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Rapture 2.99

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE
How Does Sin Look to God?
Luke 5:12-15
Delbert Young, May 15, 2011
204 North Main Street, LaFayette, GA  30728, www.lifegatechurch.com

Today we will look at the miracle of Jesus and the leper and see how that story from two thousand years ago applies to you and me today.

Luke 5:12 While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was COVERED WITH LEPROSY

Jesus was traveling from town to town doing exactly what he said he would do - preach the kingdom of God (Lu 4:43). While traveling, Jesus came face to face with a man covered with leprosy. No disease carried the stigma in that time as did leprosy. We might possibly relate to the stigma AIDS carries today. Leprosy is terminal with a long slow death carrying immense social and religious implications. It was a common problem in Israel (Lu 4:27). Luke, a physician, diagnosed this person as covered with leprosy. He was in the final stages of leprosy. How would that look?

Wikipedia says, "Leprosy or Hansen's disease (HD), is a chronic disease caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium lepromatosis. Named after physician Gerhard Armauer Hansen..." (pictures)

Leprosy is caused by bacteria attacking two areas: (1) Peripheral nervous system - nerves other than the brain and spinal cord i.e., skin, fingers, toes, ears, limbs, etc creating numbness; and (2) Mucosa membrane i.e., nostrils, sinuses, mouth, lips, eyelids, ears, genital area, and the anus - any place producing body excretion. The immune system fights this by "walling off" the bacteria with building tumors, lumps, bumps, and nodules in an attempt to contain the bacteria. Leprosy is contagious and it’s been around for thousands of years. Leper colonies remain in parts of the world today. The disease was incurable with no effective treatment until the 1930's and not until the 1980's Leprosy diagnosed and treated successfully.

Untreated, leprosy leads to paralysis, wasting of muscle tissue, loss of cartilage around nose, eyes, and ears, loss of hair or bleaching hair white, tumors and whelps all over the body especially on the face, crusting of the infected parts with white scabs, and eventually rotting away the entire body. However, that's only the half of it. The poor leprous person was a literal social outcast.

Leviticus 13:45-46 The person with such an infectious disease must wear torn clothes, let his hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of his face and cry out, 'UNCLEAN! UNCLEAN!' As long as he has the infection he remains UNCLEAN. He must live alone; he must live outside the camp.

 It was required by law for a person with leprosy to avoid people and when coming into contact with people, they must cover their mouth and yell, "Unclean! Unclean!" They didn't cry out, "Leper! Leper!" They cried out, "Unclean! Unclean!" The "uncleanness" made the person socially unproductive. The uncleanness cost the person their family. The uncleanness caused the person to live a lost life in a "colony" of unclean people separated far from any worship of God (they were not allowed into temple or synagogue worship) excluded from God's blessings. The uncleanness reduced them to a beggar in life. The uncleanness caused pain making it nearly impossible to bathe. The uncleanness caused a pitiful, sad, painful, rejected, and nasty existence. This was the situation of the poor man who came to Jesus covered with Leprosy. He was incurable and terminal.

Have you ever wondered how sin appears to God? I mean, if you could see sin's affects on your heart and soul, how would it look? Leprosy is how sin looks. God used leprosy as an illustration of sin. If we could see our heart and soul through the eyes of God without the touch of Jesus, it would look leprous. It is nasty, full of tumors, eaten away, unwashed, unkempt, and decaying away. Sin made it unclean.

Someone may say, "I don't see myself like that. My heart's not that bad." You're not looking deep enough. I think back before I came to find Jesus. Outwardly, my life looked great, but something inside me was rotting, infected, wretched and unclean. I know now it was my soul and heart and God looks at the heart.

1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but THE LORD LOOKS AT THE HEART."

How does your heart look to God? Without the touch of Jesus, your heart, your very soul, is beyond cure and terminal.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things and BEYOND CURE. Who can understand it?

In and of ourselves, we are beyond cure making us "UNCLEAN!" We could all cover our mouths and say, "Unclean! Unclean!" Jesus said,

Mark 7:20-23 "What comes out of a man is what makes him 'UNCLEAN.' For from within, OUT OF MEN'S HEARTS, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and MAKE A MAN 'UNCLEAN.'"

