Jesus Cleanses a Leper
When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. 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. And Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”
Let the miracles begin!
Leprosy, like Aids today, was an incurable disease that, like today, many were terrified of. It was highly contagious and was almost always a death sentence. It was the priests who would declare a person a “leper” and banish them to private colonies.
Sin is the same for us all, it is incurable now matter how hard we try or wish it would go away. Thanks to the Fall we are all given over to the selfish, prideful, lustful desires of the flesh.
However notice the faith of this man, this sick and dying man. He did not say “can you heal me?”, He said “if you will, you can…”. His belief was solid, he had complete faith that Jesus was the Messiah and that there is nothing beyond His power if only He wills it to be.
Jesus is God and God can heal anything!
It is not a coincidence that I was led to an article and news interview with a baptist pastor a while back commenting on the Chick-Fil-A fiasco. His point was simple and profound. The claim brought up by the counterpoint in the interview said it should not be the comments of the owner saying simply “he believes in man/woman” marriage, it is that their company funds organizations that attempt to convert homosexuals.
The response from the Pastor was clear, these organizations do not go into the homes of gay people and force their beliefs on them. These are organizations that through the healing power of Christ offer freedom from their bondage if that is what they desire.
Much like an alcoholic or drug addicts who wants to overcome their addiction, and under their own free will seek out help, and may go to a rehab where they are given the 12 steps as a foundation for a new life.
Those 12 steps are simple.
Step 1 – I am powerless. I’ve made a mess of my life. I’ve tried to control my behavior and tried to change a 1,000 times but there is just no hope left,
Step 2 – There is a God. He is all powerful and I am not Him. There is nothing He can’t heal and my pain, sinfulness, and shame is not beyond His mercy and redemption.
Step 3 – I willingly, eagerly and with great anticipation and hope surrender my life to Christ Jesus, that His desires become my desires, His will my will, His glory my goal.
For many homosexuals, they want to change, and they can. God can change the heart of the most sickest leper. I know first hand, my sexual addiction led me to horrible things, but I am not that person today. Do old images still haunt me, bad memories from the past, yes.. but I am not the same person and I am no longer in bondage to that lifestyle.
Was I brainwashed? Not in the sense the world would think. My life was a living hell, I was miserable and dying inside. I first stopped drinking by the power of Christ. I didn’t even realize I had a sex addiction until after months of sobriety.
You see, I grew up in a world that gives high fives over sexual conquests, an economy that makes billions annually on the sale of pornographic magazines and movies, an internet that freely serves up hell within the confines of the computer screen which is shrouded in the lie “it’s ok, nobody will know or care; easy and free access to soul death at the click of a button.
By the grace of God alone, he revealed to me that lust was a sin, and the journey to overcome my lustful heart became His next target and I have joyously surrendered to the process.
Has it been easy, no! But is my heart and life being transformed by the power of Christ, yes! Does my life even resemble a little bit my old ways, not even close!
Many scientists once (and maybe still do) deem that alcoholism is a hereditary disease that one has no control over, that it can’t be changed or healed permanently. How does that definition sound any different than the same scientists who have marked homosexuality with the same stigma.
One of the most hopeless considerations I ever encountered in my own journey was that thought that my alcoholism could not be healed, that it was a disease and I was stuck with it for life. In that context, why even try?
But as I learned, alcoholism is no different than all the sins in the bible, they are the escape hatch we use to hide from painful memories and overwhelming fears. Whether that is sex, drugs, idolatry, materialism, power, fame, work-a-holism; they are all fear based reactions to a fallen world that is void of faith in God.
There are millions of people who choose to remain alcohol and drug addicts, and in fact many are in denial that there is anything wrong with it. Consumption is not a sin, but excess is.
A Christian’s heart breaks, as does God’s, over the wasted life that is being destroyed by their sinful choice to remain in bondage when we as Christians must know we don’t have to remain locked in that self-imposed prison of sin.
Christ set us free, we just struggle to believe it sometimes.
Acts 26:18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
That is the Good News of Christ!. We were designed for so much more than bondage, we are image-bearers of God Himself with the capacity for great amounts of love and compassion.
A homosexual should viewed no differently than a alcoholic whether in denial or seeking restoration. There are no behaviors, beliefs or feelings that cannot be changed if so desired through free will; God can and will grant that to anyone if He is sought. Jesus offers healing to those who call out to Him for that healing.
Jesus did not chase down the sick and force healing upon them, but He showed great compassion and understanding and if sought through faith and then provided the living waters that gives new life, which is knowledge of Him and ultimately the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
We as Christians are called to do the same; love the sick, lost, and broken, no matter the sin. Love ourselves and others to Christ, not play God. For any healing to take place, we must truly believe we are sick, and we must believe He can heal.
The healthy do not need a doctor, and God’s message of healing through the death and resurrection of His Son is for those who know they are sick.
If you are not sick, then reject Him. You have free will, you have a choice. You can live this life under care and control of anyone you like. You can do it alone, in a selfish bubble serving only yourself through will-power and pleasure seeking, you can follow Satan and purposely spread hate and discontent and evil, or you can follow God and find out what the definition of unconditional love, forgiveness, grace and redemption truly is.
Jesus is the greatest healer that ever walked the earth, and He has risen!
Marriage has been between a man and a woman for 1,000’s of years. Christian’s are simply speaking the truth that has been the fiber of family and society since the beginning of time. We are not the ones forcing an agenda, we are defending biblical traditions that have spurred on the growth of our planet since the beginning of time. It is not hate or intolerance, it is a recognition that self gratification at the expense of healthy man/woman parented families doesn’t work, it is not how God designed human reproduction, human connection, human thriving.
If there was a city that was 100% gay, every single person would be dead after one generation. There would be no procreation. You can love the same sex all you want, but to unite in flesh and call it marriage, why? That’s like saying when I’m sitting in my car on the freeway I am fishing; it is apples and oranges.
That’s like saying an illegal alien who sneaks over the border deserves Social Security benefits. Why? Is he an American citizen who has paid into that program his whole life? No, he simply doesn’t meet the criteria of one who is qualified to receive those benefits. But alas I know there are movements by our president to give amnesty to 100’s of thousands of illegals right now, so I guess it’s the same liberal agenda that embraces entitlement to the insane degree.
Much like the extreme liberal Christian’s who think Carnal Christianity is a valid option; that we can come into relationship with Christ and our work is done, we can live any way we choose. Eh, God will forgive me, I don’t need to change.
I was going to continue with Matthew but it appears this morning’s blog turned into a soap box. I was also going to say “sorry if you got offended”… but in reality what I said was in love for anyone who wants a new life regardless of the sin, so I’m sorry if you felt the need to take my words as offensive.
I was not wielding a sword, simply describing my own personal story as an addict seeking healing and restoration.
Healing is possible but only if we boldly proclaim “God, I am sick and you can heal me if you choose”.
If you were offended by any of this post, the takeaway should be to ask yourself why you felt the need get defensive, for it is not I that convict, I am only sharing hope in love.
If you are looking for healing, a great place to start is Celebrate Recovery. Find a meeting place near you. You will find Christ-centered grace, understanding, compassion, hope and healing in those rooms, I did!