God’s Cleansing Power

After preaching, Jesus came down the hillside followed by a large crowd. A leper approached Him, knelt before Him worshiping, and pleaded, “if You want to, You can cleanse me”. Jesus touched the man, and said to him “I am willing, be clean”. And instantly the leper was healed.
The law of Moses gave detailed instructions about the cleansing of lepers and even their residence, see Leviticus 13 – 14. The Levitical Priesthood had the duty to carry out these rules whenever a leper approached them. The legal specifics were long & drawn out with time consuming details. In the gospels, the lepers come to Jesus, who is not a priest, but was the obvious source of power when the Priests failed in their duty. Jesus was actually overriding the authority of the law, when he touched a leper, instead of breaking the law, he was over-riding it because of his instantaneous success. He wasn’t acting like a priest, but he was speeding up the process beyond anyone’s expectations. Why did he do this so powerfully? Because he was “moved with compassion”, Mk.1:41. His divine compassion would not allow him to become unclean by touching the leper, instead, the leper instantly became wholly clean!
There is no natural remedy, or self-cure, nor topical ointments that could touch the depths of this bacterial infection. This lack of a cure, however, did not mean that people were not cleansed of the disease. God healed Naaman by having him wash seven times in the Jordan (Lk. 4:27 & 2nd Kings 5) What is impossible with men, is possible with God. Leprosy was an inward disease, Even though you saw leprosy on the outside of the body, the real cause of the disease was lying beneath the surface. The sores and other problems were symptoms of the disease, but the cause ran deeper still. Sin is precisely the same. Sin proceeds from a sinful heart. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. – Matthew 15:19. Just like the leper would have the disease long before it even began to show, sin does its work in us well before others may ever see it. It often starts with secret sins, when we are ignorant of sin’s consequences. Then it begins to show itself in public sin, then when we defend and justify our sin, it starts to fester and putrefy, it all starts from within. James 1:14-15
The fact that Jesus touched the leper (Mt. 8:3) is astounding because if anyone else had come in contact with a leper, they would have become unclean. Jesus, however, touches the leper, and the opposite happens; the leper becomes clean. We are sinners deserving judgment, and God being a just God must punish sin. It is by His loving will that His merits are applied to us. We should ‘fear’, because He does not reach out with His healing hand and touch just anyone; We should ‘hope’, because He very frequently touches the most miserable. He bore the wrathful justice that sin deserved when the Father sent his Son to the cross. For those who have faith in Jesus, their sins can be forgiven because their just punishment was placed upon Christ. God will judge every sin, and His wrath will either be poured out on the sinner or upon Christ in their place. This substitution is why God can be both just and the justifier of sinners. How do we receive this cleansing? Are there works of righteousness we must fulfill to merit this forgiveness? The answer is no. But back in Lev. 13 we see a picture of how Jewish Priests could declare cleansing. Now, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” – 1 John 1:9. This is the point of Jesus sending the leper straight to the Priesthood, proving to the Nation, that their God-given authority was coming to an end, Luke 5:12-15.

The Goal of God’s Power, Luke 5:3-10

One day, the crowds at the sermon of Jesus were so large, he had to get into Peter’s boat and teach off the shore of Lake Galilee. When Jesus finished speaking He told Simon to go out in the deeper water and let down his nets. Simon replied “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if You say so, we will try again”. And this time the nets were so full, they began to tear. A shout for help brought in another boat and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking. It was during this miracle Jesus told his closest disciples, “Do not be afraid, from now on you will be fishing for people’s souls. See Jude v23. Never forget that in their day, the fishermen were only as good as their nets, if it tore, getting help was urgent & mandatory. Fellowship in fishing for the souls of men is a necessity. No Christian does this by yourself, even an apostle needed an apostleship. They had miraculous power and eye-witness testimony, but working as a team is still mandatory. 

Even when Jesus blessed Peter’s fishing business with miraculous gain, it was not for a larger profit. It’s goal was to give Peter who was still holding on to a physical goal, into a new spiritual goal. Proving that Jesus does give courage to Christians who are exhausted and/or anxious. See Romans 5:3-6, remembering that Jesus tells each of us to carry our cross, Luke 9:23, but even he needed help. Luke 23:26 & John 19:16-17. Read Galatians 6:9. 

