Wednesday, September 06, 2006


I've been thinking all week about something I read in a daily devotional a few days back. The book is a compilation of Charles Spurgeon's writings for morning and evening, and they are all so good. But this one particular entry grabbed my mind and I haven't been able to let it go. In the Old Testament anyone with a skin disease, leprosy most of all, was banned from being in public and especially banned from the temple or any public gatherings. If they do walk the streets, they have to shout "unclean" to those around them. I think of the Charlton Heston version of Ben Hur, when he finally finds out where his mother and sister are and goes to the leper colony. It isn't easy to reach and food is lowered to people in a basket. The inhabitants of that place exist in a living cemetery. To the healthy world outside of the colony, they are as good as dead. If the clean don't flee from them, they flee the clean, as when Judah goes down into the cave to find his relatives. It was a life of total isolation marked by the disease.

The entry that struck me was of a leper who "went public" to get to Jesus. He risked death to be out among people, having broken Levitical law. The words that so gripped me the following, that Jesus, in turn, broke the same law to touch the man. He was a rabbi, so the offense was even worse for Him. Anyone touching a diseased or dead body made themselves unclean and had to temporarily separate themselves from holy service. Jesus went to the same lengths, and even greater, to reach someone who reached out to Him. He did in life what He did in death, taking on all our diseases. Then I thought about how many times the scripture said that people with all manner of sickness came to Him and He healed them all. Not only did people lose their fear and come to Him, they lost their fear of being in public with each other.

Our sin is the great leveler, not our freedom, not our opportunity in life, not anything we might do. Our sin is also the great separator, from God and each other, and in every way we have to throw off the restraints of pride, fear, self-importance and vanity that keep us from seeking Him and being among those who are like us, because we are all lepers. Thank God we have access to the sinless Lawbreaker. He is the only one who is above it.


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