True confession – I am a clean freak. I love things to be where they belong; in a nice, neat, tidy and well-controlled environment. Cleaning for me is quite cathartic ¬– vacuuming is the ultimate de-stressor. It’s not like that for many of us though is it? Some people hate to clean but love the end result. Yet others want things perfect and pristine, so they clean over and over again; but it never lasts. There’s nothing more some of us would love than to call a cleaning service to get the job done.
This is a reflection of our spiritual lives… we simply can’t do enough to make it all clean and we need desperately to call in the ultimate cleaning service – Jesus. Jesus not only brings PHYSICAL cleansing but more importantly, a SPIRITUAL cleansing & RESTORATION.
We read in Mark 1:40-45, a story about a leper, who somehow heard about this amazing man named Jesus. A man who had the power to make him clean. Hope begins to take root that maybe, just maybe…. Then this very brave and desperate man steps out into a VERY public place. He moves through the crowd with his eyes FIXED ON JESUS.
What did the leper do next? I LOVE how the New American Standard Bible puts it in verse 40, “falling on his knees…” He gets on the ground at Jesus’ feet. I wonder, am I like that? Are we like that? …so in awe of Jesus and His power that we fall at His feet? Are our eyes firmly fixed on Him?
The leper would have been humiliated, isolated, ostracized, always on the outside…no place of belonging, no community, no human touch. Can you even begin to imagine what that would be like? How would you would feel if you had to shout “Unclean, unclean!” getting onto a bus, going to the store or the movies? Deeply desperate, lonely, isolated, mocked, degraded, untouched, unclean…. Think about this with me for a moment.
The reality for us is that we are ALL lepers – spiritual lepers. But unlike leprosy, which is so visible, sin in our lives lurks in the dark places often unseen yet pervasive.
The leper was sure of Christ’s power to change His life. He said, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” He believed Christ could cure him. And then, Jesus does the unthinkable…He touches him! His hand reaches out and touches the leper! There was no need for Jesus to touch him in order to heal him, but it did make all the difference in the world to the leper to feel the touch of another human/divine being – God Himself bent near and TOUCHED HIM!
Everyone was in shock. Jesus had made himself ceremonially unclean. “He would surely ‘catch’ the sickness,” they must have thought. But Jesus’ touch said, “I’m with you; I understand; I love you.” In touching this leper, Christ – sinless and pure – parallels His death on the cross touching our lives, bringing healing to our broken places.
In one moment, Jesus touches the leper & EVERYTHING changes. This is what Jesus does for us…immediate and complete – we are made whole again. When Jesus touches the dark dirty places in our lives, He cleanses us if we are willing to let Him go there. We no longer live on the outside, in the dark – we are brought back into the light. Brought back into a place of belonging and communion with Him; lives radically transformed.
Have you experienced the power of His healing in your life? We’d love to hear from you!