Today is Tuesday, August 15th 2017; Good morning! This Sunday we begin a three week series called "Center" where we will be spending time as a Church family centering on Jesus as we prepare for Autumn.  Through the Daily blog entries over the next three weeks our team will be sharing passages in Scripture that have encouraged us to center on Jesus. Today I want to share a favorite of mine, Matthew 8:1-4. We learn that immediately after Jesus finishes His famous Sermon on the Mount, a leper comes before Jesus asking to be cleansed. As is way, Jesus does what is culturally and ceremonially against the norm.    -Mike

(Take time to write down responses to these questions or discuss in your group)
_ Have you ever felt that you were unwanted in a social setting? What was that like?
_ Share one way the Lord is impacting someone you are walking with (to help grow in or discover Jesus)?

Take some time to thank and praise God for who He is, to pray for those you are walking with, for the needs you/group are facing, and for the Spirit to open your heart and eyes as you read the passage.

DISCOVER  [Matthew 8:1-4]
+ WHAT is this passage saying and what do we learn? (Use these questions below each portion of text to clarify the main point)

1 When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. 2 And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” 3 And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will, be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4 And Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”
_ What mountain is Jesus coming down from in v.1?
_ Why would the crowds be following him?
_ Why does the author point out that the man in vs. 2 is a leper?
_ What is leprosy? Why is this such an issue in the Jewish culture? [Leviticus 13 + 14]
_ What does he say to Jesus in vs. 2?
_ Why do you think the he says “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”?
_ Do you believe that this man knew Jesus would be able to heal him?
_ What is Jesus’ action, then response in vs. 3?
_ Why would the people around Jesus be afraid for him to touch this man? [Leviticus 13:45-46; Numbers 5:2-4]
_ What does Jesus then tell the man in vs. 4?
_ Why does Jesus want the man to remain silent, but go to the priests?
_ What is the gift that Moses commanded? [Leviticus 14:2-32]
_ What is this man proving to the priests?
_ What does this passage tell you about the leper prior to his encounter with Jesus? After?
_ What does this passage tell you about Jesus and His response to the request of the leper and after cleansing him?
_ Socially, this man was unwanted and considered to be an outcast amongst others because of his sickness, but that did not stop Jesus from touching him, engaging with him, and ultimately healing him. What does that say about the nature, character, power and authority of Jesus?

+ HOW am I compelled to respond to what I learned today with a simple step of action?  (Here are some thoughts to discuss in break-outs)
_ Do we come before Jesus, with the same confidence as the leper?
_ Jesus not only healed this man, but he made sure that he was restored culturally and socially.  Is there and area in your life that God wants to do the same?
_ Is there an area that God wants to bring me into freedom?

+ WHO are you walking with that you might pass along or encourage what you learned, with today? (e.g., your family around the dinner table, a friend, co-worker or neighbor you are walking with to discover the message Jesus)