Thursday, March 22, 2012

Don't Tell Anyone?

In one of the villages Jesus met a man with and advanced case of leprosy.  When the man saw Jesus, he fell to the ground, face down in the dust, begging to be healed.  "Lord," he said, "If you want to, you can make me well again."  
Jesus reached out and touched the man, "I want to," He said.  "Be healed."
And instantly the leprosy disappeared.  Then Jesus instructed him not to tell anyone what had happened. -Luke 5: 12-14a, NLT1

I took a look at some images of men with leprosy, I cannot bring myself to post one here.  I've read this story so many times and never given much thought to the man before.  Many questions come to mind today.  I wonder if perhaps this man was somewhere in the village away from the crowds of people.   I wonder how he knew that the man before him was Jesus?  His picture was not posted all over the internet, how did he recognize the Lord?  Yet somehow he knew.
I've always loved this man's words- "If You want to, You can make me well again."  Other translations render it, "Lord, if you are willing, You can make me clean."  And I've always loved even more Jesus response to this man, "I want to."  "I am willing."  "Be healed."  "Be clean."  For the first time I noticed that before He even spoke these words though, He reached out and touched the man.  I wonder how it felt to have Jesus actually stretch out His hand and touch him?  How long had it been since he had felt the touch of another human being?   Having looked at those images this morning I am quite literally moved to tears.  The Lord is not afraid to break with convention and touch the most disturbing and unapproachable among us.  I wonder if there were any people around to witness this?  Where were the pharisees who always seemed present and ready to pounce; who followed Jesus around looking for ways to condemn Him?  Can you imagine how repulsed they would be by this act of Jesus'?
I wonder why He told this man not to tell anyone what had happened?  How could he not?!  With what jubilation and wonder he must have walked away from this encounter with the Lord.  Reading on, we learn that the man did not stay silent as Jesus had instructed, and I wonder if the Lord was disappointed by this.  Often we are called to do things that seem counter to our nature.  I struggle at times to be obedient, to live and walk and talk as God has instructed me.  The very next encounter Jesus has, with the man who was paralyzed, is a remarkable healing that takes place in front of many people, including the Pharisees who were full of criticism.  It seems there is just something different about this man with leprosy.  Something that leads Jesus to desire he keep silent, lead a quiet life fulfilling the law.  I wonder if sometimes that is what He wants from us?  How do we know when it is time to "shout it from the rooftops" and when it is time to quietly go about a life of obedience?

Grace, Peace, and Mercy, Deb

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