I have been privileged to hear and relate to many great speakers, preachers and teachers as well as leaders and agents of popular contemporary bands who exhort God’s Word. For thirteen years, working as an executive for a denomination, it was part of my job to obtain popular speakers for national events. So I met and contracted with many wonderful men and women of God. I must tell you that some i would hire again in an instant. Some I would not and did not.
The speakers, band members and worship leaders who impressed me the most were authentic people who really “saw” the audience after the exhortation on the platform. They would come down to those waiting to talk to them. Leaders who really touched my heart were those that took the time to really listen, pray and encourage people.
As Believers, do we spend time on the mountain, listening to Jesus through the mouths of speakers, or speaking ourselves because it is such an honor thinking this is the only place to be or do?
Do we ever come down from our mountain top exhortations to where real ministry and mission requires application of the words of Jesus?
Do we just tell Truth without showing and living Truth?
Let’s watch the actions of Jesus in the coming passages of Matthew as he comes down from the mountain of teaching the most powerful, most quoted sermon of all times. Watch how He responds to the popularity of thousands of people hanging on His every word. Jesus is “in demand” because “he speaks with authority, like no one else they have ever heard.”
But it is not popularity that Jesus seeks. Jesus hardly pauses from teaching Truth to applying Truth as he came down the mountainside. He taught the people to love God, love others. He taught what God really intended in His Law and how God wanted them to live abundantly, blessed lives. Remember our days of going through his sermon on the mount?
Now, Jesus showed them.
The Sermon Applied
Jesus Heals a Man With Leprosy
When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2 A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. 4 Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
WHAT DO WE LEARN?
We have been introduced to the person of the King (Matt. 1—4) and the principles of the King (Matt. 5—7), and now we are ready for the power of the King. After all, if a king does not have the power to accomplish anything, what good are his credentials or his principles? In chapters 8 and 9, Matthew reported ten miracles.
Why did Jesus perform miracles? Certainly He wanted to meet human needs. God is concerned about the temporal well-being of His creatures as well as their eternal happiness. It is wrong to separate ministry to the body and ministry to the soul, since we must minister to the whole person (see Matt. 4:23–25).
Certainly our Lord’s miracles were additional credentials to prove His claim as the Messiah of Israel. “The Jews require a sign” (1 Cor. 1:22).
Along with His compassion and credentials, there was a third reason for miracles: His concern to reveal saving truth to people. The miracles were “sermons in action.”
One thing is certain: Jesus did not perform miracles to “get a crowd.” He usually avoided the crowd. Time after time, Jesus instructed those whom He had healed not to talk too much (Matt. 8:4, 18; 9:30; Luke 8:56). He did not want people trusting Him simply on the basis of spectacular deeds (see John 4:46–54). Faith must be based on His Word (Rom. 10:17).
GRACE TO OUTCASTS
Lepers, Gentiles, and women were considered outcasts by many Jewish people, especially the Pharisees. Many Pharisees would pray each morning, “I give thanks that I am a man and not a woman, a Jew and not a Gentile, a free-man and not a slave.”
There were a number of afflictions that our Bible categorizes as leprosy. This dreaded infection forced the victim to live apart from others and to cry, “Unclean! Unclean!” when others approached, so they would not be defiled. That the leper ran up to Jesus and violated the code is evidence of his great faith that Jesus would heal him.
And Jesus “willingly” did just that.
When Jesus touched the leper, He contracted the leper’s defilement, but He also conveyed His health! Is this not what He did for us on the cross when He was made sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21)?
The leper did not question His ability to heal; he only wondered if He were willing. Certainly God is willing to save! He is “God our Savior, who will have all men to be saved” (1 Tim. 2:3–4). God is “not willing that any should perish” (2 Peter 3:9).
Jesus commanded the man not to tell others but to go to the priests and have them declare him restored and fit for society. This ceremony is described in Leviticus 14 and is another beautiful picture of Christ’s work for sinners.
The man did not obey Christ; he told everybody what the Lord had done! (Christ tells us to tell everybody, and we keep quiet!)
Jesus, heart of passion, seeking to save the most, comes down the mountain and bends down to the outcasts and restores them to full health.
That was Jesus. That IS Jesus.
Who are we as representatives of Jesus today?
Lord, Help us to follow your example of telling AND showing Your Words of Truth to the world. May Your Light and Love be reflected from us because of Your Light and Love is living in us. Don’t allow us to settle for hearing Your Word without doing what Your Word says.
In Jesus Name, Amen