And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.
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 7:28-8:4
Check out last week's sermon here.
We are currently in that season between winter and spring in which snow becomes water and dirt becomes mud. Just driving down a normal street can make your vehicle filthy. You have a deep desire to wash it, but you know that is vanity because until everything dries up it will just get dirty again. Imagine if life wasn’t that way. Imagine if instead of puddles of mud making your car dirty it was the other way around. What if when you hit a dirty puddle with your car, your car did not get dirty, but rather the puddle disappeared and the street became clean like your car. That would be amazing.
However, that is not how our fallen world works. When someone healthy touches someone with a cold, the sick person does not get healthy. In fact, it is likely that the healthy person will get sick. In our world when clean things touch dirty things, the clean thing gets dirty. Not the other way around.
Because of this universal truth of our broken world, the actions of Jesus in the beginning of Matthew 8 are all the more astounding. After hearing Jesus teach with great authority at the sermon on the mount, a leper approaches Jesus. In great faith this man, this dirty, sick man, goes to Jesus to be cleaned of his illness. His leprosy. His uncleanable mess. Without hesitation, the sinless son of God reaches out his hand and touches this man. But rather than Jesus becoming leperous, the man becomes clean like Christ. Christ turns reality on its head. Jesus makes the dirty clean simply by touching it.
This is good news for dirty people. Sin is a mess that we can not clean up ourselves. In fact, left to our own devices our individual sin makes the world and people around us even messier. Thankfully God does not leave us in our mess. We, by faith, can be made clean by the savior.
1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
This is a promise first for sinners. If we come to Christ asking to be made righteous he will wash away our sins. However, It is also a promise to believers. We can continue coming to Christ to be made clean. We do not need to live in the filth of our sin. When you find yourself living in sin not knowing what to do, start by turning to the one who teaches with astonishing authority. Confess your sins to Christ and be made righteous. Be touched by the savior. Be clean.