Have Faith-Part 1

Intro

280px-Bloch-SermonOnTheMountFrom Matthew 5 – 7, the writer sets the context of who Christ is and the new culture he introduces. These chapters  ought to  redefine men’s view on godliness and spirituality. Much emphasis is placed on the inner condition of men, which shows us how differently God judges men. Side from that, we are confronted with the words that exhort us to set our focus on the things above. Our sight should not determined by the natural but by God Himself. Our ambition, motivation and our orientation should be focused on being in the same spiritual location where God dwells and to be in the right relationship with Him. This and much more did He taught. Matthew noted how His audience saw a difference in how He taught and how the Pharisees taught. We know by now that this difference lies in the nature of Christ, He is Divine, the Living Word, The Absolute Truth, with no difference between what He thinks, says and does.

Matthew continues to confirm the heavenly backing and authority of Christ, by reporting on the many miracles He did.  Very specifically Matthew reports that He healed all who were sick. When reading Chapter 8:1-27 closely, it became apparent for me that the writer is putting a case forward around the issue of faith. I will be sharing my take-aways with you in three articles. This article will focus on the Leper, the next one will focus on the Centurion and the final one will be on the Storm on the lake.

The Leper

A midst of the crowd, a leper came to Jesus. That must have been some scene. First of all leper are considered unclean. Leviticus 13:45 notes the following:

“The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean. He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp”

In those days, when an unclean touches a clean one, the clean one becomes unclean. 

In the context of how Matthew describes the event, this man’s faith could have been awakened when hearing Jesus teach. This moment must have been a very electrifying moment, with all eyes on this leper and Christ. I figure that there must have been sufficient space between the crowd and the man, because no one would want to become unclean.

How noticeable is the different thought pattern the man of leprosy showed, by believing that clean could turn unclean into clean. His faith gave Him courage to confront Jesus. The most remarkable observation is the fact that this Leper had the faith to believe that Jesus had the Power to make Him clean, He just was not sure if Christ wanted to do so.

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To appreciate this bible passage, we must consider the mood or tense of how the question was asked and answered. The mood of the question is called the subjunctive mood. An example is: “ it might rain today” or “ Were I to dance with these shoes, I would hurt my knees” That possibility of raining of hurting my knees is considered in the example, however the reality remains contingent. Meaning, that it is possible, but it cannot be predicted. The leper is actually saying: “ I cannot predict your willingness to heal me, but I know it is possible, I know you are able to do so”

The way Jesus answers is fascinating. He answers in the present indicative active tense. In other words, He is making a factual statement. His willingness to heal is an infinite fact. His infinite preferred will. Amazing! Strong’s concordance puts it like this:

The greek word translated as “ I am willing”  expresses a desire (wish, will), wanting what is best (optimal) because someone is ready and willing to act.It is commonly used of the Lord extending His “best-offer” to the believer – wanting (desiring) to birth His persuasion (faith) in them which also empowers, manifests His presence etc.

This explains the deliberate act of Jesus to touch this leper. Because if one has such an earnest desire to want what’s is best for another, He must love strongly. There is something deeper in this act, which I find meaningful. This man must have been alienated from human touch. Because no one would dare to touch or even talk to someone like that. Look at the love of Christ to meet Him in His social need.

Lessons of Faith for us Today

Christ Jesus has evidently shown what His preferred will is. Knowing that God is able, is not sufficient to see His manifestation in our personal lives. But a conviction of His preferred will is the key for the activation of His presence. Why? Because this will determine our attitude towards Him, especially when it is dark all around us. There should be no uncertainty of God wanting to deliver, save, heal, etc, when going through hardship and the darkest of the darkest of time. Instead, our knowledge of Him, should move us to keep on holding on to Him till the end. Our knowledge of Him gives us a good reason to be persistent and to keep on trusting Him that He will do according to His Promise. I think that is the most loudest and strongest voice of faith. Faith is seen perfectly in these moment, because then the reality of His preferred will defines us and not what we experience.

 

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