We study through books of the Bible at The Village Chapel. We have extra hardcover copies if you would like a Bible to read along with today’s message. Or you can sign on to the network in the building if you would like to follow along on your mobile device as we read seventeen verses from Matthew chapter eight this morning.
We have named our study of Matthew, “The King and His Kingdom”. Please note that Matthew is not the king, Jesus is, and Matthew continuously points us to Jesus in his gospel account.
Matthew, (named Levi earlier in his life) is a former tax collector and accountant. In line with his trade, he groups his data just like he would on a spreadsheet. One of my friends and council members here at the church is a money and spreadsheet type of guy. He thinks all the problems of the world can be solved on a spreadsheet. It seems like Matthew would be the type to be well skilled with the modern-day technology of spreadsheets as well. GL line number one, (that is “general ledger”, for both me and those who may not be as familiar with financial lingo) is listed as the person of Christ included in chapters one through four. General ledger line two, is where Matthew enters data concerning the principles of Christ, in the most famous of chapters, five, six, and seven that we call the Sermon on the Mount, our own time. Now, as we come to general ledger line three of Matthew’s gospel “spreadsheet” we begin analyzing data for chapters eight and nine. This data includes at least nine of the miracles of Jesus. These miracles will not just be about the principles of Christ, but also about the power of Christ. (I borrowed that alliteration from John Stott, who certainly is the king of alliteration and helps me to equip myself to remember).
We have already looked at the person of Christ and the principles of Christ. We now examine the power of Christ. To reflect on the words and works, words and deeds of Jesus, (of which we just recited in our catechism), and to set ourselves up for today’s study, I will quote Stott who says,
“In the ministry of Jesus, words and works, gospel preaching, and compassionate service went hand in hand. His works expressed His words. His words explained His works. It should be the same for us. Words are abstract, they need to be embodied in deeds of love. Works are ambiguous, they need to be interpreted by the proclamation of the gospel. Keep words and works together in the service and witness of the church.”
As we turn to the text now, would you pray our prayer for illumination with me? ‘Gracious, Holy God, give us diligence to seek you, wisdom to perceive you, patience to wait for you. Our Father, grant us a mind to meditate on your holiness, ears to behold your majesty, eyes, Lord that we might see truths that are timeless from your word. A heart to love you and a life that proclaims you. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, for the glory of Jesus Christ, our Lord, amen and amen.’
So, let’s look now at the first of the three miracles we will go through today in Matthew 8:1-17. I am going to read the entire passage and then we will come back through to pick it apart in study.
“When He had come down from the mountain, [remember we just studied the Sermon on The Mount], great multitudes followed Him. [So that’s ‘great’ and ‘multitudes’ together. I like the way that the adjectival modifier is in there to augment the description of great multitudes as opposed to regular multitudes, which is a lot of people following Jesus. I am reminded here that we do not always live up on the mountain in the Christian faith, we sometimes have to come down into the valleys and that is okay because Christ is with us in both highs and lows of life. Verse two:] Behold a leper came to Him and bowed down to Him saying, ‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.’ and stretching out his hand, He touched him saying, ‘I am willing, be cleansed.’ And immediately, [a word that I really love], Immediately, his leprosy was cleansed. Jesus said to him, ‘See that you tell no one, but go show yourself to the priest. Present the offering that Moses prescribed for a testimony to them.'”
Change of scene.
“And when he had entered Capernaum, a Centurion said to him, in treating him and saying, ‘Sir, my servant is lying paralyzed at home suffering great pain.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘I will come and heal him.’ But the Centurion answered and said, ‘Lord, I’m not qualified for you to come under my roof, but just say the word and my servant will be healed. For I too, am a man under authority with soldiers under me. And I say to this one go, and he goes. I say to another come, and he comes. And to my slave, do this, and he does it.’ And when Jesus heard this, he marveled. And Jesus said to those who were following, truly, I say to you, I’ve not found such great faith with anyone in Israel. And I say to you that many should come from east or west and recline a table with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast out into the outer darkness. And that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And then Jesus said to the Centurion, ‘go your way, let it be done to you as you have believed.’ And the servant was healed that very hour.
When Jesus had come to Peter’s home, [and this is in Capernaum], He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever. And He touched her hand and the fever left her and she arose and began to wait on him. When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon possessed, and He cast out the spirits with a word. And he healed all who were ill in order that what was spoken through Isaiah, the prophet, might be fulfilled, saying He himself took our infirmities and he carried away our diseases.”
