Numbers 33:40-34:29; Luke 5:12-16; Psalms 65:5-13; Proverbs 17:1
NT: “And it happened when He was in a certain city, that behold, a man who was full of leprosy saw Jesus; and he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then He put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately the leprosy left him. And He charged him to tell no one, “But go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as a testimony to them, just as Moses commanded.” However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.” (Luke 5:12-16 NKJV)
First of all, notice that Luke intentionally mentions that Jesus often withdrew from the crowds to pray. Jesus, as a Holy Spirit-filled and anointed man, had to remain in prayerful relationship with His Father. If He needed regular and frequent prayer, how much more do we? What struck me in this passage was Jesus’ willingness to make Himself ceremoniously unclean in order to make the leper clean. Throughout scripture, leprosy was used as a metaphor for sin. It manifested itself outwardly, but went deeper than a superficial cleansing could go. Anyone who had leprosy was defiled, and would defile anyone who touched them. The leper didn’t doubt Jesus’ ability to cleanse him. What he wasn’t sure of was Jesus’ willingness. But Jesus was willing… and as He touched the leper, Jesus’ cleanness overcame the leper’s defilement, and the leper was healed. Nowadays, it seems like people don’t question Jesus’ willingness for they believe Jesus to be kind, good, and willing. What people doubt now is His ability. Can Jesus cleanse us of the things that defile us? Can He cleanse us of bitterness and hatred. Can He wash every ounce of racism or bigotry out of our heart and give us a love for all people that transcends understanding? The reason why there is doubt is because there are so many people, for whatever reason, who wave the banner of Jesus over their heads, but have never fully allowed Him to touch and clean those deep areas. So people doubt Jesus’ ability. But Jesus is both willing and able to cleanse us of all sin and defilement and create in us a clean heart that loves God and loves people… all people. We just have to be willing to let Him touch us.
Psalms: “By awesome deeds in righteousness You will answer us, O God of our salvation, You who are the confidence of all the ends of the earth, And of the far-off seas; Who established the mountains by His strength, Being clothed with power; You who still the noise of the seas, The noise of their waves, And the tumult of the peoples. They also who dwell in the farthest parts are afraid of Your signs; You make the outgoings of the morning and evening rejoice… You crown the year with Your goodness, And Your paths drip with abundance.” (Psalms 65:5-8, 11 NKJV)
God the Creator is God over the earth. Although much of the inhabitants of the earth have rejected His role and rule, He still, in His goodness and mercy, sustains the earth. Because of Him, from where the sun rises to where the sun sets… from east to west… over the entire face of the earth, there can be rejoicing because He is the source of joy – there can be peace because He is the source of peace – there can be love because He is the source of love. This same faithful God has committed Himself to hear the prayers of those who seek Him and His purposes. He has committed to answer prayers that are aligned with His purposes. Even as the inhabitants of the earth roar and rage in hate and anger, and even shake their fists in His face, this God of creation is both willing and able to still the noise and bring peace to the tumult, if we but recognize Him as Lord and ask for His involvement. This year that has been fraught with upheaval of all sorts can be crowned with His goodness, if we would just humble ourselves before Him and recognize Him once again as God.