Matthew chapter 8 starts out with one of my favorite stories.
8 “When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2 A man with leprosy[a] came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. 4 Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”’
I like this story because I identify with the leper. I don’t have leprosy but I do have a deadly highly contagious condition that I cannot cure myself of. No one can. No one, except Jesus. The condition is sin. I have sin in my life.
In second or third grade I stole a green plastic army truck from my friend Miles Hancock. It was premeditated and well planned out. I did not wear black but even now thinking about it I hear the mission impossible theme song in my head. He had it, I wanted it. I took it.
Even if I could find Miles, repent and replace that truck right now my act of thievery wouldn’t go away. I am forever stained with that sin.
This leper had a condition hat made him an outcast. He had to leave his family and friends. He could no longer be a part of society. He couldn’t worship. He was excluded from life.
Jesus touched him. He was untouchable yet Jesus touched him and healed him.
What about me, The truck thief, What is to become of me?
Between God and me there is gap, a break in our relationship. I have confessed my sin and asked God to forgive me because I have accepted Jesus death as payment for my sin. With that simple transaction I am made right with God again.
“9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Then there is the practical side. I took something that didn’t belong to me.
Miles, if you are out there I am sorry. I don’t have the truck anymore. Contact me so I can make amends.