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Birdwell Lane Church Of Christ
1616 E. 11th Pl
Big Spring, TX  79720
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This Week's Bulletin Article


     Matthew 8:1-4, When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean." And Jesus 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." (ESV)

     This short episode recorded by Matthew does not go into great detail, but it does present great principles that can be expounded upon through further studies in Scripture. We will consider these principles under the following headings - the leper's need, the Lord's desire, and the cleansing.

The Leper's Need

     Leprosy was a general term used to describe all sorts of skin conditions and diseases. You can read all the details about it in Leviticus 13-14. The hardest part for someone afflicted with this, in my opinion, would be the isolation. Until your skin cleared up, you were considered unclean and required to quarantine yourself so that no one else would be affected. If someone came into contact with you during this period, then they would be unclean also. Therefore most people purposefully avoided lepers.

     We are not told how long this man had been afflicted. How long had it been since he had physically felt the touch of another person? What kind of despair would that bring about in someone's life? This man had a need, and he definitely recognized that fact.

     We have a need as well. We may all have various physical needs, but everyone has the same spiritual need - to be cleansed from our sins. The Bible uses the metaphor of sin being a stain or blemish, even a dark, crimson blood stain. Romans 3:23, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (ESV). Romans 6:23a, For the wages of sin is death (ESV). Do you realize your need to be cleansed? Do you ignore the Bible's teaching concerning sin? Do you try to cover up sin in your life? You might be able to hide it from others for a while, but you cannot hide it from God!

The Lord's Desire

     The leper makes the statement, "If you will." That word can be translated as "to wish, desire, or will." Jesus does not hesitate. He expresses his desire that the man be healed. What a wonderful thought! We deserve God's wrath, however his desire is to heal us, to deliver us, to save us. 1 Timothy 2:3-6, This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time (ESV). God has extended his grace in the person of Jesus. Have you come to him like that leper did?

The Cleansing

     If you recognize your need and you understand the Lord's desire, then what are you waiting for? Saul of Tarsus, after being confronted by Jesus and brought to the realization of his disobedience to God, was told in Acts 22:16, And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name (ESV). Jesus promised that those who put their trust in him and are baptized will be saved (Mark 16:16). Jesus said that is how disciples are made - through baptism and teaching (Matthew 28:19-20).

     Just like the old hymn asks - Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Greg Surles

Preacher: Greg Surles

- - Ministry Purpose Statement - -
Teaching, Training and Transforming Lives Into
The Image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29)