Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Which Character are You?
Today in ladies Bible study we walked through three stories, enlarging our view of Jesus Christ as we soaked up the narrative. They were all revealing stories, but this afternoon, the one that has stuck with me was the five short verses about Jesus healing the leper.
Picture the scene: Jesus had made quite a name for Himself in a rather short period of time. Not only were His miracles drawing the crowds, but His authoritative teaching was nothing like what they were used to. Luke 5:15 says that "...large crowds were gathering to hear Him and to be healed..." Both were equally amazing.
So Jesus enters a town, and He never does it quietly. The crowds not only gathered when He showed up, but many arrived with Him. In verse 12 we read that Jesus was in one of the cities and a man with leprosy approached Him. Based on Jewish law, he would have been required to cover his mouth and cry out, "Unclean! Unclean!" wherever he went. Thus, as he approached Jesus, he made his presence known.
After scattering the crowd, he reached Jesus, fell at His feet and cried, "If you are willing, you can make me clean." This leper understood his leprosy was a death sentence. Even more interesting - he didn't ask for healing, but for cleansing - he wanted to be clean before Lord.
Then Jesus did something that no one else would ever do - yes, He healed him, but that's not what I am talking about. He reached down...and touched the leper. This was unheard of - to touch a leper would be to take his disease upon yourself. But Jesus didn't hesitate or pause - He responded to the need out of compassion for this walking dead man. He touched him, then healed him.
Imagine the response of the crowd who had been repelled the leper, the gasps as they saw their renowned teacher touch the contagious man, and their faces as they watched life flow back into this man's body - his fingers reappeared, his feet broke through the bandages, his skin softened and refreshed, as his hair covered his head. In an instant he went from dead to alive.
Too often we join the crowd and watch in amazement as Jesus performs miracles on the walking dead. Today, we stepped into the shoes of the leper and found ourselves within the healing grip of Jesus. We looked at scripture that told us "...He made Him sin who knew no sin on our behalf, so that we could become the righteousness of God in Him..." (2 Cor. 5:21) When Jesus touched me, my sin became His and His righteousness became mine. We pictured the leper transferring his disease onto Jesus and walking away "clean."
We are starting to recognize a repeated response when people discover Jesus - falling face down, repenting and declaring He is Lord. Until we step into the bandages of the leper and fully understand our death sentence, we will not fully comprehend the life given to us by our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Then, an only then, will our response will match what we are seeing in Luke.