It's not what I have[.] It's what I have to give. A blog about resources--gaining, giving, and sharing.

09 May 2011

Matthew 8:1-3 – This is the Test

6:49 AM Posted by steve flores , 4 comments
By the nature of what I do every Thursday, I feel I’m living a test.  Likewise, by the confession of Whom I follow or the indication of the “religious” tab on the info page of my Facebook account, I also feel like I’m living a test.  Thursday nights I speak to students to live right and follow scripture.  When I get off the stage, I believe they are looking to see whether I follow what I said.  Likewise, I’m a Christian, so I believe people wonder if I look like Jesus.  My life is a test.  My actions determine the grade.  And although Jesus gives grace, people are not so willing to lavishly give the grace Jesus gives.  My grade can hurt them, the Cause, and ultimately my influence. 

Matthew 8:1-3 reads this way,

When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him.
Jesus was coming down the same mountain He has been on since the Beatitudes – the Sermon on the Mount, chapter 5.  From chapters five through seven of Matthew, Jesus was flipping the world upside-down with His words.  Here are some of the concepts:
“You have a purpose – salt and light.” 
“Watch your words when you’re angry – it’s like murder.” 
“Lust is like committing adultery and the consequences are severe.”
“Give to the needy.”
“Love your enemies.”
“Fasting is important.”
“Don’t judge others.”
“Do for others what you wish they would do for you.”
“Follow my words.” 
Those were great teachings, but they hadn’t been tested.  He was on top of a mountain - He hadn't interacted with people yet.  I wonder if people thought, “This is powerful stuff, but are you going to be like those hypocrites (Pharisees) who tell us to do things, yet they themselves don’t follow what they say?”  Things are not much different from those days; people are still skeptical…and probably have just cause.  

And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”
This is the test.  Jesus talked about not judging others, but also inspecting fruit.  Would He judge the leper?  Would He prove to be all talk and no walk?  Was He about to trash all that He had said on that mountaintop right here in this moment on the mountainside?   Would you blame Him?  I mean, He’s talked a long time and He needs rest.  Jesus meant what He said, but now is not a good time.  Can you imagine if one of “His people” said that to the man with leprosy?  Jesus would have lost all credibility – bad fruit. 

And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
A+.  Try not to focus on the leper being healed, although that was miraculous.  Focus on the leper being touched, heard, and talked to.  You have to know a brief background to lepers in scripture – they were outcasts.  They weren’t talked to or touched.  They were ignored.  Again, had Jesus done what was expected, then EVERYTHING He said would have been null and void!  Great speech, horrible execution.

Before you start your day, think about this.  I wonder if we realize the test we're given every day because of how we identify ourselves as followers of Jesus?  We’re accustomed to hearing a beep on the TV followed by these words, “This is a test.  This is only a test.”  Our actions are not only a test or just a test, but it is the test.