We will stop there for today. Big questions stir up when you start reading about the miracles of Jesus. You ask if they really happened; if miracles are just myth and legend, or if it is really history. If Jesus could do these types of things, how was it possible given what we know about medicine and science? Can God heal diseases like this? Can He just say a word, and something happens miles away without Him even going there?
One of the things I have noticed as I have studied through the gospel accounts is that most every time Jesus heals somebody, He uses a method that He might not have used already. He does things like heal the blind by spitting in mud and rubbing it on people’s eyes. Yet with others, He heals by just touching them. Then for some people, He speaks words, and something happens just because He spoke a single word.
Here we have three miracles, one at the request of the ill person, one on behalf of another person who is ill, and one that was performed on someone who did not even ask. This sparks the interesting thought that the minute we try to template everything that Jesus does, He will have none of that. God will not be tamed. God is not on the end of our leash. Our prayers are requests, but they’re not commands.
I know there have been some strains of theology that have become quite popular, sold lots of books, and attracted huge crowds where people suggest that they can replace the sovereignty of God with the preferences of people. We will not teach that here because we do not want to mislead you. God is sovereign. There is not a single square inch of His universe of which He is not in charge and in full control. He has not misplaced one atom; He has not misplaced anything. He knows exactly what He is doing, and we can trust Him completely because of who He is and how unique He is. D.A Carson put it this way,
“The controlled universe reflected in the Bible, as God as both its creator and sustainer/ruler. He creates in an ordered way and sustains and rules in an ordered way, so that science is possible, but He’s not bound by what he has created. So, He is at perfect liberty to do things another way with the result that miracles are possible.”
I get excited about that. It is as if a painter could enter his painted canvas and become part of it, yet still be completely other. We just talked about how Jesus had these two natures, both human and divine. That is the kind of amazing mystery that we are talking about; that Jesus, the Son of God, could come and do these kinds of things. If He is the Son of God, as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all suggest, then so easy is it for Him to create everything out of nothing. The Gospel writers make really bold claims, such as when John said, “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God,” and Colossians 1 states, “That everything that has come into being came into being because of Him and through Him.” Jesus himself even claims over and over again that He is the Son of God. If it is true that cleansing a leper, healing from a distance, intervening in someone’s life who did not even ask to be healed, walking on water, and changing water to wine, then again so easy is it for this someone to create everything out of nothing. So, if you believe Genesis 1:1, which states that there was, at the beginning, a creator of some sort, (and there are many people who are not even Christians who believe there is some kind of deity who did indeed create the universe) then all of this, all of these miracles we read about Jesus performing would be a cakewalk for Him.
C.S. Lewis states that,
“The miracles in fact are retelling in small letters of the very same story, which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.”
Also, I think it was Chesterton who said,
“A man can be blind as something as long as it’s big enough.”
That is what happens with us. We do not always connect the dots. Miracles were not just tricks that Jesus performed, not just a bit of sensationalism. He is not simply trying to collect a huge crowd or receive a large offering of sorts, like some kind of a showman would. The miracles of Jesus actually had purpose. They reveal His compassion. I want to suggest to you as we watch each and every one of these miracles, and as we read through Matthew’s gospel, that Jesus really loved these people. You will see that specifically here in the text we have for today, His miracles display His authority. Throughout the gospels, we see He has authority and power over disease, over natural disasters, over demonic powers, like demons who possessed others and pushed their humanity way back, and lastly, over death itself. Again, He’s just the kind of savior we need. You need look no further; He really is the One.
The miracles of Jesus affirm His identity. Again, if He claims to be the Son of God, if He claims to be the Savior of the World, if He claims to be the Light of the World, the Good Shepherd, the Bread of Life, if He claims to have living water that will satisfy your soul, like none other in this world, one would think He could do this in His miracles. His miracles inspire faith, gratitude and worship, which is what you and I were created for. Worship is what we were created to do. And every single one of us, whether you are a believer or not, is a worshiper of something. The question is, is it God that we are worshiping? Or is it career, or self, or pleasure, or possessions, or opportunities, or social acclaim? It is important to reflect on that which we are worshiping because we all inevitably are worshiping something.
