@robertkwendt || lead pastor
I'm one of those people who gets paranoid while in the hospital. Feelings of illness, sickness, and pain seem to creep through my body each and every time I enter the facility. Often, my comfort is found in the little white bottles on the wall—hand sanitizer.
While I wouldn't consider myself a germophobe, my actions in the hospital speak otherwise. Something about the facility and environment always make me a little bit more on edge.
However, those hand sanitizers make all the difference. I hit them everywhere I go. Each room I pass. Each door I exit. Each elevator I take. The reason for my obsession with these sanitizer bottles throughout the hospital is simply that I've grown up in a world where I've been taught this: the best way to stay healthy is to avoid sick people.
The world has taught me that the best way to stay healthy is to avoid sick people." @robertkwendt
a story of an unclean man.
In the gospel of Mark, we see the following account:
And a leper came to him [Jesus], imploring him, and kneeling said to him, 'If you will, you can make me clean.' Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, 'I will; be clean.' And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean." Mark 1:40-42 ESV
There's some history that must be understood here. Leprosy was considered something that made a man or woman unclean. According to the Jewish practices, a leper would be left to solitude and couldn't dare come near the holy places. Since God is a holy (set apart) God, anyone who was to enter the tabernacle (or later the temple) would have to be cleansed. Having a disease such as leprosy disqualified a person from even having the opportunity to stand before God in the temple. Here is how the Levitical Law describes it:
"The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean.’ He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp." Leviticus 13:45-46 ESV
Throughout Jewish history, there was a barrier placed between people with leprosy and those without it. One was considered "clean" while the other was considered "unclean." Those without the disease could be inside the camp and could enter the temple without any issues...for they were considered clean. However, those who were struck with the disease were kept on the outside. There was a barrier.
Just as there was a barrier between those with leprosy and those without it, there is a barrier between humans and God.
The disease that comes between us is referred to as sin.
all of mankind is born unclean.
The Old Testament prophet Isaiah describes the condition of mankind this way:
You meet him who joyfully works righteousness,
As fellow humans, we all share the same story. We are unclean, sinful people. None of us is good. In fact, we will never be 'clean enough' or 'good enough' if left to our own. No matter how hard we strive, work, or toil, we will always come up short.
While this may seem disenfranchising at first, it is a common bond that connects all of humanity. In addition, there is another connection this brings, more than just a human-to-human one: a connection that binds us to a holy (set apart) God. The connection is Jesus.
The powerful moment in the story of Jesus and the man with leprosy is that Jesus touched the man.
love touches unclean people.
Throughout the gospels, Jesus performed miracles. He performed them through word, action, and even across long distances. There were times where he had physical contact and others where there was no contact at all. In the instance where he touched the leprous man, Jesus touched him. Not only did he not avoid him, but he reached out his hand and touched him. This is absolutely mind blowing. It's a big deal. It serves as an example to us.
Just as Jesus touched the man with leprosy, we are called to touch the "unclean" people around us. Having a relationship with Jesus makes us clean before God, but it does not give us the excuse to flash a VIP card of sorts and continue living how we did before Christ made us clean. Instead, our relationship with God comes with the challenge of spreading what Jesus did for us to people all around the world.
In 2 Corinthians 5:11-21, we are called ambassadors of Christ. It is our duty to spread the good news of Jesus.
Imagine if someone told you they had the cure to cancer, and then you witnessed it first hand. How would you respond? You would tell everyone you knew about it, because everyone knows someone who has been impacted by the awful disease.
Now there is a disease even worse than cancer, and it affects every single human being...sin.
However, there is a cure. The cure is faith in Jesus Christ! So why wouldn't we share that with everyone we know?
|| challenge ||
Go and share Jesus with someone who doesn't know him. (Don't allow outward appearance to get in the way of you touching them.)