Monday, March 29, 2010

Touched Any Lepers Lately?

Every miracle of Jesus--like all the other things He did or said--tells us something about His heart that should be and will be reflected in the people who love and follow Him. Notice that Jesus' heart is reflected in what he did. Most church people, church leaders, and most churches could learn from that fact alone. My favorite of all of Jesus' miracles is recorded in Mark 1:40-45. Here's part of the story:

40 And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, "If you will, you can make me clean." 41Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, "I will; be clean." 42And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.

This encounter with the leper speaks volumes about the heart of our Lord. I'm afraid it may tell us just as much about our own hearts, too. But what it tells us may not be good.

Notice that in this story, there is no necessity for Jesus to touch the leper. In fact, to do so was not only going to be potentially yucky for him, it could be terribly inconvenient. This is because technically it was supposed to then make Jesus unclean, and this would quarantine and ostracize him from everyone. Jesus could just as easily have healed the leper by saying what he said without touching the man. BUT HE DIDN'T DO THAT. Jesus touched an unclean man, not because he had to, BUT BECAUSE HE WANTED TO. Do you think the leper didn't realize this? I do.

The problem with so many modern day so-called Christians, Christian leaders, and churches is that many are not willing to get their hands dirty, to inconvenience themselves, to sacrifice anything of significance in order to be used by God to impact someone in a life-changing way. Think about that. Can you describe Jesus this way? Thankfully, no! Jesus got his hands dirty with people's junk--even pierced and bloody. He inconvenienced Himself--left heaven, was born in a manger, lived as a poor carpenter, touched lepers, ate & hung out with screw-ups like us, etc.. He sacrificed everything--Hello! Remember the Cross? HE DIDN'T JUST HAVE TO DO THESE THINGS; HE WANTED TO!

If we are going to see God move in and through us, we have to be like Jesus. If we are going to be used powerfully to impact people whose lives are messy (& after all, ours were &/or are too!), we have to get our hands dirty, inconvenience ourselves, and sacrifice significantly. Even if we didn't have to, if we're at all like Jesus, shouldn't we / wouldn't we want to.

We say we want to see God work powerfully in our time. Some of us say that we want God to work through us, to use us powerfully. But do we really? I don't know who it was who said: "We need not pray for God to use us, rather that he would make us useful." The implication of course is that if we are useful, then God would be able to use us all he wants. God make us useful. Lord, if necessary, start by showing us how unlike you we really are.

More lessons from the leper later . . .

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