Let’s review the miracles we have just read one at the time. The setting is that Jesus has come down off the mountain, presumably after giving what we call the Sermon on the Mount, and great multitudes are following Him. He is in His hometown of Capernaum. I love that detail. We have been to Israel five times. There is even a sign outside of the city of Capernaum that says “Hometown of Jesus, of Nazareth”; just as you would see here in the United States, when a city is home to someone who is famous, or who is well known in that town. Capernaum is like that.
The event of this first miracle is that all of a sudden, a leper approaches. The crowd following Jesus probably parted like the Red Sea because a leper was considered very unclean. Today, leprosy is called Hansen’s disease named after the Norwegian scientist, Gerhard Hansen, who discovered the bacteria behind the disease. The terms “leprosy” and “Hansen’s disease” are relatively interchangeable. Today, fortunately antibiotics used during the treatment can kill the bacteria that cause leprosy, but while the treatment can cure the disease and prevent it from getting worse, it does not reverse nerve damage, nor any physical disfiguration that may have occurred prior to treatment.
That is what makes this miracle so unusual and amazing. Do you notice the word “immediately” in the text? Mark uses the word “immediately” approximately forty times in his gospel. Mark’s gospel is the short attention span theater gospel. It is for people like me who cannot pay attention for very long. That is “immediately”, “immediately”, “immediately”. There are always these big changes in the scene.
In the U.S., leprosy is rare according to the HRSA, (Health Resources and Services Administration). In 2020, there were 159 reported cases of leprosy. However, around the world, there are as many as two million people, many of whom are permanently disabled, because of leprosy. The highest concentration of people with leprosy is found in India, Southeast Asia, Africa, and believe it or not South America, Brazil in particular. Overall, the risk of getting Hansen’s disease for any adult around the world is very low. Scientists are not clear exactly on how it is transmitted, but they do know it spreads. And oddly enough, armadillos have been known to carry the bacteria that causes humans to come down with leprosy. (So, if you have a pet armadillo, just keep your eye on it).
There are two kinds of Hansen’s disease, tuberculoid leprosy, which has less severe symptoms which include flat or slightly raised, sharply demarcated skin lesions. This kind does not spread far and may recede or even disappear after a short period of time. The second kind of Hansen’s disease or leprosy is more life threatening and it is called “lepromatous”. This is likely the kind of leprosy the man in this miracle had since we know from Doctor Luke’s gospel account of this same story that the man was full of leprosy.
Lepromatous often begins with the loss of sensation in one part of the body, and then leads to the appearance of hardened nodules on the surface of the skin. These nodules eventually ulcerate and produce a foul discharge. The infected person’s eyebrows may fall out, vocal cords ulcerate, and the voice becomes gravelly or raspy. The breathing sounds like heavy wheezing. The hands and feet ulcerate, and then the muscles begin to waste away. The tendons contract and the hands may become like claws. In later stages of the disease, the fingers, toes, or even a whole hand, or a foot may drop off. Corneal ulcers or blindness can also occur. Facial nerves are also affected due to the loss of sensation of the cornea outside of the eye.
People with leprosy were considered outcasts at that time. They lived in isolation. They experienced a kind of “living death” as one commentator put it. Leprosy was not a disease one could ignore or hide for long. Paul Brandon and Philippe point out in their book, In His Image, that “the worst part about leprosy was that it took away the person’s God-given ability to feel pain.” So, a leper might put his hand on a hot fire or be bitten by a snake and not even know it.
Lepers became emotionally disconnected with their own bodies as those parts of their bodies became infected.
William Barclay, the old Scottish Bible commentator tells us that socially, lepers were complete outcasts in the first century. Lepers were banned from Jerusalem and all walled cities. If a leper put his head inside of a house, the entire house was declared unclean. No one was permitted to come within six feet of a leper. If the wind was blowing toward a person from the direction of a leper, the leper, by rule, must stand at least 150 feet away. One rabbi used to say that he would not eat an egg bought on a street on which a leper had passed, another rabbi boasted that he would throw stones at lepers to drive them away. Still, other rabbis upon seeing a leper in the distance would simply turn and run so as not to come in contact with the leper.
