Mark 1:40-42 - And a leper came to Him [Jesus], imploring Him, and kneeling said to Him, "If You will, You can make me clean." Moved with pity, He stretched out His hand and touched him and said to him, "I will; be clean." And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.
Years ago, I was leading a Christian tour group to Egypt. We were awed by the sights and sounds of that country's past magnificence and its current, vibrant culture. There was, however, one thing that didn't impress some of our "cleanliness-is-next-to-godliness" travelers." And that was the dust and dirt we encountered everywhere. One lady, who was particularly irked, saw a little girl playing on what looked to be a village garbage dump. In disgust the woman said, "Why doesn't that child's mother do something to clean her up?"
Our guide, a native Cairene, overheard her dissatisfaction. He picked up the microphone and calmly said, "Ladies and gentlemen, someone has asked how a mother could let her daughter get so dirty. I can only tell you this: visitors to our country hate dirt, but they don't know the love we have for our little children. The mothers of our country cherish and love their little children, but they don't really hate dirt—not like some of our visitors do. So, until love for a child and hatred for dirt come together, these children are likely to remain as they are—playing on dirty trash heaps."
After that the bus got very quiet, with many thinking about the truth of what the guide had just said. For positive change to happen in our world—in our communities, families, and churches—then love and power need to come together.
As Christians, we know that love and power have come together—in Jesus Christ. Our Heavenly Father, moved by love, sent His only Son to be born as one of us. As the omnipotent Son of God, Jesus willingly lived, suffered, died, and rose for us. Because ultimate power and love come together in the Savior, all who believe in Him are changed, transformed, and completely cleansed. They are no longer covered by the filth of sin. As St. Paul wrote to the Corinthian church: "And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6:11).
God has done for us what we could never do on our own: "For God has done what the Law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit" (Romans 8:3-4).
WE PRAY: Dear Heavenly Father, "Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow" (Psalm 51:7). In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.
From "Jesus Is Willing," a devotional from Rev. Dr. Kenneth Klaus, Speaker Emeritus for The Lutheran Hour
1. What was an unexpected surprise you once experienced from traveling?
2. Do you think the man with leprosy was shocked when Jesus healed him? Why?
3. Is cleansing us from sin greater, do you think, than being cleansed of leprosy? Why?
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