March 1

Text: Matthew 8:2, 3

And behold, a leper came to Him, and bowed down to Him, saying, "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean."  And He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, "I am willing; be cleansed." And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. (NASB)

The first act Matthew recorded that Jesus did after the Sermon on the Mount was an enormous act of compassion.  One does not begin to grasp the enormity of Jesus’ compassion unless Leviticus 13:45, 46 is read with reflection.  What was classified to be leprosy in Israel was spread by touch.  The objective:  to prevent anyone with leprosy from touching anyone without leprosy.  For how long?  Until the leprosy disappeared, and the person was declared clean by a Jewish priest.

How was physical contact prevented?  By quarantine—those with leprosy had no physical contact with the healthy.  The leper had to prevent “accidental” contact!  Thus there were the torn clothing, the distinctive head dress, the cries of unclean, and living in a separate community with other sick people.  Everyone avoided lepers!  Why?  Fear! They feared they would have to live in quarantine!

Consider what leprosy meant: no possibility of an ordinary life, no contact with family, living only with quarantined people, and being deliberately avoided.  Can you think of a better recipe for depression?  Can you imagine how self-esteem would plummet?  Add to this that it was an indefinite situation. 

It mattered not who you were!  You were quarantined if you had leprosy—read 2 Chronicles 26:19-21.

There are three amazing things in this account. (1) This man—outside society—had the faith to come to Jesus—in society—in the conviction that Jesus could end his problem.  (2) Jesus of his own initiative touched the man—wonder how long it had been since a healthy person touched him?  (3) He did not make Jesus unclean, but Jesus made him clean.

No matter your condition, you will not defile Jesus, but he can and will make you pure!

Suggestion for reflection: Do you have the faith to bring your problems to Jesus?  (Read John 9:35-39.)

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 Copyright 2011 David Chadwell