We must notice at least two things in this, first, the approach of the leper to Jesus. He came acknowledging his need. Try to imagine the day when the man first discovered the possibility that he had leprosy. Perhaps it was an itchy part of his skin that was flaking, and perhaps a lesion was forming there. He might have been at work, might have noticed the numbness in one of his fingers, which after several days did not go away, and then another finger went numb. Some skin problems developed and then suddenly it became clear what was happening. He was sent home from work told not to come back until the priest would confirm that he was clean. At home, he stood outside the house, yelled through the window to his wife and through his own tears, he asked her to bring out a change of clothes, some food, some money, and to set them down in the street. He tells her that he must leave immediately, without notice, and he could not kiss her goodbye. He could not stroke her beautiful face. He could not touch his nose to his daughter’s nose that day. He could not wrestle with his boys in the front yard, without notice, because of leprosy. He must leave everything and everyone he cares about and live in a leper colony with the rest of the outcasts until the day he dies, isolated and wretchedly unhappy.
However, here in Matthew 8, probably years later because he was now full of leprosy, this infected man is hiding behind a rock, just full of disease. He sees the crowd coming. He is wrapped in bloody rags and bandages, wheezing, and coughing. He stumbles out from behind the rock and approaches Jesus. The crowd gasped and was repulsed in horror. Most of the crowd shrank back to avoid contact, while turning their heads in revulsion at the sight of the hideous man wrapped in rags. Some picked up rocks and thought maybe they would need to drive him away, but this outcast intentionally faced this because he was desperate. So, he lunged ahead, bowed before Jesus and with a raspy voice, he garbled out the words, “Lord, if you are willing, you can heal me.” Yet, what was the demeanor of Jesus when this man approached? We will see shortly.
This man came in humility. He came, showed respect, and expressed confidence in Jesus. Kneeling, bowing, and using words like sir, (which I know some more liberal scholars say that just means “mister”, but the context here will not permit that, because one does not approach just any “mister” and ask him to cleanse him from leprosy. One does not approach just any “sir” and say, “if you are willing, you can make me clean”. One does not risk having rocks thrown at him for just any other man.) When you are that desperate, like this guy is, you come before Jesus like the poor in spirit. And it is Jesus who says that the poor in spirit are blessed. It is Jesus who says that theirs is the kingdom of heaven. So, the sick man shows respect, and he has confidence in Christ.
I will remind you now that faith is only as good as the object of your faith. I can have all the faith in the world in this chair up here for example, but if somebody has loosened one of the legs and I come in and plop myself down on it, it does not matter how much faith I have, it is not about the amount of faith, it about the object of your faith. We are taught this over and over again in the New Testament; it is not about how much. As a matter of fact, Jesus makes this point clear when He says, “You can have faith as small as a mustard seed”. If your faith is in the right object, then you are showing respect and you are properly directing your faith in the right One. You do not need to look any further, He really is the One. The question then is will, (and this man comes with that same proper perspective where he is saying “your will be done” essentially just as Jesus taught us to pray).
Now let’s turn our attention to the response of Jesus. Jesus saw the man; He did not just see a leper. Everybody else saw a disease. Everybody else saw a problem coming their way. Jesus saw a man. This makes us ponder if we are like Jesus in that regard for all the “outcasts” in our lives and in our society. I also want you to know that if you feel like an outcast, you just need to come to Jesus. He is your hope. He is the healing that we ultimately need. Whether He heals us physically or not, He is the one we need to put our hope and trust in, because ultimately one day He promises to set all things right. What we are looking for is what He can do. Jesus saw the man. He did not just see a problem, but I also need to see others the same way Jesus does, and not as “repugnant others”. I do not believe there should be any repugnant others if you are a Christian. So, if people vote the other way, or are atheists, or are wretched people who yell and scream, and their dog barks in the neighborhood all day long, even then there is no “repugnant others”.
Jesus got personally involved, stretching out His hand, Jesus touched him. All eyes are on Jesus when this connection goes down. Everybody who has recoiled by picking up stones is then amazed by what happens next. The crowd had to be shocked and horrified that Jesus would now touch this guy, because touching a leper was forbidden. In their minds, Jesus is risking contracting the horrible disease while He should first and foremost care about His own well-being. Touching the leper meant that Jesus would be banished at least for a while from the temple because He had become unclean. There has never been a disease that so isolated someone from the rest of humanity is this one. Yet it is to that kind of person that Jesus extended His hands and touched him.
The Greek verb for “touch” is “hapto” and it is more than just a glancing touch. There is even one commentator who suggests that Jesus grabbed the man, as you would grab hold of somebody who has fallen off a cliff and you are trying to raise him up over the back to the top of the mountain. The leper would have been thrilled to be touched by somebody. He has probably gone years without feeling touch. He has missed the touch of his family, his wife, his kids, and now somebody touches him. Then Jesus restored the man.
