EPIPHANY III – SUNDAY
LESSON: MATTHEW 8:1-13
A leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” Matthew 8:2
See how the faith of the leper manifests itself. He is under no delusions at all. All that he desires and hopes to obtain is the pure goodness and grace of Christ, freely and without any merit at all on his part. We cannot claim here that the leper earned the privilege of drawing close to Christ and speaking to Him, begging His help. He comes to Christ because he is conscious of his impurity and worthiness, and he places all his reliance on Christ’s goodness.
This is true faith, living confidence in God’s goodness. If this confidence is in a man’s heart, his faith is right; if this confidence is not in a man’s heart, faith is wrong. All who do not keep the pure goodness of God in sight, and who always look first of all to their good works in the hope of meriting God’s favor and goodness for themselves, have this wrong faith. Such people never have the boldness to invoke God with real earnestness or to approach Him.
This confidence or faith, or the knowledge of the goodness of Christ, would never have developed in the leper as the fruit of his own rational understanding. In all probability he had received a good report of Christ beforehand to the effect that Christ is good, gracious, and merciful, ready to help all men and to supply comfort and consolation for all who come to Him.
PRAYER: Thanks be to you, O Lord, for the examples you have given us in your holy Gospel encouraging us to come to you at all times, in all our needs, with the assurance of your grace and help. Amen.