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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Mary Mallon"

June 8, 2007

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A leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. Matthew 8:2-3

Mary Mallon was a good cook and an excellent employee. Mary Mallon had only one small flaw. She killed the people she worked for. Don’t misunderstand. Mary wasn’t a monster. She never admitted to killing anyone. But, Mary was responsible for the sickness and death of many people with whom she came into contact. Now, I’m not surprised if the name Mary Mallon isn’t familiar to you, but I’m guessing you know her nickname: Typhoid Mary. Mary was a healthy carrier of typhoid fever who infected 47 people and killed three of them. As a public danger, Mary was kept in forcible quarantine until she died.

Andrew Speaker is a good lawyer and an excellent attorney. Andrew Speaker has only one small problem. He carries a drug resistant form of tuberculosis that can infect and kill others. Last week, Andrew Speaker made the headlines because he had managed to make it past border security and exposed an unknown number of people to his illness by taking his honeymoon in Italy, the Greek Isles, and other tourist destinations throughout Europe. Today, the government has forcibly quarantined Andrew Speaker.

Very few people reading this devotion would disagree when I say the government, in both of these cases, did the right and sensible thing. If that is what you believe, please take a look at how Jesus handled the leper who came and knelt before Him. Matthew tells us the Savior stretched out his hand and touched the infected man and healed him. It was hardly the sensible thing for the Savior to do. On the other hand, touching a leper to heal him was the Godly, gracious thing for Jesus to do.

In the same way, we must admit the Father’s sending of His Son to seek and save souls that are infected by sin is hardly sensible. You wouldn’t have done something like that. I wouldn’t either. But God’s ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not ours, either. God’s grace and love is wonderfully, Divinely unique. Who else but our heavenly Father would send His Son to reach out and heal lepers, restore sight to the blind, mobility to the lame, hearing to the deaf, and salvation to the sinner?

Scripture is clear. Jesus came not to put us into quarantine, but to get us out of the quarantine and condemnation of sin. It may not have been the sensible thing for God to do, but I am glad He did it.

THE PRAYER: Dear Savior, Your life, death and resurrection show me the great love You had for the lost of humankind. For Your love that reached out to the leper and your sacrifice that redeems sinners, I give thanks, this day and always. In Your Name, Amen.

Today's Bible Readings: Psalms 143-145    John 18:1-18

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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