If we are shown just a single person is interested in God’s message in Jesus, we should try to fish for them. Prayerful patience turns physical followers into spiritual students and none of us knows how many fish that will lead to. See Colossians 4:2-4. In another analogy Paul used, we are like brilliant glints of light in the darkness & no one knows how far we shine. Philippians 2:15, Revelation 21:11 & Ephesians 5:8-11.

Spiritual courage is not like physical courage. One takes faith in Christ who is bigger than you, the other takes faith in yourself as bigger than other people. We should value spiritual courage as better than physical courage, Matthew 13:47 & Acts 2:4 & 18:9 & 27:24, Ephesians 6:10, 1st Peter 4:11 & 2nd Corinthians 8:23.
Jesus repeated this miracle, after his resurrection, as his third sighting with the bewildered apostles, John 21:4-11. Do we know why? Because even eye-witnesses of his power need to be taught & reminded of our source.

Power to Restrain Demons & People, Luke 4:40-41 & John 10:39

Jesus healed many people of all kinds of illnesses. As explained in the Gospel of Luke: “At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, ‘You are the Son of God!’ But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah” (Luke 4:40-41). Jesus also would not allow his enemies to capture him before the perfect timing of his sacrifice. Both acts of restraint are miraculous. Why?

This type of miracle in two scenarios, enacted towards demons and people have a common goal; Which is the evil intent or purpose of undermining Christ’s mission. If Jesus permitted demons to keep on testifying, it would easily prompt people to think of the Messiah only as a miracle worker and not as the Servant of God coming to redeem sinners from eternal death and hell. The same can be said for his physical enemies trying to arrest him and/or kill him before the perfect timing of Our Father in Jesus. The Pharisees’s evil intent to thwart God’s perfect plan, would allow people to accept Jesus as just another martyr and not the King of kings orchestrating the redemption of humanity in his self-sacrifice by crucifixion on his own terms. In both scenarios, the sovereignty of God in Jesus is being attacked, and Jesus won’t let it continue, MIRACULOUSLY. See Luke 4:28-30 & John 10:39. The best examples of this miraculous power is his open rebuke of the Priests in the Temple courtyards, while everyone knew posted & armed guards were available! John 2:13-25 & Matthew 21:12-13 & 23-27.

This type of miracle was even enforced by the apostle Paul towards the servant girl possessed by Satan in Acts 16:16-18. After Paul performed such miraculous power, he would be tested before courts and given the opportunity to attribute this power to Christ as Sovereign! Today, when we are given any evidence of God’s power over sinful situations, it is the sovereignty of Christ that we should proclaim openly! We should remember to proclaim His rule with compassion, as in most examples of his miraculous restraint, he would heal the sick & oppressed at the same time. Speak the truth in love, Ephesians 4:15.

Even when Jesus was giving himself over to his enemies he restrained them from killing him while being beaten repeatedly and while being scourged. Many people die while being persecuted in those ways. Was it the miraculous power of restraint on his enemies by Jesus that allowed such prolonged suffering until he died at the right time on a cross? What do you believe is the purpose of such slow torment? To prove his love for us all, even the worst of us who were in open rebellion.

Long-distance Healing, John 4:46-54

Jesus had completed a full circle in his travels (walking), and being back in Cana where he had turned water into wine (the first sign), he met a court official who had a direct link to royalty. This nobleman was so anxious about his son that he traveled from Capernaum to Cana, being away, he could’ve missed this son’s death, because there are at least 24 miles between both towns. This was a huge act of faith on the part of the father of noble-birth, he is truly walking by faith in Jesus as he makes the journey. Walking by faith is prescribed in at least 7 New Testament verses (2nd Cor. 12:18, Acts 9:31, 1st Jon 2:6, 2nd Jon 1:4, Gal. 5:16 & 26.. Paul mandates Christians should walk by faith in Christ in 2nd Corinthians 5:7. Jesus recognizes his faith and heals his son from over 24 miles away!

How did Jesus know who the boy was?

How did Jesus know where the boy was?

When did Jesus know the boy needed help?

