Prayer Requests

When we read Matthew 8:3~ And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. (ESV) What we are witnessing is Jesus performing a miracle that was unassailable proof of His Messiahship. Jews thought healing a leper was as difficult as raising the dead. 2 Kings 5:7 ~As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, “Am I, God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? (NIV) This is Naaman’s story, where God goes from a local deity to the God of everything. Yes the God who heals. In truth, this miracle ought to be the only proof Jews needed. What proof will it take you, to prove Jesus is who He claims to be? Only God can heal, and like this leper, we’ve asked God to answer our requests to heal cancer, surgeries, and sickness, in Jesus’ name. 

Before you take time to pray today, I want you to refresh your list of requests. Who needs to be added, and what needs to be turned into a thankful response for His marvelous answer? Be sure to share with your prayer partners what God is doing. We all need the encouragement.



Why?

Have you ever sat down to consider Jesus’ miracles? When Jesus traverses down the mountainside, His Sermon secure for all to learn from and strive towards being the follower we were created to be. His entourage throngs about for a touch or just a word. A few audibly loud gasps were heard as the crowd makes room. A man whose flesh no longer wants to do as it was created, schlepping off it leaves leprous sores. Approaching Jesus Christ with great longing and even greater need, he kneels before God’s Son. Matthew 8:2-3~…“Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” (ESV) 

This leper, a man no-one wants to befriend or even be near, is the first person, in Matthew’s Gospel, to call Jesus Christ Lord. Today, we know leprosy is not what we once thought, and have treatments for this disease. We now call leprosy Hansen’s disease (HD) named for the man who discovered the bacteria that causes it. This particular bacteria affects about 10% of the population of the world. When we contract Leprosy the bacteria literally rots our flesh, causing the loss of fingers, toes, finally resulting in death. It is a graphic illustration of what sin does to us spiritually. Which is that causes a person’s life to rot away and end in an eternal spiritual death. 

That’s why we read in Romans 6:23~For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NIV) This man who has consumed comes to place his life in the hands of Jehovah Rapha. Jesus Christ has come as God’s agent of healing. Stretching out His hand, Jesus touches the leper, which was forbidden by Jewish Law. Leviticus 5:3~ or if they touch human uncleanness (anything that would make them unclean) even though they are unaware of it, but then they learn of it and realize their guilt; (ESV) Jesus says, Be clean (8:3). Instantly, the man is healed and his leprosy disappears. It only took the Word, yet our Lord demonstrates compassion as He touches the outcast commanding Him to go to the priest and give as God instructed, for a testimony. Why do this?

For two good reasons. 1st) Christ doesn’t want anyone to think He’s violating God’s Law, which He has just declared hillside in Matthew 5:17~Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets…but to fulfill them. (NIV) Mosaic required those who’ve been healed of leprosy to go to a priest for inspection and to present an offering as proof/testimony (Leviticus 14:2-32). 2nd), Jesus doesn’t want large crowds of people following Him just to see more miracles. He came for salvation which is turning towards God, as we live and walk in a pleasing to God.

How are you pleasing the Lord in your walk? What is God asking you to do, or change, or even adjust? Each of us needs to assess our quiet time, or ministries, even our lifestyle. What were you once passionate about and may have stopped doing? I think we oftentimes forget the power of personal touch. When the phone rings and the one on the other lines says, Jesus loves you, He sees you, and you are important to Him. These moments have a way of altering our trajectory for the day or week, they change our moods, and refocus our lives on the Lord. Maybe now, you have someone to call, text or write. Ask God what you can do for Him today.



Miracles

We’ve been walking through the Gospel of Matthew. We have witnessed our Lord’s birth, heard Him teach from His mountain pulpit at Hillside chapel. Now, Jesus turns to prove His Messiahship with miracles, signs, and wonders, which are actually rare in the Bible. Miraculous events cluster around three Biblical eras: the time of Ole Mo as the Law was given, in the days of Elijah and Elisha when they were calling their apostate nation back to God, and here in the New Testament when Jesus Christ and the apostles were declaring the Gospel. Apart from those times, centuries will pass in the Bible without a single recorded miracle. Biblically, miracles always have one basic purpose: to authenticate God’s messenger. Mark 16:17-18~ And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents…if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. (KJV) 

I was taking a religion class at UGA. For the first class, we went around and shared our religious heritage. Down to the last student, a rosy-cheeked portly fellow with red hair, sat sheepishly in the corner. The professor beckoned with a wave of our hand, over her kingdom and her subject, in the softest tone simply said, I come from holiness people. Rising from her desk with an emphatic response, Really! Tell me more. Yea, dad, and grandpa are both preachers. Bounding around her desk in youthful exuberance, she assumes her perch like a bird eagerly watching events unfold. For her, this was a miracle. Do they…she said. Sheepishly, yes ma’am, at grandpa’s church. Please, she pleaded, go on. Well, grandpa will handle snakes and drink strychnine. Across the room, eyebrows have summited like the Rocky’s. And, well, Dad does grandpa’s church. So, your father is a true believer? With a newly minted robustness, the once mousy man says, we do stuff at our church, just not that. Gushing the professor longs for more, like an addict, she says, please tell me. Well, my dad…he passes around a hamster and drinks tab. Personally…I think finding Tab today is a miracle. 

I want you to sit down today and write out the miracles that have taken place in your life. As you read over the list, I want you to take time to thank God for working His wonders in your life. Make sure you thank God for your salvation, the baptism of His Holy Spirit, the friends and family He has given to you. I bet you end up worshiping Him.