Anglican Morning Devotion for 20 May 2021 Anno domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 3And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4And 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.” (Matthew 8:2-4)*
If the touch of healing is to be of benefit, it must have the power to heal; the touch must be willingly offered and faithfully received; and the object of the touch must have the need of the touch.
The Word of God is noted by literary scholars to be the most concisely written literature in the world. Every verse contains enough truth to require several volumes to fully explore. The above three verses of our text are remarkable for the truth they reveal in such brevity. Let us examine the text in the scope of this brief devotion. The goal of all great literature is to say the most in the fewest words.
The main theme is the DIVINE POWER of Christ to heal the incurable. But there is a secondary theme which includes the compassion with which our Lord executed the healing. Let’s look at the circumstances:
THE LEPER: A man with an incurable and tortuous disease. Leprosy rots away body parts and emits an unbearable odor. The victim is full of sores whose fluids soak into the person’s garments. No one would want to even consider touching a leper. They were cast out from among family, friends, and society in general with cruel discrimination of all sorts. They were treated worse than mangy dogs and avoided as much. They lived a life of decreasing hope and increasing oppression. It is passed from the victim to others – like sin.
LEPROSY: A blood disease. It has been compared to sin which is also a blood disease inherited from Father Adam. It may have beginnings that are undetectable, but it grows more and more obvious with the passing moments. Like sin, it separates from family and friends. Like sin, it limits the possibilities of its victims. It is a death sentence. It disfigures and slowly and insidiously paralyzes. Like sin, it leads to death.
We see in the text that the leper came and worshipped the Lord. No Hebrew would worship any mortal man, but this leper recognized the divine power in Christ and knew Him to be God. His faith was unlimited – he knew Christ could heal a disease that none other could heal – if only Jesus were willing – and He is! He is able today to heal the most deadly disease with which man is afflicted – SIN!
THE TOUCH: How did our Lord respond to this humble leper whose raiment was covered in the filth of his sores? Jesus TOUCHED him! No one had touched this leper in the years of his illness, but Christ touched him. The human touch means so much to a soul alienated from love and compassion; but the touch of the Son of God multiplied exponentially that joy and grace imparted by the touch of our Lord. Jesus will touch our hurts as well and heal to the uttermost. The leper was instantly healed. Our great problem is realizing that our greatest disease is sin. We cannot seek healing until we know the severity of our illness. But Christ will deign to touch our filthy rags of the pigsty and heal us. He will place that Robe of Righteousness about our shoulders, a ring on our finger, and shoes on our feet.
What our Lord does next is intriguing. “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.” (Matthew 8:4) This leper has been a victim of isolation and quarantine from his family, neighbors and friends. They all know well of his disease and want nothing to do with a leper. But the leper is HEALED! How can he not tell any man? He MUST go to his family. When that happens, his tongue will be loosed at both ends exclaiming the marvelous works of the Lord. I believe that was a lesson the Lord intended for us: If our Lord has done such a wonderful work in our lives by making us free of the sin debt and adopting us into the family of God, how can we tell no man even if the Lord Himself commands it?
When did you last share with an unbeliever the marvelous works the Lord has worked in your life?
*All scripture quoted is from the King James Version