What is fascinating is that if this man is full of leprosy, his nose is gone because it’s been eaten away, his ears are gone, his fingers have fallen off, but immediately when Jesus touches him, he becomes clean; (and by the way, instead of Jesus becoming unclean, the man became clean by this touch). That is what Jesus does. I would just love to have been there. Immediately, there is no “do this, and then four hours of that”, “change the bandages”, “do this”, “do that”, no immediately, let’s say his name is Eddie, is back in action. He is cleansed. It is undeniable. It is not a shell game. It is not the kind of thing you see sometimes on televangelist type things that are swirling. Jesus does not throw coats at people. That is one of the things Jesus does not do. Immediately this guy is healed, and it is remarkable.
So much about this is remarkable. Leprosy is like sin in many ways. Both are a wretched condition of the body and a wretched condition of the soul. Sin eats away at our soul and our humanity. The question is then, will we turn to Jesus? Will we turn to Him? Jesus recommissioned the newly healed man. He said, “go to the priest and tell the priest about it. Show yourself to the priest.” I am wondering about this, and a lot of commentators speculate about it, but did Jesus recommission the man so that he would be fulfilling religious rules, or did Jesus have something else in mind? He said, “go show the priest, as a testimony to the priest, that the Son of God has actually come”, because we do not have very many records of lepers going before the priest to follow the ancient mosaic rule of going to say, “hey, look, I’m clean now”. So maybe for the first time in this priest’s life, here comes Eddie walking in, and he has got all his digits, and he is smiling, and he knows he is going to get to go home and see his wife and kids and maybe even go back to work. Could it have been a testament? Jesus says to him, “do not tell anyone, but go see the priest.” Part of my job as a pastor and as a Bible teacher is that I get to state the obvious, and then restate the obvious again and again. Some of you might awaken to this one day and say, “we don’t really need him to do that” but let me state the obvious here. Isn’t it ironic that Jesus tells this man not to tell anyone, and He goes and tells everyone, but Jesus tells us to tell everyone, and we hardly tell anyone? I think that is meant to make us all a little bit uncomfortable.
Take note now of the Centurion servant in verses five through thirteen, (it is interesting this section gets a little more text). This is the Roman occupying government. The New Testament has three contexts: the religious context is Jewish, the cultural context is Greek, (and everybody is speaking Greek all throughout the Roman Empire), and then the political context of the New Testament is basically Roman. It is this Roman empire all around the Mediterranean, so this Centurion represents the oppressive, heavily taxing, even cruel in many cases, Roman Empire. Yet he comes to Jesus. This Centurion would have been one of over a hundred soldiers, part of a Legion, which would have been more like 6,000 soldiers there at the time. He would have been considered an outsider to the Jews of this day.
With the Roman government being as oppressive and cruel as it was, it is interesting and ironic to note that of all the six different events that happen in the New Testament where Centurions are mentioned, there seems to be a positive thing that happens in the context of the storyline. There is this man, and then the Centurion who recognized Christ on the cross and said, “surely this man is the Son of God”. In the book of Acts, we read about a Centurion named Cornelius, the first Gentile convert to the Christian Church. Then there was a Centurion who suddenly discovered that Paul was a Roman citizen and rescued him from the fury of a rioting mob in the book of Acts. And then again there was a Centurion who traveled with Paul all the way when he wanted to go to Rome. So, each time there is something kind of positive that is stated about these Centurions.
With this Centurion, it is a remarkable thing that he even cared about the life of his servant at all, because his servant was considered property, not a person, but just property. In that day and time, (I am not saying that it is right, I am simply saying that in that day and time this guy could have just said, “you are sick, you are ill” and just set him out on the street to let him waste away). That is what he could have done and been well within his “legal rights” to do that. This is a good reminder that just because something is legal does not mean it is right. A master could treat the slave who had become sick and could no longer work as nothing more than damaged property, yet here is this Centurion showing respect, caring for the life of a servant, and even humbling himself before this Jewish man who does not have a seminary degree, is not one of the known leaders, but just seems to be the source of this movement.
When Jesus heard this man’s plea, verse ten says He marveled. Again, I get to state the obvious, but when you are Jesus, my guess is you do not do a lot of marveling. Jesus created everything that exists, and yet the text says, “He marveled”, and this is because throughout the Bible, we often find faith where we do not expect to find it, and we do not find faith where we do expect to find it. That is the case here.
