In the first century a person with leprosy was made to isolate themselves from everyone, they were were required to stay a certain distance away from everyone, even their own family. They were not allowed to enter the temple. They were alive but dying slowly. The disease was highly contagious. They were not allowed to touch anyone and no one could touch them. In public places They had to shout “unclean! Unclean!”
Here and now during the COVID-19 pandemic we understand the quarantine, we understand the fear of contagion. My wife and I have been isolating ourselves for months so that we could provide and clean and safe place for her mom to recover from heart surgery. We haven’t allowed anyone to visit and we have been staying home, working from home, worshiping from home. We understand a tiny bit, the loneliness and isolation of quarantine.
In Matthew 8 Jesus met a man with leprosy. He did the unthinkable. Then he did the impossible. Then he told the man to do the traditional.
“When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “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!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. 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.”
Matthew 8:1-4 – NIV
The unthinkable was touching an unclean, untouchable person.
The impossible was healing an incurable disease.
The traditional was showing himself to the priest. The first century equivalent to passing a COVID-19 Test and completing a 14 day quarantine.
Here’s my take away. I was spiritually unclean when Jesus came into my life, I was a sinner and Jesus is a Holy God and yet he was willing then to reach out and grab me and hold me and heal me and wash me clean. Now he asks me to “show myself” to declare that I am changed.
He will do it for you too reader.
Jesus says today to us all, “I am willing!”