Luke 5:12-13 “A man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, ‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ And immediately the leprosy left him.”
Back in this time, leprosy was a disease which declared you dead while you were still alive. They were given the label of leper. This disease became their identity. Their skin was covered in boils, they were in pain and agony, often losing their limbs as their body began to rot. Lepers were judged as being punished by God for their immorality and treated as “less than”. Leprosy was highly contagious, transmitted by touch, and therefore they were forbidden to live in the city, forced to live alone in the wilderness.
When a leper walked through a crowd, they were required to yell “unclean, unclean, unclean” as a warning for everyone to stay a safe distance away. Unclean, unclean, unclean. This disease was this man’s identity. Unclean is who he had become. He believed he was being punished. He was still alive, but not living.
And isn’t this us sometimes as well? Something that has happened to us has become our identity. We’re living in our own wilderness, cut off from the life once available to us. We are alive, but we’re not fully living. What is separating you? What have you taken on as your label, limiting you? Just as the leper was yelling “unclean” as people were near, are you yelling “unworthy”, are you screaming from the inside “unimportant”? The label of your identity is self-proclaimed “quitter”, “loser”, “slacker”, “misfit”, “awkward”, “stupid”, “weak”, “damaged”, “broken”. Somewhere along the way maybe something happened that caused you to feel this way and you took that on as your identity. It became who you are. And it has separated you from the life God created you for.
God’s desire is NOT for you to live one more day of your life believing you are too little of this or too much of that. Not one more day. Not one more moment. The world may offer it’s labels but you don’t have to put them on as yours. There’s a healing available to you today. A healing that will remove the layers of unworthiness you have felt for years. A healing that will restore your confidence to exactly who you were made to be. A healing that comes from one place, and one place only.
We believe if we lose 50 pounds we will be restored. We believe if we wear the right clothes, work at the right job, have the right person, we will finally be whole. But we won’t. You won’t. The guy won’t fix this. The shoes won’t make it feel better. No amount of makeup or jewelry can cover this up.
The leper knew the ONE who could restore him. That ONE is Jesus. When he saw Jesus he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Notice, he knew exactly who Jesus was. It was against the law to bow before anyone but God. Many didn’t recognize Jesus as God, but this man did. He knew exactly who he was and he had complete confidence in his power. Lord you CAN make me clean. There was zero doubt in that statement. You CAN. God CAN restore what has been broken in you. He CAN heal what is sick. He CAN provide where there has been lack.
The question is, are you bold enough to stop yelling your own version of “unclean” and cry out to Jesus? This man was trained to only say “unclean, unclean, unclean” in the presence of another person. But he didn’t. What would have happened if he would have walked by Jesus and continued telling his sad story of his disease? What would have happened if his label would have defined him? Would he have missed his opportunity for healing?
It was his bold faith that drew Jesus in. “Lord, if you are willing, YOU CAN MAKE ME CLEAN.” And what was Jesus’ response? I am willing!
God can heal you too. He can help you redefine who you are and what your life is about. He can give you a new identity and purpose that will light a fire within your soul that has you doing things you never imagined you could do. Will you drop your labels? Will you chose from this day forward to no longer be limited by any identity you have taken on? Will you stop talking about your problem and start talking to you God? Will you boldly ask him if he is willing today?
There is zero question of God’s power and ability. I’ve seen him work miracles right in front of my eyes. I’ve witnessed the impossible unfold before me. God’s power is amplified in a life that has complete faith in him. God’s power is unleashed with our bold prayers of “Lord, I know you can, are you willing?”
Jesus reached down and touched the leper and healed him. What was truly remarkable about this story is the fact that Jesus touched him. This was a man who likely had not had the touch of another human being in years. Jesus could have spoken healing to him. I have no doubt the words of Jesus could have traveled all the way across the city into the wilderness where this man was hiding and healed him. But Jesus instead chose to reach out and touch him, because that’s what this man needed most. He needed to feel the love of Jesus.
May you receive the touch of Jesus today. May you know that he is not only capable, but he is SO WILLING to heal you and restore you completely. He’s coming to you right now. He’s drawing in close. Don’t run from him. Don’t hide. Let him touch you. Drop your labels and old identity others have tried to give you. Receive what Jesus has for you today. He is willing. Will you receive?