Luke 5:12-16

12 While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy; and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and besought him, "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean." 13 And he stretched out his hand, and touched him, saying, "I will; be clean." And immediately the leprosy left him. 14 And he charged him to tell no one; but "go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to the people." 15 But so much the more the report went abroad concerning him; and great multitudes gathered to hear and to be healed of their infirmities. 16 But he withdrew to the wilderness and prayed.

Meditation: Do you seek the Lord Jesus with expectant faith? No one who sought Jesus out was refused his help. Even the untouchables and the outcasts of Jewish society found help in him. Unlike the people of Jesus' time who fled at the sight of a leper, Jesus touched the leper who approached him and he made him whole and clean. Why was this so remarkable? Lepers were outcasts of society. They were driven from their homes and communities and left to fend for themselves. Their physical condition was terrible as they slowly lost the use of their limbs and withered away. They were not only shunned but regarded as "already dead" even by their relatives. The Jewish law forbade anyone from touching or approaching a leper, lest ritual defilement occur.

This leper did something quite remarkable. He approached Jesus confidently and humbly, expecting that Jesus could and would heal him. Normally a leper would be stoned or at least warded off if he tried to come near a rabbi. Jesus not only grants the man his request, but he demonstrates the personal love, compassion, and tenderness of God in his physical touch. The medical knowledge of his day would have regarded such contact as grave risk for incurring infection. Jesus met the man's misery with compassion and tender kindness. He communicated the love and mercy of God in a sign that spoke more eloquently than words. He touched the man and made him clean - not only physically but spiritually as well.

How do you approach those who seem difficult to love, or who are shunned by others because they are deformed or have some physical or mental weakness? Do you show them kindness and offer them mercy and help as Jesus did? The Lord Jesus is always ready to show us his mercy and to free us from whatever makes us unclean, unapproachable, or unloving.

Lord Jesus, inflame my heart with your love and make me clean and whole in body, mind, and spirit. May I never doubt your love nor cease to tell others of your mercy and compassion.

Psalm 147:12-15,19-20

12 Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion!
13 For he strengthens the bars of your gates; he blesses your sons within you.
14 He makes peace in your borders; he fills you with the finest of the wheat.
15 He sends forth his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly.
19 He declares his word to Jacob, his statutes and ordinances to Israel.
20 He has not dealt thus with any other nation; they do not know his ordinances. Praise the LORD!

Daily Quote from the Early Church Fathers: Jesus' healing demonstrates the power of the kingdom of heaven, by Ambrose of Milan, 339-397 A.D.

"The authority of power in the Lord is here compared with the steadfastness of faith manifest in the leper (Luke 5:12-13). He fell on his face because it is a mark of humility and modesty that each feel shame for the sins of his life, but shyness did not restrict his confession. He showed the wound, he begged for the remedy, and the very confession is full of piety and faith. 'If you will,' it says, 'you can make me clean'" He conceded the power to the Lord's will. But he doubted concerning the Lord's will, not as if unbelieving in piety, but as if aware of his own impurity, he did not presume. The Lord replies to him with a certain holiness. 'I will: be clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him.' For there is nothing between God's command and his work, because the work is in the command. Thus he spoke, and they came into being (Psalm 33:9). You see that it cannot be doubted that the will of God is power. If, therefore, his will is power, those who affirm that the Trinity is of One will affirm that it is of one power. Thus the leprosy departed immediately. In order that you may understand the effect of healing, he added truth to the work." (excerpt from EXPOSITION OF THE GOSPEL OF LUKE 5.2-3)