonely life would have continued. But he didn't. Risking the whispering, staring, and shunning that the people likely would have given him, the leper knelt before Christ and humbly asked for healing.

The leper is a great example to all of us. In only a few short verses, he modeled for us a healthy way to deal with sin and pain: Acknowledge that something is wrong in your life. Come out of isolation. Have faith and ask Christ for healing. When you trust that He can make all things right and make you new, Christ will prove faithful time and time again. All you have to do is step out in faith.

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Discussion Questions

Disease (leprosy specifically) is often used as a metaphor for sin. After reading about how Jesus healed the leper and the others in Matthew 8, take a look at how you view Christ in relation to the areas in your life where you need healing, whether because of your sin struggles or those of others.

1. What is a struggle or hurt that you currently need healing from?

2. In what ways has the struggle or hurt caused you to isolate?

3. Do you truly believe that Christ can give you healing? Why or why not?

4. What is one step can you take today to seek healing?

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