MANY LEVELS OF HEALING
Father, as I read today, open my heart to receive and respond to your Word with fresh insight and renewed commitment.
Read LUKE 5:12-16
Jesus Heals a Man With Leprosy
12 While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy.[a] When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
13 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.
14 Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”
15 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
- Luke 5:12 The Greek word traditionally translated leprosy was used for various diseases affecting the skin.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
I praise you today, Lord, for you are the God who ‘sets the lonely in families, [and] … leads out the prisoners with singing.’1
Luke recounts the story of the healing of a man with leprosy, who has suffered extreme exclusion and marginalization because of his illness. The word for leprosy points to various skin diseases which were greatly feared. I once visited a group of leprosy sufferers in Kolkata and saw people in such an advanced stage they could not feel rats gnawing at their fingers and toes while they slept in piles of rubbish. Consigned to these places, their social exclusion was heartbreaking.
This man is so isolated that he has nobody to help him and must approach Jesus alone. He does so ‘with his face to the ground’ (v 12), emphasizing the shame and social rejection he has experienced. Jesus ‘reached out his hand and touched the man’ (v 13). This surprising touch is incredibly restorative after so much avoidance and fear. Jesus’ dramatic ‘Be clean!’ (v 13) relates to all the levels of defilement and ostracism he has experienced. Jesus’ cleansing restores him to full participation in society.
God’s healing is never just physical. It can cleanse and restore whatever wounds we have suffered, whether relational, spiritual, emotional, mental, psychological, or whatever else. Jesus understands that we are complex, holistic, interconnected people. He offers us the comprehensive remedy for whatever ails us. The Greek word for ‘save’ (sozo) captures all this; for it can mean being saved, healed, redeemed, cleansed, set free, delivered, rescued, and made whole. Biblical salvation is not only about restoring our relationship with God, but has implications for every aspect of our lives. Jesus is radically reordering society through the coming of the kingdom. This challenges exclusion and marginalization in our day as well.
Be still. Where is God bringing healing into your life? Where do you need to ask for his restoring love? Ask him to help you bring this to others.
Lord Jesus, thank you for the ways you teach me, not just with words, but with your actions. Help me to follow your example as I relate to the world around me.
1 Ps 68:6
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