The Balanced Life

May 21st, 2007 • Category: Encounters with Jesus
by Pastor Jeff

Today’s scripture: Luke 5:12-16 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Jeff Miner):

Two thoughts leap out off the page and grab my heart.

The first is found in verse 13. “Then Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him.” We miss the significance of this because we’ve never encountered leprosy. Back in Jesus’ day, it was a dreaded disease that was thought to be spread by touch. Those who had leprosy were forced to leave their homes and live outside the city gates. If you had leprosy and someone approached, you were suppose to call out a warning, “Unclean! Unclean!”

Imagine how isolated a leper must have felt — cut off from home and family, forced to live like a homeless person on the margins of society.

Notice that the man who approached Jesus was “covered with leprosy.” He would have been utterly disgusting to look at, and even more so to touch.

Keeping a safe distance from Jesus, the leper bows down and begs, “If you choose, you can make me clean.” Jesus says, “I do choose.” Then, to the utter surprise of the leper and onlookers, Jesus reaches out and touches the man!

The message is clear: None of us is ever too far gone, never too disgusting, for Jesus to embrace. Jesus was in the business of befriending and healing outcasts. We are called to do the same.

Which brings us to the second point. Jesus ordered the man not to tell anyone about this miracle. Why? Verse 15 indicates that as Jesus became more and more famous, the burden of his work was becoming overwhelming. So many people to heal! But notice what Jesus did. “He would withdraw to deserted places and pray.”

We should learn from his example. A healer cannot heal unless the healer is keeping his or her own soul together. Think of it; there were times when Jesus deliberately avoided a crowd of needy people, because he knew he had to get away to rest and refresh.

We are called to minister to hurting people, but not in a way that is unhealthy. We do what we can, then slip away to refresh, so we can come back and do more.

Thought for the day: Pace yourself. If Jesus needed to rest, so do you!

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

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"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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