(Matthew 8: 1-4, The Message) 1-2 Jesus came down the mountain with the cheers of the crowd still ringing in his ears. Then a leper appeared and went to his knees before Jesus, praying, “Master, if you want to, you can heal my body.”
3-4 Jesus reached out and touched him, saying, “I want to. Be clean.” Then and there, all signs of the leprosy were gone. Jesus said, “Don’t talk about this all over town. Just quietly present your healed body to the priest, along with the appropriate expressions of thanks to God. Your cleansed and grateful life, not your words, will bear witness to what I have done.”
I love the simplicity found in this exchange between Jesus and the man with leprosy. This man, so sick and in so much pain, had an undemanding and sincere measure of faith. Notice that he didn’t even ask Jesus to heal him; he simply stated, “If you want to…I know you can.” He humbled himself, down on his knees, and declared his faith in Jesus. His recompense? Total restoration.
I can’t help but think of people who are living under the oppression of outward, obvious sin and its consequences. Like the leper, they are often cast aside, seen as filthy, and exiled from the sacred confines of the church.
We see your sin. We see your struggle. We don’t want any part of it.
Maybe that’s you, or someone you hold dear to your heart. You get up every day and strap on your backpack full of shame and haul it around because you’re just used to it, and you think you deserve it. You spend each day feeling like the dead man walking. Maybe someone else has convinced you that it’s just your cross to bear in life. Well, it’s time to find the truth and stop dragging around your failures.
YOU ARE NOT A LEPER!!!
What I mean is…you don’t have to feel like a castaway just because someone else knows about something you did. Guess what? We don’t always know specifics, but we do know something that is a universal truth about people…WE ALL SIN! EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US is an unworthy, lowly, sinner who deserves death…as we are all born into the dilemma and curse of sin.
But just like Jesus wanted to heal the leper (and did), He wants to heal your life (and will). Romans 8: 1-4 says: 1-2 With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death. 3-4 God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all.
You must understand that because God is love, of course He wants to restore your life. You simply have to humble yourself and believe. It’s not about begging, or even hoping. It’s about an unembellished statement of faith: If You want to…I know You can. He wants to, He can, and He will.
Maybe you are worried that others won’t believe you, and that because of your past you will shed a negative light on the name of Christ. Please do not buy into that lie! It’s straight from the mouth of the devil, and it has no place in your life. You don’t have to convince anyone else that your life is changed. Just live according to God’s word and let your life do the talking.
“Your cleansed and grateful life, not your words, will bear witness to what I have done.”
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank you for the beautiful exchange that takes place when we simply believe. Beauty for ashes, strength for fear, gladness for mourning, peace for despair. Amen.