“In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy. When the man saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground, begging to be healed. “Lord,” he said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”
Luke 5:12, NLT
We jump right into this passage from Luke 5. A man desires to keep his appointment with Jesus. He must not get delayed, or he’ll miss him. The text communicates that his condition is agonizingly desperate. His leprosy has advanced, he is covered with it from head-to-toe. He is completely infected.
The leper has no illusions that he sick. He knows it; he doesn’t need to be convinced, or persuaded by anyone else. It occurs to him, that Jesus the healer (of lepers, and the like) may provide healing, or at the least a morsel of comfort. This leper approaches the presence of Jesus, with such humility it is almost painful to witness.
There is a fellowship of misery–some of us are “card-carrying” members. Our diseases differ, but they have affected us completely. Our pain, and darkness vary. Some have physical pain, others have a mental illness. When we meet, there should be a secret handshake or a password. We share a comradeship–we are all part of the same community. We are a broken club of tired and decidely unclean misfits.
How do we measure our pain and desperate darkness? What do we use to measure it? For the most part, our lives have been destroyed.
I think we can understand by looking up at Jesus. Lying in the dirt, we believe the unbelievable. Our faith doesn’t activate his healing as much it guides it to our greatest need. The presence of Jesus drives away the pain. His love for us, echoes into our empty caverns. And he wants to do this! He has come for us.
I struggle desperately with deep depression and despondency. I have been on meds for a long time. But when I come into Jesus’ presence, all this melancholy is driven out. He comes and injects a true hope into my spirit. Am I a stellar example of perfect discipleship? I think not. (My wife could tell you this.) But isn’t about us becoming “angels”, it’s about us becoming intimate with Jesus.
“The power of the Church is not a parade of flawless people, but of a flawless Christ who embraces our flaws. The Church is not made up of whole people, rather of the broken people who find wholeness in a Christ who was broken for us.” –Mike Yaconelli