“Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”
Leprosy is a horrible disease. It eats away at the flesh, causing unspeakable pain and disfiguring the body. Because it is contagious the leper is banned from society. They are sentenced to live a life alone, with a painful disease and no hope. For a human being, wired for interaction, touch and love from another human being, this disease is a living hell.
As the pastor relayed the story of the leper and Jesus, his words hit deep into my heart. I am that girl. I need the great physician. I need the only one who can heal the type of wounds that afflict my soul, mind and body.
Jesus and the Leper
I approach him. Despite the angry voices of the righteous and the clean. “You must be worthy to approach the throne. You must be clean to stand in his presence. You must be perfect to be near the Holy one of Israel. The son of God.” I ignore it all. Because I know that he is the only one who can heal me.
I fall, naked and ashamed, at his feet. Worthless rags bind my bleeding wounds, hiding the ugliness of my pain from others around me. As I look into his face, with nothing less to give, I ask him, “Please, heal me, make me clean.”
And this Jesus, the healer of the broken and the oppressed. The orphaned and the widowed. The imprisoned and the enslaved. This Jesus, takes my hand, looks into my eyes and says, “Your faith has made you whole. You are healed.”
I bear scars of the years of pain. They are not readily visible. You cannot trace your finger along the line, feeling where the body stitched back together the wound. My scars are hidden. But I know they are there. Yes, they tell the story of abuse. But they also tell the story of love so deep that it can touch what others will not. The story of the God who heals and the God who loves and the God who is not afraid to be down in the mud with his broken daughters.
Jesus walked this earth 2000 years ago. He ate with publicans. He talked with sinners. He let the unclean touch his body. He approached the women, the bleeding and broken, the adulterer and the prostitute and he loved them. And he spoke of the Father who wanted them and loved them. And then he showed his love by submitting to the cruelty of the religious order that demanded he be put to death. He submitted to the Roman soldiers who cruelly tore his flesh and mocked his dignity. And finally he submitted to the power of the grave and he died.
Thankfully, the story does not end there. Because he returned to his Father and then he returned to those he loved. And he still returns to us. Day after day. We may not be able to see him. To touch the wounds and see the scars and feel the physical love of his arms. But he is alive. And he comes, not for those who are well, but to the broken. He comes to us. He touches us. He makes us clean. He takes us to the Father. And we are forever changed.
It takes a step of faith. Approach the healer and be cleaned.