And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
We turn today to the final of our devotions on these two verses. We have seen that Jesus is good and compassionate towards those in need. This morning we look at our response to Jesus and how these things should affect our lives.
What do you live for? What a question for a Saturday morning!
We can live for so many things – for family, for comfort, for happiness or even for status. None of these things are wrong in themselves, but they should not be our main concern in life. I am no fan of S Club 7 (an average pop group from twenty years ago!), but one song has stuck in my mind with the unforgettable lyrics ‘Bring it all back to you’. This seems to be the soundtrack of my own heart so often – I want everything to come back to me, and this is the motive when I scratch under the surface of so much of my own behaviour. Putting ourselves in the middle and living for our own comfort and glory is sin in its purest from. This is what Adam and Eve did in the garden of Eden, what Satan did when he fell from heaven and it is the default setting of our own hearts, and it leads to destruction.
What is the answer?
May I kindly suggest this morning that the answer is found here in these verses. You will never be able to replace yourself at the centre of your own life until you find someone to take your place. Through the Spirit’s enabling we can turn to another that is so utterly beautiful and captivating that all else fades to nothing compared to him. As Paul said in Philippians 3, ‘But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.’
Jesus’ response to the leper shows something of his majesty and beauty. He is the humble king who created all things yet reaches out in love towards the needy. He is the strongest of all, yet the meekest and lowliest of all men who radiates love and beauty. Christianity has never been about following rules or even loving a sort of theology – it is about loving Christ. And what a Christ we have to love! The one who is perfect in holiness yet gave himself on the cross for us.
When the Spirit reveals to us the beauty of Christ, we will start to love him and live for him, and this is life to the full.
So, in the slightly altered words of S Club 7 – bring it all back to Him!
Steffan Job, Capel y Ffynnon Bangor