Monday, July 18, 2016

Insight in Unlikely Places

Chapter 10 of Iscariot by Tosca Lee is a fictional account based on the true account of when Jesus healed the leper. It gives a vivid description of the understanding of what it meant to be a leper, how the society around responded to those with leprosy and especially the unfailing love that Jesus poured out onto this leper.
Leprosy was an affliction that was a walking death sentence. It was thought that anyone afflicted by this had to have sinned. The lepers were considered unclean and were not allowed to be in the presence of normal people. The lepers were destined not only to the agonizing physical symptoms of leprosy but to the excommunication from society, from the touch of the human hand, from being loved and forgotten. But God never forgets any of us and loves all of us with a love that will never fail, will always reach out and touch and love us.
This fictional representation of this miracle helps you see this miracle with new eyes. We are all unclean, not because we have leprosy but because we all bear the sinful nature that we have inherited from Adam and Eve. The spiritual death that came upon Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden because of their rebellion and sin against God is like a bright lite up room that is suddenly immersed in darkness. The Spirit of God can no longer connect with our spirit because his holiness won’t allow it. A Holy God cannot be in the presence of sin. This darkness of the spirit is passed on to us because that is what is there. Adam and Eve couldn’t pass on what they did not have.
Because we are unclean and sinful by nature, God had to turn away from us. We are the leper who has to be turned away from because of our uncleanness. But unlike humans, who shunned those with leprosy because of their own fears, we have a God who has no fear of our sin, he just can’t be in the presence of it because his Holy nature will not allow it. But God, in his goodness, made a plan so that the unclean could be made clean again by the blood of Jesus. His love for us is so great that instead of cleaning the slate and starting over with his creation, he chose to create a plan to save us, to make us new again, to give us the connection back to His Spirit. He chose to come down to us in a way that none expected; an ordinary man with an extraordinary mission, to forgive us of our sins, be the sacrifice for our sins, give us an eternal life and spiritual connection with the Father. Jesus didn’t have to die, he didn’t have to suffer the humiliating and excruciating torture and death on a cross. He didn’t beg for mercy or claim again and again that he was innocent and he didn’t deserve to die. He did what the Father asked him to do; he obeyed the plan that God had put into place. He obeyed because he loved his Father. He reached out and touched the leper and said I am willing because love motivated him. A kind of love that doesn’t fail, that isn’t repulsed or disgusted, a love that sees and does what is right and true. Jesus reaching out to touch the leper and to go against what society dictated was outrageous, unbelievable, unfathomable but Jesus was more than a man. He was God in the flesh and with God all things are possible. He can reach out and touch the sinful mess that we are and he sees only beauty and feels only love. What a gift! What a gift! It is almost too much for the mind to grasp. His love defies all. In the face of evil, he sees the creation he made and loves it, loves us and does everything he can for us no matter the cost.

Lord, I thank you for your goodness, your love that never fails, never ends. You have given us the greatest gift. You have taken the unclean messiness of my soul and made me clean. You have given me your Holy Spirit to light up and bring life back to my dead spirit. You fill all the empty places within and fulfill my every need. Thank you, thank you. These words will never be enough to express the gratitude for this gift but I will continue to say them to feel them. Help me in the day ahead to walk in your light, love as you love me and live out your purpose for me that all this may bring you glory upon glory. I pray this all in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.  

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