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Simon or Simon the Leper

Rev. Enoch Thompson| September 1, 2023 | Matthew 26:6-13

KEY VERSE:

While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, Matthew 26:6

(NIV)


MESSAGE:

The section of Matthew 26:6-13 is a beautiful and interesting reading with some good lessons to teach us. It tells us about the woman who anointed the head of the Lord Jesus with very expensive perfume from an alabaster box. Our interest in this reflection today is the identity of the man in whose house this narrative took place.


Our reflection is on how we often attach negative references to others, and even sometimes to ourselves. The owner of the house of the incident is described as “Simon the Leper,” and that is a matter of curiosity to us. Certainly, the man was called Simon, a common name among the Jews, but here the man is further identified as “the Leper.” The question that comes to mind is whether this Simon at the time of the narrative was still a leper.

If he was still a leper, it is a sad reflection that he was not noted for any other thing but his leprosy. He might have been Simon the Carpenter, Simon the Goldsmith or Simon the Singer, among other things. But society preferred to identify him by his disease.

Was it possible that the Lord Jesus had healed him of his leprosy, for which, maybe he was throwing this party as a way of saying thank you to him? In that case, the matter gets worse because even though the man had shed the affliction of the disease by the grace of God, the stigma of the disease had become the label by which people referred to him.

We have read in the Bible about “Blind Bartimaeus” whose sight was restored by the merciful healing Jesus, but we still find it easier to say “Blind Bartimaeus” rather than simply “Bartimaeus.”

How many times have you heard a true follower of the Lord refer to themselves as “only a sinner”? Yes, we were sinners, but without any personal pride, we must be able to attest with the Spirit of God that sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexual offenders, thieves, greedy, drunkards, slanderers, swindlers, yes, “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:10-11 (NIV).

Yes, we were sinners, but now we have become saints. That sounds too high for some of us to accept. We feel comfortable to tag others and ourselves with the shameful past, and a natural religious mentality encourages that. The Apostle Paul was severely conscious of his sinful past and described himself as the worst of sinners, only in the context and with the understanding that he had been set free and forgiven by the gracious King whom he worshipped: ¹⁵Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners — of whom I am the worst. ¹⁶But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. ¹⁷Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen. 1 Timothy 1:15-17 (NIV).


We are placed in the position of saints, and we can choose to live the saintly life, which is right and good, or live a sinful life, which insults God and places us in the sphere of control by Satan. We must also look at other people, not through the lenses of what they were before they became believers in the Lord, but what they have become and are becoming as they follow the Master.


FEET AND HANDS FOR THE MESSAGE:

How do you see yourself, as Simon or as Simon the Leper, as a sinner or as a saint? Yes, it is good to remember where we were rescued from, but we must not be labelled by that background nor become limited because of our past. If you truly believe in Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Master, you can truly say, “I am not a sinner! I am a saint!!

Remember the past, but don’t get stuck in it!


PRAYER:

Oh God, thank you for the difference that you make in the lives of those who come to you through faith in the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. You change us from sinners into saints and grant us the power to live the new life. Please help me to see myself in the light of the possibilities of my new status in Christ, and to see that potential in others, and celebrate it too. In Jesus Name, Amen.


THERE SHALL BE SHOWERS OF BLESSING.

SHOWERS! BLESSINGS!! __________________________ DAILY word study: SIMON THE LEPER The phrase "Simon the Leper" carries important historical and contextual implications.

"Simon" (Σίμων): This is a common Jewish name that means "hearing" or "he has heard."

"The Leper": This phrase indicates a significant aspect of Simon's identity. "Leper" is translated from the Greek word "λεπροῦ" (leprou), which refers to someone who has leprosy, a contagious and debilitating skin disease.

The designation "the Leper" distinguishes Simon from others named Simon in the Gospel accounts. While there isn't a recorded account of Jesus healing Simon's leprosy, some scholars suggest that Simon may have been healed by Jesus prior to this event, allowing him to be in the presence of Jesus and host Him.


The phrase "Simon the Leper" reminds us of the diverse individuals who interacted with Jesus during His ministry. It underscores the significance of Jesus' presence and influence in the lives of people from various backgrounds and circumstances. The absence of a detailed healing account for Simon highlights that the Gospels prioritize recording the teachings, actions, and interactions of Jesus rather than providing extensive individual biographies.


This passage encourages us to consider the diversity of people who encountered Jesus and to reflect on the transformative impact His presence has on individuals, regardless of their past circumstances.


Reflections How does the inclusion of various individuals in the Gospel accounts, each with their own unique backgrounds, challenges, and encounters with Jesus, deepen your understanding of Jesus' ministry and His transformative power?




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The Baptist Daily Devotional is a collection of God-inspired messages that will help you grow in your faith and walk with Christ. Each day, you will find a scripture passage, a reflection, a prayer and a challenge to apply God's word to your life. The devotional is written by pastors and leaders of the Ghana Baptist Convention, who share their insights and experiences from serving God in various contexts and ministries. For example, you will learn how to trust God in times of trouble, how to share the gospel with others, how to pray effectively, how to deal with temptation, how to handle conflict and more. Whether you are a new believer or a mature Christian, the Baptist Daily Devotional will inspire you, encourage you and equip you to live for God's glory.
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