Holy Spirit, give me a greater understanding of Christ and deepen my belief in him.
Read Matthew 8:1–13
When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2 A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. 4 Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
The Faith of the Centurion
5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”
7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”
8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat do you long for? Do you believe God would give that to you?
In Jesus’ day, leprosy was an incurable disease with devas-tating physical and social consequences. Leprosy sufferers were ceremonially unclean (Lev. 14:2–32), excluded from the religious life of their community, and forced to suffer and die away from their loved ones.
Life couldn’t get any tougher for this man with leprosy. Imagine the expressions in the crowd as the man approach-es. Imagine the desperation driving him forward to Jesus. He believes that Jesus has the power to do the impossible and transform his situation, but deep down there is a dull, nag-ging doubt—“…if you are willing” (2). Will Jesus want to help him? Many in the crowd, possibly even the man himself, may have believed that the disease was a consequence of per-sonal sin (John 9:1,2). If the God of the Old Testament Law rejected him as unclean, wouldn’t Jesus do the same?
Gloriously, Jesus’ answer and actions proclaim something new (3). He is willing to touch the unclean to make them whole. Through Jesus, God deals with sin-sickness. Instead of being sent away from God’s presence, outcasts (10–12) who trust Jesus are restored and welcomed by God.
Reflect on all that Jesus has been willing to do to make you whole. Can you extend his kind of love and acceptance to someone today?
Jesus, my friend, thank You for loving me, for accepting me, for making me whole.
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