Happy new year!!! Yes I said happy new year because this is my first post for the year. I’m so excited to be able to share again. These past couple of months I have thought I would have a post for you pretty much every week, and my notes have been full, but I can’t share anything unless prompted to do so. So, here goes. I really do hope you’re as excited to read as I am excited to write this. This is going to be a long read (as usual), so please pace yourself.
Today’s post is inspired by the book of Matthew chapter 8. See that whole chapter has different snippets of God’s goodness and Mehn, I can’t help but share. I am familiar with this chapter but God showed me something new today and I pray your eyes of understanding are open to see something packed in it as well. Thing is, the various gospel accounts (i.e. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) have similar stories but they had different ways of telling their stories. At first when I read this chapter, I thought God was taking me in a different direction, so this post would have been titled “The God of All.” Upon further study, I realized that was but a fraction of what He wanted to show. So let’s unpack the wonderful mysteries in this chapter. I will only focus on two of the miracles Jesus did as opposed to everything in the chapter (Just so you know, at some point while reading this chapter, I got mad at the disciples but God showed me I was only looking at a mirror of myself. Again, I digress).
The leprous man in Matthew 8 is someone to be emulated. If you’ve ever read the book of Leviticus you would know why it’s amazing how brave this man is. You see, God instructed Moses that anyone who is considered a leper had to stay outside the camp, maybe for the rest of their lives or until they are healed. If you’ve also read the Bible well, from the Old Testament to the New Testament you would know how much people valued the law. So how come this man was breaking everything to get to Jesus. I can imagine that if these people were ever to mix with others, it would be with their family or at the market place to buy things they need for sustenance. Jesus, during His time on earth, was highly regarded (at least by many). It’s somewhat intriguing, yet scary, what this man had to do to get to Jesus. He overcame all obstacle…. the ridicule, name calling, fear, pretty much everything just to get to Jesus. He was ready to get through it all because He had heard what Jesus could do.
Now imagine what you would have done if you had to overcome all these obstacles. Being the kind of person that I am Sir, I think I would like to tell You all that I had to endure to get to where I am right now. See, we always feel the need to give God the context. Basically all we are doing is telling God I ran through all these hurdles and they must not be in vain so I have to leave with my miracle. And I’m not against you expressing yourself to God, but the question is are you doing it to let Him know (what He already knows) or are you doing it to defy all odds? Are you confident like this leprous man that irrespective of what happens, I need to get to Jesus? This man fascinates me so much because He didn’t do all the things expected of him (at least by me). Rather, he decided to start a conversation with Jesus. He didn’t go demanding his miracle, he asked instead. Some of us are entitled (yeah, I went there). We believe we deserve the miracle so we start to command God. But this man, no, he went to Jesus and said, “If You are willing, make me clean.” Uncle, please come back here. What do you mean if you are willing? Shouldn’t it be, “I know You can, so make me clean.” The thing shook my body. Why would you say that? I don’t get the logic behind it. Then the Holy Spirit ministered something about the man’s action into my spirit……“What he did was submit himself to God’s will.” I calmed down big time. Then I read again. This time not looking to understand with my understanding but by God’s spirit. I went back and read that the man knelt first (symbolic to prayer, also shows his humility). By simply doing that, he acknowledges his situation- he is unclean and shouldn’t have been there in the first place. He also acknowledges Jesus’ ability to heal him. However, he doesn’t want to be healed just because he overcame all those hurdles and got there, not because he had heard stories of what Jesus had done in the past, but because Jesus wanted to do it. What this man really did was unveil the heart of God for His people. Of course Jesus is willing. The same applies to us, God is always willing to help, provided we are interested in His will for us. One thing God also made me know while I was pondering on the significance of His will in our situation is that, “It is harder to accept God’s will when you are going through a tough time (especially when people can see it).” Be mindful of going to your default setting of complaining and questioning if God sees you. Rather, thank God for His unseen hands.
This made me wonder how often I pray about my situation without going the way this man did. Let me break down His prayer for us; “Jesus, I know You are able to make me clean because You have all power in heaven and on earth. However, I don’t want anything I wouldn’t be able to give You credit for. I need everyone to see clearly that it is from You. Therefore, for Your glory, make me clean.” This seems a lot longer than his original statement but this is really what he was saying and Jesus got the message. You know how I know? Jesus touched him. See, he touched the heart of Jesus and it was important to let the man know that He understood. The Bible records that straightaway, the man received his healing. As soon as he submitted the situation to Jesus, the response was instantaneous. Then Jesus asked him to go make the required offering (not because Jesus needed it, we do not supply God’s needs, it’s the other way around), because that will show everyone what Jesus has done. Now look at Jesus’ action and look at that expanded prayer again. One thing to know, testimonies are important to God (Check Revelations 12:11).
Now back to Matthew 8, we see another approach to submitting to God’s will and it has been proven by both methods that they work. You can approach God whichever way works for you. The next miracle Matthew documents is the one with the Roman officer. There is an immediate contrast between both lives. The Roman officer was not sick, he was a gentile (a gentile at the time is an unbeliever, we know this because Jesus immediately speaks about the lack of faith of the Jews after His encounter), he had a good social standing. All things seemed to be working well for this man, but he cared enough for his servant that he was willing to go against his beliefs to get the servant better.
Upon his approach, he told Jesus about his servant and because Jesus must have seen his compassion for the servant, He offered to go to his house. This man’s response also shocked me. Hello, why would you say no when Jesus asks to come to your house? What a privilege it would be to host Jesus in your house. But this man said no. Not because he was against Jesus, but because he felt unworthy (Thank God for grace that has made such an unworthy person like me to be able to host Jesus everyday). He also said no because he understood the place of authority as he had people under his command. You can’t tell me he was able to say what he said that day just because he was a man of authority. I would rather call him a man of understanding than a man of authority. He understood that there was power in the words of Jesus. He told Jesus, “You don’t have to come to my house for my servant to be healed, but speak the word only.” What he was saying to Jesus was, “I understand how Your ministry works. You have authority over sickness and it doesn’t matter where You are, Your power works. You don’t have to come all the way to give the same command You can give from here.”
Do you, like the Roman officer understand how God’s ministry works? Do you realize that your mouth can’t be shut when you’re going through things? Jesus said He has given us the same power that He has. So if He can say it, so can you. Interestingly, Jesus commended this man for his faith, and for understanding the role of words in His ministry. If you wouldn’t open your mouth against that situation, you not only risk not getting an answer to your prayer, you also risk getting weighed down by it. Just like the leprous man, the Roman officer’s servant’s miracle was instantaneous.
P.S: It is not enough to have faith for the situation, you also have to know that God can and is willing to step in.
With all my love,