Sunday, September 25
Matthew 8:1-4 MSG
Jesus came down the mountain with the cheers of the crowd still ringing in his ears. Then a leper appeared and went to his knees before Jesus, praying, “Master, if you want to, you can heal my body.”
Jesus reached out and touched him, saying, “I want to. Be clean.” Then and there, all signs of the leprosy were gone. Jesus said, “Don’t talk about this all over town. Just quietly present your healed body to the priest, along with the appropriate expressions of thanks to God. Your cleansed and grateful life, not your words, will bear witness to what I have done.”
“And what is it which He is teaching?” John Wesley asks. “The Son of God, who came from heaven, is here showing us the way to heaven; to the place which he hath prepared for us; the glory he had before the world began. He is teaching us the true way to life everlasting; the royal way which leads to the kingdom; and the only true way.”
John Wesley, Sermon 21, Prol. 3.
The laws of religious perfection required lepers to live on the outside of established communities. To come in contact with a leper meant the height of imperfection. They had a word for the leper: “Unclean.” Jesus, the Perfect One, runs beyond the boundary of the law, skipping past his own self-interest and touches the leper with healing. A simple word from his mouth would have done. So why did he physically touch the man? Maybe he wanted us to see how perfect works.