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Matthew 8: 1-4 – Week 12 Ordinary Time, Friday (King James Audio Bible KJV, Spoken Word)

1 WHEN he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him.
2 And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
3 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
4 And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

We are reminded once more in this Gospel reading of the huge numbers of people who flock to Jesus. Jesus’ fame and popularity are extraordinary, while his mission proceeds at what we might think an incredibly fast pace. There is such need on the part of the people for salvation, no matter the extent of their consciousness as to how Jesus asks to save us all.

Leprosy in Jesus’ time was a name for a range of disfiguring skin conditions, including what we now call leprosy. The leper would be unclean, excluded from society and from religious life in Israel. His leprosy would be considered a sign of sin.

In reading the leper’s story in the Gospel, as he comes to Jesus to worship him, in humility and trust, begging to be make clean, we are reminded that we are all sinners who need God’s forgiveness and grace. We are reminded also of just how ugly our sins are before God, of their being an offence to His goodness.

Additionally, we are reassured, by these verses as by the whole of the Bible, that God’s mercy is always there for us – that God so desired our redemption that He sent His only Son into the world, to call all mankind to the Kingdom. All we need do is listen to Jesus, do what he tells us, ask to be washed clean of our iniquity, repent and follow the Lord.

Immediately, at Jesus’ word, the leprosy is healed. Jesus’ words have, consistently, this very direct power – they effect a new reality. Jesus now does not seek to separate the healed man’s new life from the Jewish community. Rather, Jesus asks the man to say nothing about what has happened but to go instead and show the Jewish priest that he is clean now. The man’s cure could then be registered by the Jewish priest, and he could be restored to the civic and religious life of Israel.
Jesus’ hour is not yet come when his saving resurrection should be proclaimed to everybody, and when the faith, the religion, of all should be transformed. There is much teaching, and much healing, to be done first, perhaps we may think to till the ground from which the world-saving message would in due time spring, to be made clear to everybody.

7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. (1 John 4: 7-11)

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King James Audio Bible | Miracle | Prayer | Healing | King James Version

Concluding Prayer

God of power and mercy,
who willed that Christ your Son should suffer for the salvation of the world,
grant that your people may strive to offer themselves to you as a living sacrifice,
and may be filled with the fulness of your love.
We make our prayer through our Lord.