Sunday, September 1, 2013

Cleansed

    The Touch of Healing 
     While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
      Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.
      Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”
      Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses.  But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.             ~Luke 5:12-16
     A man covered with leprosy approached Jesus, fell at His feet and cried, “Lord if You are willing.  You can make me clean!”
    The leper recognized immediately that Jesus had the power to heal him, what he was uncertain of was Jesus’ love and willingness to heal him personally.
     But Jesus answered the doubt of this man’s heart completely with His response, “I am willing.”  
     With the professional accuracy of a physician, Luke tells us that this man was “covered with leprosy.”  The man was in an advanced stage of this disease.  Leprosy destroys the nerve endings of the bodies extremities, which would become damaged and fall off.  The Jews called leprosy “the finger of God” believing it to be incurable and a direct punishment from God.  Lepers were untouchable.  They had to cry out “Unclean, Unclean,” in the streets, to warn others to stay away from them.  They were forced to live outside of cities, separated from their loved ones and families.  Lepers were truly alone.  This man had not felt a loving caress or someone’s hand touch him in a very long time.
      People would draw back from him in horror and revulsion, but Jesus was moved with compassion for this man.  As Jesus spoke the healing word, He reached out His hand and touched the leper.
     If you have ever been lonely, ever felt rejected or unloved, you know what that touch must have meant.  If you have ever been convinced that no one could possibly care for you, then you understand how that leper felt.  Jesus’ touch was not needed to heal the leprosy, His spoken word could have easily done that.  Jesus meet the man’s heart felt need for love.
     Later, the leper would go to show his body to the priests so they could officially pronounce him cleansed from leprosy.  He could not however, as easily show the priests what had taken place in his heart.  The touch of love healed his heart even as the power of the word cleansed him from leprosy.
     If you have hesitated to trust God in an area of your life, or if you are convinced of His power, but uncertain about His concern for you, you personally, look at what He did for this lonely man.
     Jesus touched him.
     Jesus yearns to touch each one of us.
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