Thursday, September 13, 2012

Want Change?

Limp, hobble, stop.  Limp, hobble, stop. "Unclean! Make room!" A sharp stone cut his foot and blood flowed, but he didn't feel it.  He scratched scaly skin on his face with scabbed, stubby digits.
"Jesus?  Lord?"  And Jesus drew near. 
For the leper, life was difficult, painful, long.  Each day, each meal, was uncertain. People were impossible.  Those who could help didn't.  Those who wanted to, couldn't.  Each agonizing step led to death, one foot in front of the other.  Until Jesus came.  Compared to leper two thousand years ago, no one was more poor in spirit than he, no one more hungry, thirsty or persecuted; no one more anxious and worried, no one more judged and condemned. No one longed more for the Golden Rule, no one saw more clearly the hypocrisy of its spiritual leaders.
So he came.  He came to Jesus and asked to be cleansed.  Not healed.  Cleansed.  The words, the power and authority of Jesus' teaching spoke to his heart; changed his thinking.  As he sat, perhaps hour after hour, he wanted something more.  He didn't approach Jesus for physical healing, but for the opportunity to enter the courts of the temple once more, to be right with God, to have his heart renewed--and physical healing was the vehicle, the ticket, to restoration.  Physical healing made it possible for him to worship and be one with God's people.
Jesus heard.  He inquired.  He touched.  He healed.  He restored.
Jesus' goal was not to heal broken, wounded bodies.  He is the Ruler of heaven's kingdom.  Reigning deity in the peasant garb (Philippians 2).  A walking, talking sacrifice--dead man walking--that would lead us to God (1 Peter 3:18).  It is only as we listen that we desire Him, that our eyes move from the immediate to the eternal, from the story to the Author.  Isn't that what Jesus taught on the mount?  "...if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.... seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness....he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter" (The Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7).
Want change?  Need change?  Long for change?  You will not find it apart from God's Word.  Read it.  Bathe in it.  Meditate on it.  Think it.  Read it again.  Then ask.  You'll be amazed at what God is already doing, and will continue to do.

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