“When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” Matthew 8:1-4
There has been a recent flood of news regarding the numerous cases of those who have tested positive for the HIV/AIDS virus, primarily in the Adult Entertainment business. I was just recently reading an article on Yahoo News about the adult film star that recently tested positive for the HIV virus. She explains how some of the required rules and restrictions have been abandoned by some of these Adult Film Studios, risking the safety of their performers. The adult film industry has, with great wisdom, placed strict guidelines for every studio to follow. One of them is ensure that every performer is tested every 30 day for STD’s, and other diseases and that the results are reported to the national database for all performers. In this recent infection, the female actor was unaware that her male actor actually tested positive for HIV a few days before shooting the film. The studio knew his test result but failed to inform anyone, and did not stop the actor from preforming.
I’m not going to bash this girl for doing what she does. Obviously, porn is a perverse and sinful industry to partake in and I don’t think I need to elaborate on that. However, the challenges that this woman will have to face from now on will be great. Imagine yourself in her shoes for a moment. The day before, everything seemed quite normal. You were living you normal day to day routine, going to work like you do everyday, living life with family and friends like always…. But suddenly you get the news that you are positive for HIV. They tell you that HIV is not curable, and it will eventually kill you if you don’t take the necessary precautions. You life has just been rocked…. What was once your normal day to day has changed forever, you will never be the same.
I don’t have HIV, but I have something worse. Something that, unlike HIV, cannot even be treated with medication. And guess what…..? You have it too! What is this incurable disease. It called Sin. I have been infected, and you have been infected, and there is no earthly cure. As we look at Matthew 8, we see a Jesus who cures a man with leprosy. Leprosy was a terrible disease that kept you from having a normal life. If you were a leper, by law, you had to live alone outside of the city or camp. No one could touch or be near you, unless they risk becoming ceremonially unclean. You could not worship, if you came to the tabernacle or temple you would risk death. You had to walk around with long messy hair, and torn clothes, and you had to cover you mouth and yell “unclean, unclean” so that anyone near you would know exactly who you were. You lived that way until your disease healed up, which was not often because there is no medical treatment at this time. You lived in seclusion, abandoned by all people. Here in these few verses, Jesus does the unthinkable. He touches this leprous man and heals him. He show the people who were following him, and he shows us why he is authoritative. He shows us why we should listen and take heed of all the things he just said in his sermon on the mount. Jesus breaks the law, and the social norms and heals a very desperate and faithful man. I won’t get into the faithful response of the leper but there is truth we can glean from the lepers response also.
Jesus heals those with disease. But he didn’t stop there. As you read through Matthew’s gospel, you see Jesus healing the blind, raising the dead, healing others who are sick in their bodies, feeding thousands. Jesus heals….
But he didn’t stop there, there was one disease that he was not able to simply lay his hands on and heal. There was one disease that required of him a little more than spit and a ball of mud. This disease would take his very life. Brothers and sisters, my sin and your sin required blood…. HIS blood. Jesus endured the pain and anguish of the cross that was required to heal the disease of Sin, He rescued us from death. Glory be to God, cause he didn’t stop there…
Jesus heals completely. He resurrected, proclaiming victor over all things! Not only has he given us a cure for our disease, but he has made us better, stronger, mightier than we were before he administered the cure! This news should elicit a response. How great is our God, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is a balm for our souls! How will you respond?