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Matthew 7:28-8:4 (NIV)
28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
Jesus Heals a Man With Leprosy
8 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.”
Chapters 5-7 of Matthew’s Gospel contain the famous “Sermon on the Mount”. But the teachings of Jesus were different than what people were used to hearing as if he were delivering messages straight from God like Moses had done hundreds of years before. Then, immediately following his sermon, Jesus performs a series of miracles to solidify the divine authority of his teaching. His miracles will not let us off the hook and allow us to simply see him as a good teacher with nice things to say. They require a decision: will we submit to his divine authority or dismiss him altogether? The man with leprosy, a highly contagious disease, had no other options and so his hope brought him to Jesus. He needed someone not only with great power but great mercy and grace. The good news for him, and us is that Jesus was willing to use his divine authority and show divine grace to heal him and give him a new life. Do you need that grace and mercy? Does someone in your life? How will you respond to the authority of Jesus? Is he just amazing? Or someone who we should be putting our hope in?