TEXT: Matthew 8:1-4
1 When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him.
2 And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
3 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
4 And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.
As we approach Billy Graham’s birthday celebration, I want to share something from the evangelist whom God made great regarding the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He said, “God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.’”
From the story of the disobedient leper, we have learned (and, more than likely, re-learned) the wonderful truth that God WANTS to heal, protect, save, and provide for His children. We often speak of God’s will in the context of God’s will FOR us. However, this story and numerous passages in Scripture teach us about God’s will TOWARD us — in other words, what God wants (and does not want) on our behalf. For example, the Bible says that God is “not willing that any [of us] should perish.” It also says that God “desires that all men be saved and come unto the knowledge of the truth.” God is not obligated to want or desire these things, but He desires them because it pleases Him to do so. Just as you have likely felt the desire for good things for someone else, God personally desires good things for us, and He has the power, but more importantly, He has the WILL to make those things happen.
That is what happened when Jesus healed the leper in this passage. Afterwards, He tells him, “See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.” Jesus didn’t need the leper’s publicity; instead, He wanted to send a pointed message to the religious powers that were. He wanted them to realize that the ultimate power had arrived. As one commentator pointed out, leprosy was a lifelong condition; there was no cure. The only time in recorded history when someone had been cleansed of leprosy was 1,400 years prior when Miriam, Moses’ sister, was healed. The chief priests and scribes would be shocked to have a man come and tell them, “This man named Jesus just healed me of leprosy. Examine me according to the Law so that you can know that I am clean.”
Jesus did not need the priests’ validation of the man’s healing — and the former leper certainly didn’t need it. Jesus wanted the man to tell the priests what had happened to him “for a testimony UNTO THEM.” They needed to know that the physical manifestation of the power they had last seen over 1,400 years ago had arrived. Dr. Warren Wiersbe described the ceremony that this former leper would undergo in light of Jesus’ ultimate mission. He said, “This ceremony is described in Leviticus 14 and is another beautiful picture of Christ’s work for sinners. The bird slain pictures the death of Christ; the bird released pictures His resurrection. Putting the bird into the jar pictures the Incarnation, when Christ took a human body that He might die for us. The application of the blood to the ear, thumb, and toe illustrates the need for personal faith in His death. The oil on the blood reminds us of the Spirit of God, who enters the person when he trusts the Savior.”
It’s likely that the priests did not grasp all that this meant at the time. However, after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, they probably began to understand. Even today, we need to be reminded of what the incarnation means — what, to use a term from Thomas Mitchell, the ‘immanuelization of God’ really means. What does it mean for God to be with us? For this disobedient leper, it meant that he no longer had leprosy. He was no longer an outcast. He no longer lived in a colony of disfigured individuals outside the city. People no longer ran from him when he approached. This is the type of radical transformation brought about when Jesus comes into our lives — when Jesus says, ‘I will. Be thou saved. I will. Be thou cleansed. I will. Be forgiven of your sins.’ Every now and then, we need to stop and consciously bear witness of what Christ has done — not just to others, but to ourselves. We can say with the Psalmist (and with this leper), “The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.”
Fanny Crosby wrote:
To God be the glory, great things He hath done,
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life our redemption to win,
And opened the life-gate that all may go in.
Oh, perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer the promise of God;
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.
Great things He hath taught us, great things He hath done,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be
Our wonder, our transport when Jesus we see.
Now, if you are with us today and you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and Hell.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at [email protected] and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.