Jesus reaches out to those who come to him knowing he is their only hope to be cleansed and restored.
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.”
13 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.
14 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.”
Why are you reading this today? What brings you to Jesus?
This man comes to Jesus to be made clean of his leprosy – to be healed. Actually, he doesn’t just come to Jesus – on seeing him, the man falls with his face to the ground. He begs. He knows Jesus is his only hope. The man’s need to be clean from leprosy is evident to all – it defines him and is destroying him. His deeper need to be clean from his sin is less evident, but Jesus highlights it by asking the man to present himself to the priest. Jesus the new temple goes far beyond what the man asked him to do, and far beyond what the priest and the old temple could ever do for him. Because of Jesus’ healing, the man who was once barred can now enter, no longer defined by his disease.
Our need for Jesus’ cleansing may be a little less obvious to others (and we may be trying to deny it to ourselves), but we too need to come to him and him alone, as our only source of help. Whatever form our immediate struggle takes, it is essentially a reminder of our biggest problem –the disease of sin, and our need to be restored to God himself. Our uncleanness before God may not be quite as visible as leprosy, but without Jesus, it is also destroying us, and defining us as outcast from God, lost and without hope. The only way we can approach Jesus is by falling on our face before him, and asking him, our only hope, to make us clean from our sin and whole in our brokenness.
When we do that, Jesus reaches out his hand, touches us and says “I am willing. Be clean” to us. He redefines us as forgiven, clean, and whole.
Head: Have you asked Jesus to clean you of your sin? Why or why not? What things in your life at the moment remind you that you need Jesus’ ongoing forgiveness and cleansing?
Heart: How do you feel when you read about Jesus reaching out to touch this untouchable man? How do you feel about Jesus reaching out to touch you in your sin and brokenness, seeing the very darkest places of your soul?
Hands: As you picture Jesus reaching out to you in your sin and brokenness, how can you reach out to others with the offer of his cleansing love?
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I can only fall before you in my need for your cleansing love and forgiveness. Thank you that your response is to reach out to me and make me clean. Thank you that you are always willing to forgive and cleanse those who ask you to. Please help me by your Spirit today to live in a way that reflects your work in my life. Please help me by your Spirit today to reach out to others in your name with your love.
A song to listen to: