Friday in the Third Week of Ordinary Time

Matthew 8:1-4; Mark 1:40-45; Luke 5:12-16

Our Compassionate Savior

The life of the leper in ancient times was truly pitiful.  It was thought in that day that someone with leprosy was cursed by God.  Naturally, people were horrified of having the disease themselves.  Thus, lepers were run off, and were the objects of stones hurled at them if they got too close.  In short, theirs was a wretched life.

It was under these cultural conditions that this poor man approached Jesus.  He had obviously heard about Jesus as his fame had spread throughout Galilee.  He no doubt heard that Jesus could heal people.  But he also must have heard something else – that Jesus was compassionate, that Jesus would not run away from him, as everyone else did, or worse, throw rocks.  And so the man took courage and did what no leper would ever do – he approached another human being – he approached Jesus.

As Mark offers the fuller account, we will use his gospel.  He writes that the leper came “imploring him” and knelt before him, saying, “If you will, you can make me clean.”  The man did not doubt that Jesus could.  I really don’t think he doubted that Jesus would, but spoke in a humble way knowing that he certainly could make no demand.  And then, “moved with pity, [Jesus] stretched out his hand and touched him and said, ‘I will; be clean.’”  Did you hear that?  Jesus touched him!  How long had it been since this man was touched by another human being?  “And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.”

There is a whole gospel in this account.  Indeed, it was considered so important that Matthew, Mark, and Luke recorded the event.  You have a person in desperate need of healing.  We are like the leper, people who are unclean because of our sins, who know that our spiritual sores are foul and festering.  Like the leper, we know we must be cleansed in order to live.  We learn of Jesus and approach him in desperation, “If you will, you can make me clean.”  We know that he can, but will he?  We make no demand; we presume nothing.  We know that he owes us nothing.  Our faith is weak, but yet we cry out.

And he hears us – and heals us.  Through the blood of the cross shed for the forgiveness of sins, and through the resurrection which is the promise of a new life now and through eternity, he makes us clean, indeed, newborn.  You need not hide in fear.  Approach the Savior and be made clean.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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