Leprosy is a scourge of a disease and it is deadly! In the Gospel of Mark we see a man with leprosy and the first big thing that sticks out to me is that he knows that he has the inability to cure himself. This man asks Jesus to cure Him. We all have a sort of leprosy…it’s called “sin”. I know that’s a big church word that throws everyone in a tailspin. It’s been used and overused as a weapon so much that the sound of the word puts us on the defense. But let’s take a closer look and see what we find. Maybe, just maybe, there is something deeper below the surface…..just like the leper, the real value is below the surface of the man’s skin….it’s what’s inside…not outside….let’s take a closer look…..
Mark 1:38-45 (ESV)
38 And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” 39 And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons. 40 And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” 42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 43 And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, 44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” 45 But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.
The word “sin” in both Hebrew (“Chata” [khaw-taw]) and Greek (“hamartano” [ham-ar-tan-o]) simply means to “miss the mark”, “to miss the goal or path”, “to miss oneself, lose oneself, wander from the way”. This is not to say that there is not a price to be paid for straying down the wrong path. What it does say, is that it is not about breaking the rules as much as it is about staying on the right path. Okay, maybe we shouldn’t be so defensive anymore when we hear the word, “sin”. All it means is straying from the right path.
Another word that often causes us to stand back in defense because it has been used and overused as a weapon for so long is the word, “Repentance”. In Hebrew the word is, “shuwb” [shoob] and carries the meaning of “restore”, “return”, and “to be brought back”. In Greek, the word translated as “repentance” is “metanoeo” [met-an-o-eh-o] and carries the meaning, “to change one’s mind for better”. Now that’s a little easier to swallow too, isn’t it?
This doesn’t lessen the impact of sin or ungodly living in our lives. But, what it should do is show us that God loves us and wants the best for us. He wants us to stay on the path of goodness and love. He knows that in doing so we will find ultimate fulfillment in our lives. Jesus simply said, “go and sin no more” (John 8:11 [Jesus speaking to the adulterous woman])
HERE IS THE KEY: Like leprosy, sin is deadly and deforms us–we all have the disease! Only Jesus’ healing touch can restore us to real living. But first, like the leper, we must realize our inability to cure ourselves and we must ask Jesus, “If you will, you can make me clean.”
Like the leper, your real value lies inside your heart, not outside. You are valuable to God, indeed, you are valuable to Jesus. I believe with all of my heart that when God looks at you, He sees what I see when I look at my daughters or my grandsons. I see the past, present, and future all wrapped up in one glorious package of unconditional love. I smile when I see their hearts doing the right things in life….. and God smiles when He sees your heart doing the right things….loving Him….loving those around you….seeking and applying His wisdom so that you might find true fulfillment in life.
We may have been deformed by sin, maybe we are on the wrong path. But God, by coming to this earth as man (Jesus) to show us the truth of His love and His wisdom, has touched us, giving us the opportunity to be healed. Get back on the right path, change your mind for the better (repent of your sin)…Jesus wants to touch you….He wants to heal you today. God, indeed Jesus, loves you unconditionally and wants you to love Him……just like I love my grandsons…..with all of my heart!