A Returned Man

Occasionally, I stray into other aspects of Christianity, however, my heart’s desire is to focus on Jesus. To glorify our Savior, to help the lost find Him, and the saved to walk closer to Him. The mission statement for this site is “Finding Christ in Christianity.” For no matter what the topic is, it’s all about Jesus.

So, today, let’s take a moment and consider Jesus healing a leper. This account is found in three of the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Here’s the passage from Matthew 8:2-3:

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.

Leprosy Was An Example Of Sin

Leprosy was a “type” for sin: it was loathsome, spreading, incurable, and the Israelites were to avoid lepers – just like sin. Yet Jesus, seeing the leper’s faith, reached into his condition, into “sin”, and touched the man; saved that man. Jesus made the leper clean.

The leper was a Jew. We can be confident of this because God’s Word points out explicitly the few times Jesus healed people outside of Jacob’s progeny. So from this account of the leper, we know that Jesus is willing to touch those that have been grafted into the vine of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jesus will reach into a Christian’s life, touch them, and cleanse them of their leprosy, their sin.

You may have memorized 1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. So now think of this healed leper when you pray, asking Jesus to reach in and touch sin, the sin that’s in you. Your desire is not only to be delivered from your sin but to be cleansed from all your unrighteousness. And Jesus will do this, if you are willing to change your life.

Jesus Returned The Man

You see, Jesus didn’t just remove that man’s leprosy, He returned that leper back to his fellow Israelites. The cleansed man could once again worship, celebrate, and fully participate with his Jewish brothers and sisters. This is what Jesus expects of us when He forgives our sin. We are to return to our brothers and sisters in Christ, to our local church, to submit to the leadership Christ has provided us.

Rest in Jesus. Don’t sin, but if you do sin, remember Jesus is our advocate. You can take comfort in these words of Jesus in John 6:39, And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.

Photo by Kristina Paparo on Unsplash

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Which is better?

birthday party

Which is better, to be the first to recognize Jesus or the first to run to Christ for forgiveness? That’s a question that entered my mind as I read the following:

It is the Lord!

John 21:6-7 ESV, He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some. So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved [John] therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea.

A niece’s birthday party, purchasing a box of nails at the local hardware store, or ice fishing, we are rightly focused on the task at hand. And then Jesus shows up. 

Surely it is excellent to recognize Jesus within any situation, especially where we were not expecting Him. And we are more likely to recognize Jesus when we are in close communion with Jesus. Still, it was Jesus that said, “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?“, Luke 15:4 (ESV)

After Christ’s resurrection, it was He that sought out Peter, the Apostle that estranged from Him. And it was Peter when shown where Jesus was, that dove into the sea to run back to Jesus.

Maybe Both

It seems to me that my question shouldn’t be either/or, because I think the answer is, “Both.” 

Christians in close communion with Jesus will spot Him, even when there’s no expectation that Christ will manifest His presence. And it is those Christians who nudge others and say, “Hey, Jesus is here!” That’s when people that have a burning in their hearts to get right with Jesus will run to Him.

We all need to walk with Jesus, but there are times when some wander off. Jesus will not lose His own. He goes after them, and maybe it’s you that will play the role of the Apostle John and say, “Hey, I see Jesus!”

Photo by Misael Moreno on Unsplash

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