Posts Tagged ‘leper’

Lately, I have been experiencing more and more people who are exhausted from maintaining their own lives. Our culture has been stuck in this mentality that we need to have our lives in order; we need to be presentable people.

This culture’s mentality permeates every area of our lives. We have heard people say phrases like, “I will go to church when I get my life in order,” or “I am too much of a mess for friendships.” Maybe not those phrases specifically, but something similar.

We are broken people who all have scars and wounds. We all have fears and insecurities. The truth is that there is not enough glue in the world for us to keep it all together. It’s exhausting to try. I know I fail so much when I try to hold all of my pieces in place.

There is a man in the gospel of Matthew who has redefined what approaching God looks like for me. Matthew retells the story of a time when a man with Leprosy approached Jesus. He kneeled down before Jesus and asked him for healing.

I was taken aback by the counter-cultural act of authenticity by this community reject. This leper was a man ostracized from his community and family. He was tossed out of his city and home to live among other people like himself. Lepers were considered unclean. This man was quarantined as an outsider sent to wait on death.

This leper saw hope in Jesus. He left behind what he had been labeled as and approached the cleanest of men. He saw a clean man who could make him clean, and the unapproachable approached Jesus. By cultural standards, this man was labeled as too far gone to be helped.

This man has shown me the truth of what presentable really looks like.

You see Jesus came to save the people who knew they needed it. He did not come to save the ones who “had it all together.” My heart looks like this man. The truth is all of our hearts look like a version of the leper. That is the perfect time to approach God.

We are messy people. I am finally getting better at putting down the glue that is not working. No one is presentable enough. That is the point. The church is for the mutually messy hearted people. The church is formed because of people who mutually bring their messiness before the one who saves.

This leper brings even more resounding truth to the verse, “at just the right time when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. But god demonstrates his love for us in this; while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Christ did not wait until we were a people who had the right glue. He did not wait until we were presentable enough. Christ came in the midst of our powerless moments; he came in the midst of our sin. He touches our hearts and says, “I am willing.”

Christ came for the broken and wounded while they were still in that place. He came for the hopeless in the midst of their hopelessness, not after. Christ came for the “in the midst.

I am kneeling my messy heart before him and claiming that as presentable enough.

Do you try and hold it all together? Why?

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Sitting on a rock, he could smell the stench of rotting flesh around him. The man would like to have blamed his oder on another guy, but he couldn’t. Looking down at his arms, he saw sores and open wounds full of infection. He reached up to touch his face, but could feel nothing. By this time, the man’s fingers and toes were beginning to wilt.

Oh how I wish I could feel something, anything.”

The man had become numb, and pain was felt few and far between in his days. Each painless day filled his heart with agony; this was his life and fate.

Ten men took up residence outside the village gate. The man could not remember last time someone talked to him other than one of “his kind.”

He spend days fantasizing by the life he had, as well as, the life he could’ve had. This man had dreams and goals. They were all shattered when he received the news of his death sentence called Leprosy. His life had been transformed from shared meals with family and friends to loneliness and heartache. He no longer heard the sounds of laughter, but only that of name calling and shrieks.

News had spread around country side about a man named Jesus. Jesus had been healing people, unlikely people, every where.

The man toyed with the idea that healing could happen to him. He even had a speech rehearsed in his mind should Jesus pass by.

But who was he kidding? No one passed by close enough to a leper to be heard. No one even acknowledged their existence.

I am unclean. I can’t remember the last time I felt another human being.

Loud whispers broke out among the other lepers. There was a debate on whether or not the man walking towards their village was Jesus. There were shouts of nominations of who should be the one to yell out his name.

It was time for his speech.

The man stood up from his rock and yelled out above others, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” Not quite what he had rehearsed, but there it was.

The man in the distance stopped and looked over at the ten stunned men huddled together.

Go, show yourselves to the priests.

The lepers stood in confusion for a moment and repeated Jesus’ words out loud. What did his answer even mean?

They took the man in the distance at his word and set out to find the priests. Still confused, the leper looked down to see healthy skin covering over his wounds. Tingling pins and needles rushed his body as blood started to flow back through is dead places.

The wide eyed leper didn’t even make it to the priests before turning back and sprinting towards Jesus. The man fell at Jesus’ feet with sobs of joy at just being able to approach another human being, and this moment left him with just, “thank you.”

This leper found life again. For this man, the joy of pain was no longer filled with sorrow. He was human again. He was healed.

Jesus took a few shouted rehearsed words of leper and made him whole. I can safely say that this man was so thankful Jesus was born.

Are you the one leper returning in praise or going through the motions?

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