Made Clean – by Desmond Ford

Jun 1, 2016 1651

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After Matthew records the Sermon on the Mount, he tells the story of the leper who came to Jesus, crying “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean” (Mt 8:2). The other synoptic gospels place this story of the leper’s being cleansed before the Sermon. Why does Matthew place it here? If you will excuse the expression, I call it “blessed chronological placement.”

Whoever reads the Sermon on the Mount honestly, dwindles. Christ’s Sermon calls upon us to pray for our enemies, to bless those who curse us, do good to them that hate us. We are never to worry, never to have two masters, to seek first the kingdom of God, and to put our treasures in heaven. We start out tall, at six feet. When we’ve heard the Sermon and its requirements, we end up as six-inchers. If you read the Sermon on the Mount honestly, you are cut down to size.

You feel like the leper. Which is why Matthew ends the Sermon with the leper crying, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

When you read the Sermon on the Mount honestly, you will want to come to Jesus. You will say, ”I’d like to be doing that but I’m a long way short. I am yet a leper, Lord. Make me clean.”

Jesus will respond, “I am willing. Be clean!” (Mt 8:3). He will show us his cross, and, as we accept it, we will be clean “immediately” (Mt 8:3), in a moment.

And in God’s good time, he will give us the virtues and the lifestyle of this Sermon. The virtues and values of this Sermon are what the Christian must ever aim for; yet the Christian never places trust in its fulfillment. Our hope of eternal life is in trusting what Jesus has done, never in what we are doing.

It is only as we come to Christ as lepers that he will make us clean.

– Des Ford. Rom 8:27-32. Adapted from “Christ’s Recipe for Lasting Happiness Part 3 ”

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