This is a very rich passage of Scripture and it led to me to a myriad of thoughts.
1. The leper's approach - Lepers had to declare themselves. They walked around announcing "unclean" for all to hear. It was a declaration of sickness, a warning to all those who were healthy to stay away. This leper stepped out in faith to meet the Lord. As non-Christians, we had a kind of spiritual leprosy, we were unclean in our sin and had to approach Christ in faith for our spiritual healing as well.
2. If you will - I like the faith the leper had here. He obviously had a severe need of healing and knew the Lord could do it, yet his approach acknowledged that it would only happen if it was the Lord's will. I read this and recognize that even in my worst state, I do not always seek God's will when asking Him to answer prayer. I just want answers. A humbling reminder to seek God's will more than my own.
3. Jesus touched him - He could have spoken a word. He could have told him to wash in some river. Instead, Jesus reached out and touched the leper. Physically contacting this diseased man in order to heal him. This would have, according to Jewish law, made Jesus unclean as well. It also reminds me that the Lord took on our disease at the cross. He bore our sin so that we could be healed spiritually.
4. A Testimony - Jesus told the now healed leper to tell no one, but to go to see the priest and make the required offerings. This was to be a testimony to what the Lord did in His life. It would have come at some expense and travel for this man to put his faith in action again. When the Lord heals us today, it is so that He will receive glory, as a testimony of His power!
As I said, a few thoughts stirred by this passage of Scripture.
Three days later and I am better than I was. However, I still find different words popping to mind than what I intend to say. Thankfully, I have improved to the point where I can recognize it is the wrong word and change it to the right one before speaking.
Even writing this post is a bit hard at the moment.
I have been on a forced rest and that has given me a lot of time to think. (Or with my concussion, thinking I was thinking.) I have also tried to use this time to reflect on the Word.
This inability to do what I want (like move a lot), say what I want or think what I want reminded me of a specific Scripture.
"For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate." (Romans 7:15) Now I know Paul was not talking about concussions here. However, when I take this verse about the struggle to do what is right, I am also reminded that my identity is in Christ.
Gal. 2:20 says, "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
I may struggle with the world around me, wrestle with temptation and even do the very things that disgust me, yet if I can remember to live out Gal. 2:20, I can rest in Him instead of struggling with the world.
And those are the ramblings of a concussed man!
Life truly is like a mist or vapor. One moment it's here, then it's gone.
Death is the final bow in a fallen world.
Losing a loved one or a dear friend is never easy. Death seems to catch us unaware. Words are left unspoken. Our "toys" of no value to us after we are gone.
We race through our years never thinking about the day it all stops. We carry on until we are carried out!
It's all rather depressing.
Thanks be to God that He loved us enough to send His Son so that we can live for all eternity with Him. For those who have accepted this gift, we have a future and a hope beyond the grave!
However, time in this world is short and we should be about the Father's business.
We should love like the Father has loved us.
We don't get a second chance after the grave to fix our mistakes now.
Take the time to put others first and love unconditionally. Hug a friend, reconcile with an enemy.
Be the hands and feet of Jesus each and every day!
I was reading James tonight and this verse struck me. I have always struggled with counting it all joy when I am in the midst of a trial. (work, home, faith, etc.) Somehow I find it hard to say, "Oh joy, a trial!" However, reading past that, I also noted that these trials produce patience and we are also told to ask for wisdom if we lack it.
Patience and wisdom. Those two words started rattling around in my brain. These are two key items I need when I am encountering a problem, a trial or a temptation. I need the patience to respond in His time and way. I need wisdom in how to proceed next and how to avoid the problems in the future.
We are also told that we will be blessed when we endure temptation. I don't think I have heard enough sermons on endurance. I want to get out of it quickly, not endure it.
All of this led me to James 1:19 which says that we should to be swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger. Being swift to hear and slow to speak is what I recently told a group of management course students I wanted to do more of. I've been working on the slow to anger part for awhile. Looking at James, I see that I need patience, wisdom and endurance as well.
Obviously, none of this is possible without the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
So Father, I ask for wisdom.
What are you asking for?