This morning I had a new post all lined up to send out about why God puts the brakes on. As I was doing my devotions this morning, I thought it better for the reader to go a slightly different direction this morning. So my apologies if you were ready to read about me in the stocks, I promise you, I will get to that article. God really pierced my heart this morning with an amazing lesson. Yesterday was the one year anniversary of Connections Church in Franklin and my family and I got the privilege to be there for that. Pastor Gary Walker touched briefly on Matthew 8:1-4, the story about Jesus and the leper. I rolled this story around in my head all day yesterday and all morning this morning. I went back to it and studied it with some intensity and was deeply touched by just four verses. I thought it would be a great way to start the week.
Jesus had just finished his sermon on the mount where he had just taught with absolute authority. I've come to realize that the sermon on the mount can be one of the most controversial sermons to date. Yet Jesus makes no apologies for what he preaches there. As J. Vernon McGee says, Jesus has just enunciated the ethic, does he have the power.
Imagine this for a moment. You wake up tomorrow and you notice some swelling on your skin. You put some Cortisone cream on it and get back to business. A week or so later, it continues to get worse so you go off to see the priest. The priest explains to you that you have leprosy and you are to be isolated. You ask to go and say goodbye to your wife and kids, but the priest tells you that you can never touch them or be near them again. You are to be in isolation for the rest of your days. You are forced to watch from afar as your children grow up and your wife grows old with out you. You long for the reassuring touch of a human being but it will not come. You are utterly alone and most likely despised by everyone. (McGee, 46 emphasis mine)
Jesus, hearing this man's plea, does something that no one has done in a long, long time, He puts his hand on him. He touches him. I can't, for a moment, imagine how amazing it must have felt to have the hand of the Almighty Savior on me. And then those compassionate words, "I am willing." In a moment, Jesus reaffirms that he has the authority and the power to heal. "Be clean!" and immediately the leprosy left him. Not after a week of antibiotics, or a month of Cipro, immediately!!! IMMEDIATELY!!! It was gone and he was restored.