Sin defiles and makes us unclean, not our illnesses. The soul is covered with nodules and tumors. Sin caused numbness to God and people. Our consciences are seared as with a hot iron (1Ti 4:2). Leprous sin is eating away our face - how we look to God and people. It's attacked our excretion to the point that what comes out of us is unclean. Our hearts and souls are grotesque. An illness can only make you sick. Sin makes us unclean. Uncleanness cost us our productivity and purpose in life. Uncleanness cost us our families. Uncleanness causes us to exist with a colony of lower life people infected as we are. Our "colony," as we well know, is also decaying away. It's uncleanness that separates us from worship of God and God's blessings.

Luke 5:12 While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, "Lord, if you are willing, YOU CAN MAKE ME CLEAN."

He didn't say, "You can heal me." He said, "…you can make me CLEAN." Leprosy has a connection with sin all through the scriptures. Sin and leprosy are nearly synonyms.

Miriam and Aaron, sister and brother of Moses, rebelled against Moses. Their "beef" was why did Moses get to lead, talk to God, and make all the decisions? They thought they should be the leaders. "Can't God speak to us?" So, God literally called them all out for a meeting. The glory cloud came down. After reprimanding Aaron and Miriam…

Numbers 12:10-12 When the cloud lifted from above the Tent, there stood Miriam -- LEPROUS, LIKE SNOW. Aaron turned toward her and saw that she had leprosy; and he said to Moses, "Please, my lord, do not hold against us THE SIN WE HAVE SO FOOLISHLY COMMITTED. Do not let her be like a stillborn infant coming from its mother's womb with its flesh half eaten away."

Miriam, the instigator of the sin, was covered with leprosy and they knew the reason was sin. Miriam's leprosy was an external appearance of her sinful soul.

Another account is when Joab murdered Abner. David cursed Joab.

2 Samuel 3:29 May his blood fall upon the head of Joab and upon all his father's house! May Joab's house never be without someone who has a RUNNING SORE OR LEPROSY…"

The worse curse a person could put upon another was leprosy on their household. It would be like saying today, "May your children have AIDS." Leprosy was a picture of a person cursed because of sin.

Naaman was the commander of the army of Aram and killed many of God's people. Naaman contracted leprosy. It's not a good idea to mess with God's people. I've seen too many negative things happen to those who have. Be cautious in your battles with God's people. It could be leprous. Naaman repented and went to Elisha the prophet of God asking for healing, offering Elisha an offering of great riches. Elisha refused the riches saying he could not take wealth for what only God could do. Elisha told Naaman go to the Jordan River and wash seven times. Naaman did. The leprosy left. However, Elisha's servant Gehazi deceitfully told Naaman that Elisha changed his mind and wanted the riches. Gehazi took the wealth for himself. Elisha knew and said to Gehazi…

2 Kings 5:27 Naaman's LEPROSY will cling to you and to your descendants forever." Then Gehazi went from Elisha's presence and he was leprous, as white as snow.

Gehazi was covered with leprosy. Leprosy, in scripture, is a picture of the appearance of sin. Another example is King Uzziah who became very prideful and raged in anger at servants of God.

2 Chronicles 26:19, 21 Uzziah, who had a censer in his hand ready to burn incense, became angry. While he was raging at the priests in their presence before the incense altar in the LORD's temple, LEPROSY BROKE OUT ON HIS FOREHEADKing Uzziah had leprosy until the day he died. He lived in a separate house -- leprous, and excluded from the temple of the LORD.

God could have struck him dead, but some things are worse than death, i.e. leprosy. Instead, God gives a picture of sin and how it looks to him. The Jews knew the connection of leprosy with sin. The leper who came to Jesus not only knew the stories, but was living it inside out. The leprous man connected the leprosy on his body to something wrong with his heart and soul. He knew and confessed he didn't need healing. He needed to be made clean.

