Lessons From A Leper

“But to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth…”
Romans 2:8
In Mark’s Gospel in chapter 1 Jesus cleanses a man who was suffering from full-blown leprosy. It’s an amazing story of the love and compassion of God because the story ends with the leper, (I should say former leper), immediately disobeying the instructions of Jesus by following his feelings instead of the Lord’s clear commands. At first glance at this story you might get the idea that this former leper was doing the right thing but in all actuality he was doing the wrong thing. In his zeal he was actually hindering the work of God and not helping it. He was blind to the truth because of the emotions he felt. The former leper was going around telling everyone about how the Lord had healed him. We would call this testifying. Some might even call it evangelism, yet to Jesus this was disobedience for the man was not called to this at this time.
You see loved one, Jesus had instructed the man to go show himself to the priest and offer the sacrifice Moses had commanded. Had the leper done what Jesus instructed, the priest would have learned in his research of the Old Testament law that Jesus was the promised Messiah Israel was looking for. God knows what He is doing in our lives, loved one, and when He tells us to do something it is for both our good and His glory. That’s why when the leper came and threw himself at Jesus feet and asked Jesus if He was willing to cleanse the man, Jesus, having compassion for the man, reached down and touched him and the bible says the leprosy immediately left the man and he was made clean.
I love this story because I can relate to it. I see in the story how Jesus cleanses this leper of his leprosy and how the former leper turns right around and disobeys the Lord’s request by being zealous yet not obedient to the instruction the Lord gave him. This story clearly demonstrates the amazing love and compassion of our God in that being God He knew in advance the leper would be disobedient to Him and yet He still healed the leper anyway. What a beautiful picture of God's grace and mercy! So much for our faith making us well. Sometimes its not our faith at all that brings about the blessings of God into our lives. Sometimes it’s simply the love and compassion of a merciful God.
The message of the leper is simply this. Don’t get ahead of God. God heals us not so much that we will testify for Him. God does amazing things in our lives so that we can know of His love for us. Sure, we are called to go into the world to make disciples yet its so easy to get ahead of God like our leper here and so quickly forget.  It’s not what you and I can do for God that matters. It’s what Jesus does for us that counts. The leper was so happy for himself he went around saying look at me when the Lord wanted this former leper to experience so much more. Had the leper gone to the priest as Jesus had instructed he would have learned that Jesus didn’t just come to cleanse him of his leprosy. Jesus came to cleanse him from all of his sin.

Jesus came to restore this leper back to life, and even more, He came to restore him back to God so he could enjoy eternal life. We’ll never know until we get to heaven if this former leper found eternal life even though he was cleansed of his leprosy. Learn the lesson of the leper. Don't settle for less than all the Lord has for you. Don't settle for just being clean, be forgiven through and through!

“Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever”
1 Peter 1:23

Michael Osthimer





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