2013 Week 2 of Great Fast – Devotional & Scripture Readings
“Lord, if you will, you can make me clean”
Devotional based on texts taken from the Scripture Readings of Second Sunday of Great Lent – Healing of the Leper
Written by Tenny Thomas
The Promeion of the Evening prayer for the Second Sunday of Lent reads: “Jesus Christ Who is the Good Physician of the sick, the Invincible Strength of the weak, and the Inexhaustible Treasure of the poor. He encourages and consoles those who are sad. He gives joy and gladness to the afflicted.” The Gospel passage today is the healing of the leper. The Good Physician Christ grants His healing to the leper who is an outcast.
‘Lepi’ in Greek means the scales of a fish. The disease is related to the skin and the affected person’s skin becomes scaly and dry, withering off causing blood wounds all over the affected parts. The bacteria spreads over the body quickly affecting any part of the skin, the limbs, the face, scalp, etc. causing withering of the fingers, deformations on the face, balding and erosion of the body, not to mention the accompanied pain amidst the numbness caused by the bacteria. The disease is highly contagious and hence, any community that finds a case of leprosy immediately drives away the person out of its habitation, confining them to the remote outskirts. If the afflicted person is seen to enter the village or city, it only resulted in the person being stoned to death. Just the thought of this disease is so dreadful!
Here is a great story of how Jesus made an incredible difference in a man’ s life. Luke 5:12 -16 illustrates a pattern we need to follow in order to reclaim wholeness. Luke states that this man wasn’t just a leper, but he was full of leprosy. He was eaten up with it and there was no cure! He was in a hopeless and helpless situation, but the Bible states that he saw Jesus Christ, fell at His feet and pleaded with Him, “Lord, if you will you can make me clean.”
1. The Leper came to Jesus Christ with a Deep Sense of his Need:
The leper knew that he needed help. He needed supernatural, merciful, divine help. He needed the help of God. Without it, he would surely die. Now, this is the very reason why many of us have never come to Christ, we do not have any sense of need. We do not feel that we need Christ. But some of us are like this leper. We have come to feel our need of Christ. The plague of sin in our heart causes our very soul to burn. We are lost and helpless. We need Christ to heal us and His mercy alone can save us.
This Lenten season must enable us to realize our need for Christ, our need for his mercy. This is the first step toward salvation. Those who sense their need of mercy will obtain mercy.
2. The Leper came to Jesus Christ in Great Faith:
The leper came to Jesus by himself. Others had been led to Christ by one of his disciples, but not the leper. Others had been picked up and brought to the Lord, but not the leper. Others who could not come and were not brought were blessed by a visit from the Lord himself, but not this leper. Everyone had given this poor man up as a hopeless case. He was a lonely, isolated man. No man cared for his soul. No one could or would take him to the Savior. Perhaps the leper had heard the fame of Jesus from others. He knew who Christ was and he came to the Savior, full of faith.
The leper came to Christ against many obstacles. He had no precedent to follow. He had no promise of cure. He had no invitation to come. He had no legal right to come. The leper came to Christ confessing great faith. He worshipped Christ as God. He believed Christ to be Lord. He knew Christ had it in His power to make Him whole and clean. He confessed his faith in his own words.
Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? Do you believe Christ has power to save you? Is your faith as strong as the leper that in spite of being leprous with sin, you will still come to Christ?
3. The Leper came to Jesus Christ in Total Submission:
The leper recognized that the whole issue was in the hands of Christ. “Lord, if You will, You can make me clean.” Salvation depends entirely upon the will and mercy of God. Christ has the power to save you. The whole matter of God’s saving grace lies under the control of His own sovereign will (Romans. 9:16, 18).
Recognizing the sovereignty of Christ’s power and the sovereignty of His will, the leper submitted to Christ with joyful hope. There was a total surrender to Jesus. He simply threw himself before Christ. And we must do the same. “Lord, if you will you can save me.” In spite of being an outcast, the leper had hope. The Lord had never refused such a request before. God never turns away anyone who seeks Him. During this Lenten season, let us earnestly seek Him.
The leper obtained mercy immediately. The Lord had compassion on him. Jesus touched the leper and cleansed him. Jesus Christ did not just speak to the leper. He touched him, identified with him in his uncleanness! Jesus Christ healed him. The healing was immediate. The healing was complete. And the leper was pronounced clean by the law.
I end with the qolo for the second Sunday of Lent:
Gracious Physician sent by the Father to the earthly ones to heal the wounds and sicknesses of mortal men, You were walking on the way when a leper approached You, crying: “Lord, if You will You, can make me clean.” With Your word You stretched forth Your hand full of healing and he was cleansed of his leprosy and sang the praise of the Physician who had given him health.
Stretch forth Your hand unto us O Lord and heal us of the leprosy of our sin and restore us unto wholeness that we may sing Your glory and praise Your Father who sent You with the Holy Spirit, now and always forever and ever. Amen.
“The first commandment given to our nature in the beginning was the fasting from food and in this the head of our race (Adam) fell. Those who wish to attain the fear of God, therefore, should begin to build where the building was first fallen. They should begin with the commandment to fast.” – St. Isaac the Syrian
“Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
– Gospel of St. Matthew 6:16-18
“Prayer and fasting – these are like the two wings that carry a person to the heights of God.”
– St. John Chrysostom
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