EXCERPT # 4: HEALING MOMENT THREE
JESUS IDENTIFIES WITH
The healing of the Leper tells us more about the compassion of Jesus than any other healing miracle found in the four gospels. For Jesus, touching the leper superseded the ceremonial rituals commanded by the law of Moses. In touching the leprous man, Mark allows us to see into the very heart and compassion of Jesus. His touch removed any doubts and fears the man may have had and reassured him of Jesus’ willingness to heal him. Jesus’ touch did not just heal the man physically, but healed him emotionally, and spiritually at the very core of his being. (See Lev. 13:1-3.) Jesus risked becoming ceremonially unclean to heal the leper. In putting his hands on the leper, in a real sense, Jesus identified with his humanity, as well as with his sins and disease. This man experienced God’s love, mercy, and grace, revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus teaches us that people are more important than man-made rules and laws.
When I was growing up in my hometown of Roanoke, Virginia, there was an old man of small stature whose speech was barely intelligible. He lacked social skills and wore his shoes on the wrong foot. Some people made fun of him, calling him insulting names and treating him as an outcast. His family tried to protect him by isolating him from the public. Like the leper, he too had been marginalized by a segment of society. Mark’s account of the healing of the leper reminds us that God does not see or treat people as the world does. He sees them as precious and valued. Therefore, Jesus treated all who came to him for help with respect and dignity. Jesus championed the cause of broken humanity.
Both the Old and the New Testaments declare that God identifies with the poor, needy, orphans, and widows, who in most cases have been rejected by society. As the Messiah of God, Jesus championed the cause of all the oppressed. Jesus made it clear that those who followed him were to do the work that he had done. Like him, Jesus’ disciples were to show mercy to the poor and needy. Their deeds would not go unnoticed but would be personally rewarded by him who will judge all nations. Conversely, those who refuse to show mercy toward the oppressed will receive eternal punishment. God shows concern for all the oppressed (Psalm 41; Prov. 14:31; 22:9; Matt. 25:32- 46 NIV). The good that God has shown to each of us is to be shown to those who are powerless or helpless. We are to care for those God cares about.
In the final judgment, when the Son of Man comes in his glory, he will gather all the nations and judge their deeds. Those who claim to be his disciples are expected to serve the least of these, as he has done. Everyone will be judged by God’s standard of love—love of God and love of neighbor. Jesus summarized God’s commandments as these two. God’s standard of love puts everyone on a level playing field. As human beings, we will be judged not by what we have accumulated in this life, but by how we have used our resources to bless those in need. We have been blessed to be a blessing to others.
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