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The power of Heaven

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Creative Commons License photo credit: Beshroffline

Luke 5:12-16 Jesus was in one of the towns where there was also a man covered with a skin disease. When he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged, “Lord, if you want, you can make me clean.”

Notice the man asks hesitantly, he basically says, “if it’s not too much trouble, if it’s all right with you, if you aren’t doing anything else….” This man has spent his life alone. A  person with a disease like leprosy was a social outcast. In fact, it was his job to let other people know not to come close. If he was worried someone might touch him, it was his job to shout out “unclean, unclean” to let the people nearby know not to come closer.

Jesus reached out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do want to. Be clean.” Instantly, the skin disease left him.  Jesus ordered him not to tell anyone. “Instead,” Jesus said, “go and show yourself to the priest and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses instructed. This will be a testimony to them.” News of him spread even more and huge crowds gathered to listen and to be healed from their illnesses.

Notice, Jesus just touched a leper. This is something nobody would ever do. It was unknown at the time how people got leprosy, so you were not allowed any contact with them, in fact if your clothes touched their clothes, the safe thing was to burn your clothes.

The world is in a broken state, the world thought touching a sick person made you sick. But in Heaven – human touch brings healing.  Remember, in heaven there is no sickness, so Jesus is walking through creation and righting wrongs.

Next Jesus tells the man to show himself to the priests. Why? Well, they were the final say. Before he could re-enter society and be a part of the community again, the priests needed to sign off on him. And Jesus says, “this will be a testimony to them” a testimony of what?

The power of Heaven.

You see part of living in a broken world for so long, is that you begin to believe the lie that God is far away. We picture God as a bearded Jedi on a cloud somewhere off in the sky. High above us, far away, in some unknown location. And this lie is reinforced when we get sick or when loved ones die. In those moments we feel lost and alone, we feel like nobody is listening to our prayers or that God has forgotten us.

But Jesus came to earth to destroy the lie that God was far away, that God could not be known; and that God was distant. One of Jesus’ favorite sayings was, “the Kingdom of God is …. here.” Right now.

So when you and I are faced with sickness and death, we should remember that our God is the God who came near. He touches the sick and the outcast with his own healing hand. The author of Hebrews writes,

Hebrews 4:14-16 We have a great high priest who passed through the heavens, who is Jesus, God’s Son; because we don’t have a high priest who can’t sympathize with our weaknesses.

God is not far away – he gets it.

The bible says that when Jesus found out his friend Lazarus was dead – he cried. He cried knowing full well that he would “in minutes” raise him from the dead, but Jesus’ first reaction wasn’t to act like a pompous miracle worker, rather Jesus heart was broken for Mary and Martha and he cried.

We worship a God who isn’t far off and far away.

He “wants” to touch us.

Our God “wants” to heal us.

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