In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, He expressed what God’s true expectation for His people was. From a perspective of daily life, Jesus defined the projected and plotted course for His people. To be citizens of the kingdom of Heaven, we were to be a special people, with special goals, belonging to the king. With that citizenship came responsibilities that were to be exhibited through the coordinated activity of our hearts and our actions. A primary focus of our actions, beside the spiritual approach to our loving Father, was the observable way we would engage and value our fellow man. In Matthew 8 we see further illustrations and explanations of those same lessons.
There was then, as there has always been, a population of people in the world that is often overlooked and forgotten. Some might even be called “outcasts” since their real contributions are often not considered or valued. In Matthew 8:1-4, we see that Jesus was not afraid of those with affliction. He dealt with lepers in the same loving way He dealt with everyone else. Leprosy had often been used as an illustration of the impact of sin. From the way it spreads and destroys, to how sin appears to God’s spiritual eye, leprosy is seen as the standard picture of a decaying soul. When Jesus touched the leper, He conveyed healing to an otherwise hopeless condition. This is exactly what He does for each of us. He overcomes the possibility of personal cost, for the sake of saving our souls. The sickly and unproductive in society are valued enough to approach with a loving touch and a merciful gesture of healing.
The centurion’s servant was healed in Matthew 8:5-13. Soldiers are often people of honor and duty and obligation beyond themselves. In this case a servant was very ill. This man’s current status would seem to be an obstacle to his approaching Jesus. He was a leader of the world’s greatest fighting force. He was trusted and empowered to wield great political and military strength. He was a Gentile. A person isolated from God, and lost to Heaven as a reward of salvation. Twice Jesus marveled in the New Testament. Once at the unbelief of the Jews in Mark 6:6, and here at the faith of the Centurion. We find a man of war seeking the aid of the ultimate Man of Peace. The diversity here is astounding. It seems to represent the extreme difference between the violently/sinfully lost man who is need of his own healing and the peace-bringing Savior who holds eternity for us all.
We finally see Peter’s mother-in-law healed in Matthew 8:14-17. We see Peter, Jesus, and Andrew all converge on the home after worshipping at the synagogue. (Mark 1:21) Women didn’t rank very highly on the list of Pharisaical urgency, and was unlikely they would have attended her. Yet, Jesus healed her with a touch. Not a phone call, a letter, a text, or an email. Jesus made a personal visit to her bedside and took time to show her the love and priority she deserved. God takes time for the insignificant (to the world), the lonely, and the lost. He doesn’t concern himself with the social status of a person, as if He might be affected by some adverse contact with someone in need. He doesn’t concern himself with the social/political issues which so often divide even good people. He only cares about those who are in need of love and mercy. That, by the way, is each and every one of us. From the socially prominent, to the less advantaged in life, Jesus loves each one of us. We are his beloved creation, and He is our holiest sacrifice and ultimate Savior.
It’s possible, in today’s world, you feel lost or alone or insignificant. The truth is that Jesus values your life and its substantial contribution. He honors your place in this world and in the divine plan. He seeks to serve you in the greatest hour of your need. He will touch the lost, heal the isolated, and raise up the forgotten. We serve a loving and risen Savior! Godspeed on your journey.