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. [Matthew 8:2-3]
I love this interaction between this leper and Jesus; for here I see my own sinfulness but also the grace and love of God.
Here we have the unclean; humbly and faithfully and boldly, coming to Jesus even though it was not socially acceptable for him to do so. Actually, it was against the Law. This unclean outcast desperately seeking cleansing, healing and restoration. And he demands nothing but rather throws himself at the mercy of Jesus.
IF you will…
And before Jesus even says a word Jesus lets his actions speak love and mercy by reaching out to touch that which no one would have dreamed of touching. And after the leper feels the touch of Jesus he hears those life giving words:
I will; be clean
And that’s it. This outcast is clean and restored and healed and brought back into communion with God. I imagine there was much joy for the leper following this act of love and mercy…
And you too, O sinner, are unclean. That’s right, I’m talking to you; the one reading this.
YOU are unclean.
YOU are a sinner.
YOU are separated from God.
And YOU are in need of healing. If you don’t agree with me then too bad, for you can’t escape this fact. But there is hope for there is Jesus. Just call out to God in the name of Jesus and you too will be cleansed.
So will you, O sinner, join me in calling out to God?
O God, if you will, you can forgive me. I am a sinner. I have hurt others and especially you. And I especially want to confess_________. Have mercy on me. Touch me. Restore me. Make me whole again. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.
And now, O sinner, hear the words of God:
My beloved child, I am more than willing, you are forgiven.
O sinner, rejoice and be glad. Through faith in Jesus you are made whole.
Praise be to God and Amen.
The Pastor -|—