Full of leprosy, this sad, grotesque, terminal person in the advanced stages of leprosy, hideously covered with tumors, lumps, white scaly scabs, infected sores, ears eaten away, eyelids eaten away, nose cartilage gone, nubs as fingers, came to Jesus. The King James Version says,

Luke 5:12 And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, BEHOLD A MAN FULL OF LEPROSY: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and BESOUGHT HIM

The word behold - idou {id-oo'} is not emphasized in many translations. Behold, in the Greek is imperative and indicates something out of the ordinary, a surprise, something attention grabbing. The leper was not where he should be!

Have you ever experienced something like that? I was in the post office years back. A person covered with/full of warts was there. A parent with a curious inquisitive child was there also. You can imagine what happened. The child pointed, spoke loudly, and said "Look mommy! (Behold!) She's ugly." The embarrassed parent apologized to the wart covered person.

The leper besought, or sought out Jesus. Obviously someone told him there is a man in town who can make you clean, not only heal you. The man purposefully came to find Jesus and fell on his face.

Luke 5:12-13 …When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and BEGGED HIM, "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!" And immediately the leprosy left him.

Jesus didn't say, "Be healed." Jesus said, "Be clean!" Spiritually, we all were full of Mycobacterium leprae sin eating away our lives. It eats away our eyes. We can't see the truly important things of life. We can't see God's kingdom or the abundant life we could experience. It eats away our ears. We can't hear God's voice or purpose for ourselves or our families. We are full of ourselves, with tumors of pride, boils of greed, infected sores of hate, and scabs of anger. The leprosy eats away the cartilage of our noses. Life doesn't smell sweet. Sin eats away our feet and walk in life. It is incurably terminal. Sensitivity is eaten away. We are out of touch with true joy, true love, true peace, and righteousness. We are terminal and damned for hell and the only solution is to find Jesus and beg him to touch us.

That was a picture of me and my life. In the midst of that, somehow, someone relayed to me how Jesus could clean my heart. He had cleaned others. Could he really? Really? I needed to find out. I left my leper colony. I purposefully began looking for Jesus. I looked in a few churches, but I wasn't sure he was there. I read some Bible. I began to see him. Finally, there he was. I saw him. I fell on my face and begged, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." Jesus reached out his hand and touched me. "I AM WILLING," he said. "Be clean!" And immediately the leprosy left me. My uncleanness left me.

Theologically, it's called the doctrine of expiation meaning the payment for and removal of sin. It's not only that I am forgiven. It's also means whatever penalty I owed God for my sins, Jesus suffered and paid what I owed. That's expiation. My sins, all of them, are expunged by Jesus. Did I never sin again? You're kidding right! Of course I've sinned, but what I've learned is now I know where and how to find Jesus.

1 John 1:9-10 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to CLEANSE US from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

We have talked about it, but Jesus believed in the laying on of hands - touching people. What leper are you willing to touch? How long had it been since someone without leprosy touched that leprous man? Someone touched your life. Someone cared and said, "I am willing." They stopped, reached out, and touched your life. Allow Jesus to touch people through you.

Luke 5:14-15 Then Jesus ordered him, "Don't tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them." Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses.

"DON'T TELL ANYONE!" Jesus was kidding, right? The man just couldn't do it. In fact, he complicated Jesus' ministry.

Mark 1:45 Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.

He told the man to tell no one and he told everyone. He told us to tell everyone and most Christians never tell anyone. I was more like the once leper. I couldn't keep my mouth shut. I was cleansed. I told everyone and I still do when given a chance. It's amazing how many people one person can bring to Jesus when they will talk freely spreading the news. Wouldn't you like it if our town gridlocked and could not hold the people wanting to come hear him and to be cleansed? Have you told anyone lately, or ever, how Jesus made you clean?

How does your heart and soul appear to God today? Is it unclean? Are you like Eliab? Look great on the outside, but with a nasty heart? Are you like Miriam full of rebellion? Maybe you're like Joab killing people with your tongue and actions. Are you like Naaman attacking God's people? Or like Gehazi full of greed. Perhaps you’re like Uzziah full of rage and anger? How full of leprosy are you? God is saying today you can get that out of you. You can be cleansed. Maybe, you haven't confessed in a while and need a fresh touch by Jesus. Simply, fall on your knees and ask Jesus to cleanse you. He will always say, "I AM WILLING. BE CLEANSED."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leprosy

 

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