SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT FOR TODAY
Jesus Cleanses a Leper
12 And it happened when He was in a certain city, that behold, a man who was full of leprosy saw Jesus; and he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”
13 Then He put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately the leprosy left him. 14 And He charged him to tell no one, “But go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as a testimony to them, just as Moses commanded.”
15 However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. 16 So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed” Luke 5:12-16.
Memory Verse Luke 5:10 (NIV)
JESUS REACHED OUT HIS HAND AND TOUCHED THE MAN. “I AM WILLING,” HE SAID. “BE CLEAN!” AND IMMEDIATELY THE LEPROSY LEFT HIM.
Jesus continued to live a life of doing his Father’s business, that is, to seek and bring salvation to the sinful and suffering masses of the world. So he went about teaching, preaching, healing and casting out demons. After demonstrating his power over several sicknesses as well as his compassion for suffering souls in Capernaum and other places, Jesus continued to minister in other towns. In this edition, we want to look at his encounter with a man who was suffering from leprosy.
Leprosy was one of the diseases considered unclean from the Old Testament period and through the time of Jesus. Those who were suffering from it were also considered to be unclean because they believed it was contagious. They were therefore forced to stay at the outskirts of their towns and cities. They were not allowed to mingle freely with the rest of the citizens. In fact, it was also thought that those suffering from leprosy were cursed. Consequently, lepers were forced to live wretched lives. Yet there was always a provision for those who were cured to be received back into the society after the priests had certified that they were truly clean. Such healed lepers could from that time, enter into the assembly of God’s people to worship in the Temple or at the synagogues.
This shows that certain diseases separated people not only from their fellow human beings but also from God in the sense that they were not considered righteous enough to worship God together with other people. It took only Jesus to save this man from his leprosy. When he came into contact with Jesus, his condition changed. This is in line with what Jesus came to do for the whole of mankind. Before Jesus’ advent, we were all suffering from ‘leprosy’ (sin) and had been separated from God. But through Jesus’ work on the cross, he has reconciled us with the Father again. What a privilege we now have, to be called the children of God. Let us therefore value this great love shown us, and reciprocate it by living lives befitting those who have been truly ‘healed’ of our leprosy. If we continue to live as lepers after being healed, we shall perpetually remain separated from God. Remember that Jesus can change your condition if you will encounter him in a special way today. Position yourself to encounter Jesus today and your life will never the same!
When the man met Jesus, he humbled himself before the Lord by falling with his face to the ground and begging him. Basically, the man worshiped Jesus because he knew him to be the lord over leprosy. He knew Jesus could heal him completely. However, he also understood that he could only be healed if Jesus was willing. He did not command Jesus to heal him as some of us do when praying. How humble are we when we go before the Lord in prayer? Sometimes we pray while commanding God as if he is under obligation to do anything for us. This attitude among Christians MUST stop. We cannot force God to do anything for us. No one can twist the arm of God. We can only ask him for help and wait for him to respond positively to our request bearing in mind that he is the Sovereign God and does what he wants at any particular time. But I strongly believe that those who will humble themselves before the LORD and ask him for something are more likely to receive better responses than those who speak or pray to God arrogantly. When the man went before Jesus, humbled himself before him, acknowledged Jesus’ sovereignty and begged to be healed, Jesus responded positively by touching him and commanding him to be clean. Immediately the leprosy left the man. How would you have felt if you were that man?
Beloved in Christ, this passage reminds us about the power and love of Jesus. He loves those who are unclean and has the power and the willingness to heal all those who acknowledge their uncleanness and come to him for help. That man was suffering from leprosy but you may be suffering from other diseases. The most serious disease human beings suffer from is sin. I want to assure all of us that Jesus has the power to heal not only our physical leprosy, but our spiritual leprosy as well. What is so refreshing about Jesus is that he is always willing to make clean all those who humble themselves and put their requests before him. I do not know the kind of ‘leprosy’ you may be suffering from but I know Jesus can heal you. All you need to do is to humbly go before him and put your requests before him because he is always willing to hear you and make you whole again. It does not matter how long you have been living with your leprosy, Jesus can heal you. Take a step of faith today and you will never regret you did!
THE WORD OF THE LORD!
Pastor Nana Kobina Baisie
Teacher/Pastor at Nadrim Mission International School, Busan, Korea.