“I am willing.” (Matt. 8:3)

Those  had to be the most wonderful words that the man with leprosy had ever heard in his life. We don’t know how long he had been suffering from this disease. We do know that he was separated from his family. He could only wave at his wife and children. He couldn’t touch his parents or siblings. His life was one of terrible loneliness and heartache. He was an untouchable. What courage it took to come to Jesus in public and kneel at his feet. Did the crowds following Jesus show their repulsion? Did the disciples move back from him and Jesus?

Every face a mask of revulsion and fear. An untouchable had dared to come into their midst and fall right at the feet of the teacher. Did they speak out? Did they yell at him to withdraw, to get away? Did they mumble amongst themselves? I wonder what would I have done if I had been in the group following Jesus?

Actually, I am in the group. I am a follower of Jesus. Sometimes the unclean (sinners) come near me seeking Jesus. They want to be healed of their sinful lives. They see how Jesus has cleansed me and they want the same cleansing. But, they are so dirty, so unclean, I could say. Their sins are repulsive to me and I can’t imagine even having a conversation with them much less getting to know them. If I’m not careful I’ll be telling them to go away, we don’t want such as you in our assembly. With that I could pull my Pharisaical robes around me and stay untouched. God forbid it ever be so.

The leper was not put off by the crowd’s reaction; he wanted to be clean. Jesus was not put off by the leprosy; he wanted to cleanse. Where do we fit in?

Prayer for today: “Father, give me eyes to see hearts and not outward appearances. Help me to understand that I am not better than others because I am not guilty of the same sin they are. Give me courage and faith to bring the lepers of my time to Jesus.”

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