Be Clean

Matthew 7:28 – 8:4

Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount was a call to moral and ethical living and was, no doubt, meant to give Christians a standard to follow. Today, however, there seem to be no more moral and ethical standards.

Matthew 27 ends with these words: “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.”

Jesus’ powerful words and deeds astonished people. He had come to minister, not to be ministered to.

The multitudes that had followed him saw something unusual: a leper kneeling before Jesus instead of running away from the crowd (Matthew 8).

The Leper and the Crowd (vss. 1-2)

This crowd was in no mood for lepers. Lepers were outcasts and no one would go near them. They had just heard a beautiful sermon and were on a spiritual high, perhaps. They were happy. Now this leper would spoil it all!

But good sermons are not meant to merely make us feel good and self-righteous. Often they are mean to prepare us to care for and serve others.

The lepers in the Bible give us a good picture of what sin has done to all of us: we are all unclean. Romans 3:10-12 says, “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”

Our sins have earned us death. “For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

Sadly, many Christians have no time or compassion for the “unclean”. They want Jesus to save only clean and respectable people… but Jesus came to save the unclean and the lost! “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19:10)

The Leper and Christ (vs. 2)

The leper came and worshipped Jesus and called him Lord… just like the thief on the cross (Luke 23:42) and the woman caught in adultery (Luke 8:11) did. This leper actually believed that Jesus could do anything — even heal him.

Jesus was full of compassion for this man (Mark 1:41). Compassion is feeling what another feels — not just saying that you do. Jesus could identify with the man’s pain.

Jesus touched the rejected then and still touches those who need him today. Do we touch anyone in the name of Jesus? Or are we ignoring the untouchables? Yes, God touches people today… but He uses people like you and me.

The Leper Made Clean (vss. 3-4)

Jesus said to the leper: “I am willing, be clean!” Jesus wants to make people clean and no one is too dirty for Jesus to clean. Imagine this leper’s joy at being healed. Have you experienced the joy of being made clean?

Pastor Joseph Hovsepian