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Jesus Heals a Leper

The stories and news reports were reaching my little village and a spark of hope began to spring up, perhaps for the first time since the day I pulled my shirt over my head to get into bed that night nearly four years ago. My wife asked me about the white splotch under my left arm.

I had to pack my things, leave my home, my wife of nine years, and my three beautiful children, and go live with the lepers.

Some say there is no way out of this village, but I have seen many leave. Their destination? The grave. Welcome to No Hope Flats, my home.

Jesus meets a leper in Matthew 8.

This leper put into words the thought a great number of good God honoring Christ followers have every day:

Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean. ~ Matthew 8:2

A number of things intrigue me about this statement.

He acknowledges Jesus as Lord.
He doesn’t question the ability of Jesus to heal.
He doesn’t actually ask Jesus a question.

He begins on a very good footing. He calls Jesus “Lord.” This is as much a fact today as when He walked the shores of Galilee. Jesus is Lord. As He sat on the hillside teaching, the people could tell – they knew this was not some gifted teacher. The authority which He carried declared it.

He had demonstrated right from the start of His ministry that sickness and disease were under His authority, and the leper had, no doubt, heard these stories. He, our leprous friend, does not wonder about Jesus’ ability. He is confident that he has come to the one man who could set him free from this living death of leprosy.

He does however have ONE HUGE QUESTION that is stuck right in the center of his being.

Will He or won’t He?

He does not frame it as a question though. It is almost as though if he asked the Lord the question, it would force an answer, and the thing he dreads even more than living with his disease is going back to the land of no hope.

When Jesus comes on the scene suddenly hope springs up. It stands boldly on our friends splotchy right shoulder saying – ask Him, ask Him, ask Him. But in his left ear he hears some familiar words. I bet you have heard some of these in your left ear.

  • You deserve this disease
  • You certainly don't deserve healing
  • He won’t help the likes of you
  • Maybe if you were a better father (mother, son, daughter)
  • Maybe if you were a better Christian (prayed more, served harder, slept less, ate less)

You no doubt have heard others. That left shoulder liar has a HUGE repertoire to shut down hope.

Today there are a few words I want you to hear. I want you to hear Jesus speak them to you. If you can identify with our leprous friend, I want you to read these next few lines out loud – YES out loud – do it – really – it’s important that you hear Jesus' answer to this unspoken question.

I am willing; be cleansed. ~ Matthew 8:3
I am willing; be cleansed. ~ Luke 5:13
I am willing; be cleansed. ~ Mark 1:41

Just in case you are not sure you understand what Jesus said, here is Matthew's account in a few different translations (keep reading out loud – it will help)

I am willing; be cleansed by being cured. AMP
I do want to. Become clean. CEB
I want to! Now you are well. CEV
I want to heal you. Be healed! ERV
I will; be clean. ESV
Of course I want to. Be clean! JBP (I love this one!)
I will; be thou clean. KJV
I do choose. Be made clean! NRSV
Of course I wish to. Be clean. VOICE

Are you getting the point. There is no equivocation here. Jesus takes this non-question, these waves of doubt and hope that are tossing our new friend to and fro, and calms them with this one phrase.

I want you to hear Him speak these words today, and not just in your right ear, but in your inner most being. “I Will, be clean.

BenThanks for coming by today.

See you again soon.

Ben

====

This was originally posted in June of 2013. It encouraged me this morning, and I hope it encourages you too!

====

Amplified Bible (AMP) Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation; Common English Bible (CEB) Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible; Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society; Easy-to-Read Version (ERV) Copyright © 2006 by World Bible Translation Center; English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.; J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS) J. B. Phillips, "The New Testament in Modern English", 1962 edition by HarperCollins; King James Version (KJV) by Public Domain; New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.; The Voice (VOICE) The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

2

Many Waters - SoS header

You have ravished my heart,
My sister, my spouse;
You have ravished my heart
With one look of your eyes,
With one link of your necklace.

Song of Songs 4:9 NKJV

This changes everything.

I have trouble wrapping my mind and heart around this.

My Jesus looks at me, and sees my slightest move toward Him, a glance of my eye, a turn of my neck to face Him, and His heart beats faster.

Check out some of these translations:

You have captured my heart, my treasure, my bride.~ NLT
You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride ~ NIV
You have captivated my heart, ~ ESV
You have made my heart beat faster, ~ NASB
Thou hast taken hold of my heart ~ JUB
My bride, my sister, you have charmed me. ~ NOG
My sister, my bride, you have thrilled my heart; ~ NCV [i]

WOW [I know – that is some really deep theological insight right there, isn’t it?]

When taken in the context of our "Christ and the believer" paradigm, this completely rocks my world.

I grew up for the most part in the evangelical Christianity, and for much of my Christian life, I never quite felt like I could embrace my own forgiveness.

Part of that is a strong and valid understanding of how heinous sin actually is, and how horrible a price was required to buy this forgiveness, the precious blood of the Lord Jesus. This understanding of my own depravity made it nearly impossible to ever get up off my knees before the cross asking for forgiveness, and move on with the Christian life.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe in repentance, but I also believe there must be an embracing of our forgiveness and a stepping into a faith life.

And until you understand that your attentions make the heart of Jesus beat faster, that when you gaze on Him in adoration, it captivates Him, you may spend all your time with Him recounting your sin, and reliving it before Him.

We accuse ourselves before Him of being unworthy of His attentions, even though He has paid the dearest price imaginable to make us worthy.