Jesus then heals Peter’s mother-in-law. We all have struggled to approach God for healing, or for some other great need that we might have, but notice this one, where nobody asked, nobody asked on behalf of her, and she did not even ask for healing for herself. Jesus just intruded, He just invaded. Just like he did with the widow of Nain’s son who had died, where He saw the funeral procession and was moved by compassion. Jesus walks up, interrupts the whole event and literally raises the kid from the dead. Nobody asked.
This says so much about Jesus. He sees needs and responds to needs. Whether you are an outcast who needs to be brought back in, an outsider who needs to be welcomed in, or you are somebody who thinks all is lost, He responds to those needs. This was Peter’s mother-in-law who was a sick, possibly dying woman in a culture that did not respect women. But Jesus steps in. The last couple of verses that we read in this passage, show us how Jesus fulfills ancient prophecies. Look at verses sixteen and seventeen,
“When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon possessed. He cast out the spirits of the word, healed all who were ill in order that,” Matthew’s so good at this, “what was spoken through Isaiah, the prophet might be,” and here’s one of Matthew’s favorite words: “fulfilled.”
He himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases. It’s so beautiful.
We just covered three specific miracles of Jesus here, where He heals the outcast, the outsider, and the obsolete. I have no idea where you are in your own life with God, or in your spiritual journey, but this is the kind of savior the Bible is presenting to you. This is the kind of redeemer. This is the kind of healer. This is what the God of the Bible is all about. Please do not get your theology from movies or popular books that are fictional accounts of something. Just go right to the source. Matthew was an eyewitness, this is a guy who sat around the campfire with Jesus who heard him preach things like the Sermon on The Mount, who walked the dusty trails with him, who saw these things happen. That is who you should get your record of when you are trying to figure out who Jesus is. In Christ, as Matthew says, the outcast is loved and cleansed. In Christ, the outsider is welcomed in and healed. In Christ, the obsolete are renewed and recommissioned.
“The Bible tells us that God did not originally make the world to have disease, hunger, and death in it. Jesus has come to redeem what is wrong and heal the world where it is broken. His miracles are not just proof that He has power, but also wonderful foretastes of what He is going to do with that power. Jesus’ miracles are not just a challenge to our minds, but a promise to our hearts that the world we all want is coming”. So said Tim Keller, in “The Reason for God”.
I will close with this quote from Dane Ortlund from “Gentle and Lowly”.
“For all His resplendent glory and dazzling holiness, His supreme uniqueness and otherness, no one in human history has ever been more approachable than Jesus Christ”.
If you have not turned to Jesus, these three miracles here, remind us that He is the One we should turn to. He is the One we should come to. No matter what our lot in life may be, whether everything is fine, everything is wonderful, but yet you still have that haunting hollowness inside your soul that there must be more than this, or whether things are really difficult right now and you are perhaps mentally struggling or emotionally confused about something, or perhaps wrestling with some great physical illness, or some financial catastrophe has happened, in any case, we turn to Him, we come to Him. He really is all that we have wanted and all that we need. It does not mean that in every case, He is going to snap His fingers and remove the undesirable circumstances. Sometimes, the healing work that He does looks like that, but sometimes it simply looks like a peace that passes all understanding. Where you have no idea why you feel at peace in the middle of the storm that you are going through, or a great loss that you are suffering. Sometimes it looks like that, and it is still Him pouring his glory through it. It’s a beautiful thing and a transcendent thing because it is from Him.
Let’s turn to Him now in prayer. ‘Lord, thank you for who you are. The heart that you have for us, toward sinners, such as we are. All of us, in some way outcast, all of us, in some way outsiders, all of us, in some way desperate for meaning and purpose in life and feeling obsolete in some way. Lord, as we turn to you this morning and trust and hope in you, I pray, first, that it will be you we turn to and not just what you can give us. But Lord, we would say, ‘if you are willing’, Lord, we have great confidence in who you are because of what you have done in the past. And all these small miracles that point to that great one where you burst forth from the tomb, the resurrection Lord, you have shown us you can defeat our last and greatest enemy. And so, we turn to you. Grant us the faith that leads to repentance. Grant us, Lord, a clearer vision of your truth, a greater faith in your power and a more confident assurance of your love toward us. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen and amen.’
(Transcript is edited for reading.)