Romans 12:16-21 Be of the same mind one toward another. Don’t set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Don’t be wise in your own conceits. Repay no one evil for evil. Respect what is honorable in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as it is up to you, be at peace with all men. Don’t seek revenge yourselves, beloved, but give place to God’s wrath. For it is written, “Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord.” Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing so, you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Don’t be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Matthew 8:1-13 When he came down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. Behold, a leper came to him and worshiped him, saying, “Lord, if you want to, you can make me clean.” Jesus stretched out his hand, and touched him, saying, “I want to. Be made clean.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. Jesus said to him, “See that you tell nobody, but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” When he came into Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking him, and saying, “Lord, my servant lies in the house paralyzed, grievously tormented.” Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” The centurion answered, “Lord, I’m not worthy for you to come under my roof. Just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I am also a man under authority, having under myself soldiers. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and tell another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and tell my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard it, he marveled, and said to those who followed, “Most certainly I tell you, I haven’t found so great a faith, not even in Israel. I tell you that many will come from the east and the west, and will sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven, but the children of the Kingdom will be thrown out into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way. Let it be done for you as you have believed.” His servant was healed in that hour.
The Word of God is powerful and able accomplish what He purposes even if we do not believe that Word. Naaman had some idea in his head as to how healings ought to take place. Come wave your hand over me and say the magic words--don't tell me to go jump in the lake. The leper and the centurion had faith in the power and authority in the Word of God. But in all three instances the healing still took place. If God's Word says something it is true regardless of whether or not we believe it. When Jesus says "This is My body" it is still His body even if you don't believe it. You control the truth of God's Word by your own feelings or inclinations.
Just like Naaman we look at baptism and think that it cannot possibly be what God says it is. Dripping some water on someone and saying some words can't possibly do anything. But God's Word is powerful and it will do what He promises it will do.
The Wisdom of God always confounds the wise. The leper and the centurion had faith. They were both outcasts. The leper was an outcast because of his disease. The centurion was an outcast because he was a Gentile. Both believed in the authority of Jesus while the children of the Kingdom did not. The children of the kingdom saw no need for Jesus. They had the kingdom already, why do they need Jesus? Why do we need Jesus given to us every Sunday? Aren't we already a part of the kingdom? Aren't there more important things we should be doing?
We all have spiritual leprosy. We are all spiritually paralyzed. But Jesus comes to us in the midst of our death and disease and heals us by the power of His Word both in the preaching of the Gospel and in the Sacraments.