If you are in relationship with Jesus, and have given your heart to Him, He has taken your filthy, stinky, cloths and thrown them in the fire, and taken Christ’s own robe of righteousness and tailored it to your size and dressed you in it.

That’s right – He had it tailored to your size – it is not a borrowed robe, it is a gift. He does not rip it off your back every time you have a rebellious or filthy thought. He does not ask you to leave His chambers every time you disgrace the name He has given you, by your actions.

What is true, is that every time you turn toward Him, His heart beats faster. Your attentions take His heart captive. [Tweet This]

As the reality of this verse has begun to take hold with some of today’s worship leaders, there is a move in worship music toward more and more intimacy and passion. I have heard many old school theologians bashing this movement. I see that things can be taken too far, but as a whole, it makes me happy to see a generation embracing the love of their Lord. Frankly it sounds like some of the emotion David wrote about.

One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD And to meditate in His temple. - Psalms 27:4

When You said, "Seek My face,"
my heart said to You, "Your face, O LORD, I shall seek." - Psalms 27:8

Lord, it is your face I seek today. I long to dwell in your presence while it is called today. As I walk through my life on Earth, I want to walk with you. I long to know your presence and see your goodness in the land of the living. And I look forward to the day, that great day, when I will bow down before you. For in Your presence is fullness of joy and at Your right hand are pleasures forever more.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by today.

See you again soon.

Ben


[i] English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.; Jubilee Bible 2000 (JUB) 2000, 2001, 2010 by LIFE SENTENCE Publishing; New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation; New Century Version (NCV) The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.; New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.; Names of God Bible (NOG) The Names of God Bible (without notes) © 2011 by Baker Publishing Group.; New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation.

Jesus Heals a Leper

The stories and news reports were reaching my little village and a spark of hope began to spring up, perhaps for the first time since the day I pulled my shirt over my head to get into bed that night nearly four years ago. My wife asked me about the white splotch under my left arm.

I had to pack my things, leave my home, my wife of nine years, and my three beautiful children, and go live with the lepers.

Some say there is no way out of this village, but I have seen many leave. Their destination? The grave. Welcome to No Hope Flats, my home.

Jesus meets a leper in Matthew 8.

This leper put into words the thought a great number of good God honoring Christ followers have every day:

Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean. ~ Matthew 8:2

A number of things intrigue me about this statement.

He acknowledges Jesus as Lord.
He doesn’t question the ability of Jesus to heal.
He doesn’t actually ask Jesus a question.

He begins on a very good footing. He calls Jesus “Lord.” This is as much a fact today as when He walked the shores of Galilee. Jesus is Lord. As He sat on the hillside teaching, the people could tell – they knew this was not some gifted teacher. The authority, which He carried, declared it.

He had demonstrated right from the start of His ministry that sickness and disease were under His authority, and the leper had, no doubt, heard these stories. He, our leprous friend, does not wonder about Jesus’ ability. He is confident that he has come to the one man who could set him free from this living death of leprosy.

He does however have this HUGE question that is stuck right in the center of his being.

Will He or won’t He?

He does not frame it as a question though. It is almost as though if he asked the Lord the question, it would force an answer, and the thing he dreads even more than living with his disease is going back to a land of no hope.

When Jesus comes on the scene suddenly hope springs up. It stands boldly on our friends splotchy right shoulder saying – ask Him, ask Him, ask Him. But in his left ear he hears some familiar words. I bet you have heard some of these in your left ear.

  • You deserve this disease
  • You certainly don't deserve healing
  • He won’t help the likes of you
  • Maybe if you were a better father (mother, son, daughter)
  • Maybe if you were a better Christian (prayed more, served harder, slept less, ate less)

You no doubt have heard others. That left shoulder liar has a HUGE repertoire to shut down hope.

Today there are a few words I want you to hear. I want you to hear Jesus speak them to you. If you can identify with our leprous friend, I want you to read these next few lines out loud – YES out loud – do it – really – it’s important that you hear Jesus' answer to this unspoken question.

I am willing; be cleansed. ~ Matthew 8:3
I am willing; be cleansed. ~ Luke 5:13
I am willing; be cleansed. ~ Mark 1:41

Just in case you are not sure you understand what Jesus said, here is Matthews account in a few different translations (keep reading out loud – it will help)

I am willing; be cleansed by being cured. AMP
I do want to. Become clean. CEB
I want to! Now you are well. CEV
I want to heal you. Be healed! ERV
I will; be clean. ESV
Of course I want to. Be clean! JBP (I love this one!)
I will; be thou clean. KJV
I do choose. Be made clean! NRSV
Of course I wish to. Be clean. VOICE

Are you getting the point. There is no equivocation here. Jesus takes this non-question, these waves of doubt and hope that are tossing our new friend to and fro, and calms them with this one phrase.

I want you to hear Him speak these words today, and not just in your right ear, but in your inner most being. “I Will, be clean.

BenThanks for coming by today.

See you again soon.

Ben

Oh yeah, don't forget to leave your questions about the Bible or Christian life here:

Another Red Letter Day Q&A

Amplified Bible (AMP) Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation; Common English Bible (CEB) Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible; Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society; Easy-to-Read Version (ERV) Copyright © 2006 by World Bible Translation Center; English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.; J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS) J. B. Phillips, "The New Testament in Modern English", 1962 edition by HarperCollins; King James Version (KJV) by Public Domain; New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.; The Voice (VOICE) The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

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