Even after the father’s journey, Jesus still inquires into the authenticity of the father’s faith, “except you see signs…, you will not believe”, the father then replies, “come or he dies”. For some reason the father’s faith in Jesus is unwavering, and he holds Jesus in a unique position of power. Do we?

When Jesus said to a grief-stricken Martha that he was “The Resurrection & The Life”, Jon 11:25-27, could you reply? “Yes Lord, I believe…”. There are three other titles Jesus accepts which relates to his power over death. The Way, The Truth & The Life, and the Author of Life, John 14:6 & Acts 3:15.
The father’s journey back home was in faith, and his official entourage would be easily spotted by the messengers meeting him on the road between Cana & Capernaum. Most English versions of the Bible record the verification in their conversation about the timing of the miracle as the “seventh hour”, which in our verbiage would be close to 1pm. So we know the household was awake when the boy’s fever left him and it was not an overnight occurrence, everyone there would have recognized the moment he began feeling better. This miracle was the “second sign” 4:54, and it was different from the first sign, in that it was directed towards the Nobleman and his household in Capernaum. The first sign was directed towards his disciples. Now, he is sending a message of God’s powerful love to new believers outside his group of disciples. They’re faith is entirely dependent on the word of the father, his explanation of when and who pronounced the healing is what engenders faith in Jesus for this household in Capernaum, 24 miles away from Jesus in Cana. When the church prayed for Peter in prison, we are not told how far apart they were between the prison and the house, but it was quite a distance away when Peter got to share his explanation of what God did (Acts 12:1-17). Do you believe God can answer prayers powerfully over great distances and leave you totally unaware of the answer’s timing?

Healing The Possessed, Mark 1:21-28

Mark records this as a first miracle, but he doesn’t specifically say it was the first. The same emphasis Luke put on the ministry of Jesus in Acts 10:38, “healing all who were oppressed by the devil”. Note, we don’t have any statements about Jesus healing “ALL” that were lepers, or blind. But Jesus was truly interested in putting a priority on defeating the Devil in people’s lives. Early in His ministry, as Jesus was in a synagogue at Capernaum, a man possessed by a demon was present and began shouting “Why are You bothering us, Jesus of Nazareth – have You come to destroy us demons? I know who You are – the Holy One of God!” Jesus commanded the demon to say no more and to come out of the man. The evil spirit screamed and convulsed the man violently and left him. The news of this miracle spread quickly through the entire area of Galilee. A priority of Jesus was to protect God’s children, and instigating an offensive move against evil in the presence of His children at a Synagogue would show his love. Jesus was already working like the good chief Shepherd that he really is, even long before he proved himself to be the Lamb of God. The forces of evil knew the real identity of Jesus from Nazareth. Calling him “from Nazareth” would be an attempt to deface his real character in front of everyone at the Synagogue, but it was a desperate cheap shot, because the demon was forced to obey the rule of Jesus as God with us. We should be prepared to pray for people under attack and caught in sin, asking God to oust demonic forces away from them, Ephesians 6:10-18. Demons do exist, that is certain. The fact that demons knew the identity of Jesus is perhaps the biggest advantage evil spirits have over worldly people. Because if people don’t know who the real enemy is, then we are not going to see our need to be on the right side. Regardless of what you believe about demon possession, it is important to know who Jesus is. The miraculous power Jesus showed over demons is to build us up in our faith of who He is. These titles are directly related to being opposed to the prince of darkness.

The Light of the world, John 8:12. 

The Holy One, John 6:69 & 17:11, Acts 3:14.

The I AM, John 8:58. 

The Lord, Matthew 17:4.

The Way, The Truth & The Life, John 14:6 & Acts 3:15.The type of sin mentioned by Paul as being in the church, not known amongst pagans, was fornication between a son and his step-mother, 1st Corinthians 5:1. Sometimes we might see the most disgusting sins in the church, but notice it was not demon possession, back then or today! No where in the New Testament is demon possession mentioned in the church, because the power and presence of the Spirit would NOT ALLOW demon possession of Christians. He may allow us to wander into sins which are disgusting, but has not and will not allow demons to take us over, if we stay faithful, we always have the power of the resurrection and the power of free will in Christ, Revelation 22:11