Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Jesus Touched the Untouchables

When Jesus came down from the hill, great crowds followed him. Then a man with a skin disease came to Jesus. The man bowed down before him and said, “Lord, you can heal me if you will.”Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man and said, “I will. Be healed!” And immediately the man was healed from his disease. Matthew 8:1-3
I wonder… about the man who felt Jesus’ compassionate touch. He makes one appearance, has one request, and receives one touch. But that one touch changed his life forever….
I wonder about this man because in New Testament times leprosy was the most dreaded disease. The condition rendered the body a mass of ulcers and decay. Fingers would curl and gnarl. Blotches of skin would discolor and stink. Certain types of leprosy would numb nerve endings, leading to a loss of fingers, toes, even a whole foot or hand. Leprosy was death by inches.
The social consequences were as severe as the physical. Considered contagious, the leper was quarantined, banished to a leper colony.
In Scripture the leper is symbolic of the ultimate outcast: infected by a condition he did not seek, rejected by those he knew, avoided by people he did not know, condemned to a future he could not bear…
The touch did not heal the disease, you know. Matthew is careful to mention that it was the pronouncement and not the touch of Christ that cured the condition. “Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man and said, ‘I will. Be healed!’ And immediately the man was healed from his disease” (Matt. 8:3).The infection was banished by a word from Jesus.
The loneliness, however, was treated by a touch from Jesus.
Jesus touched the untouchables of the world.

From His Name is Jesus© (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2009) Max Lucado

Monday, April 13, 2009

He did it just for you!

Well, I can't believe that I haven't been on for forever, first off, and then also that I missed a chance to talk about one of the best days of the year - Easter!!!! Rather than me trying to wax eloquent though, here's something by Max Lucado that will talk about the God who is the God of Easter... He did it just for you.....

When God entered time and became a man, he who was boundless became bound. Imprisoned in flesh. Restricted by weary-prone muscles and eyelids. For more than three decades, his once limitless reach would be limited to the stretch of an arm, his speed checked to the pace of human feet.

I wonder, was he ever tempted to reclaim his boundlessness? In the middle of a long trip, did he ever consider transporting himself to the next city? When the rain chilled his bones, was he tempted to change the weather? When the heat parched his lips, did he give thought to popping over to the Caribbean for some refreshment?

If ever he entertained such thoughts, he never gave in to them. Not once. Stop and think about this. Not once did Christ use his supernatural powers for personal comfort. With one word he could’ve transformed the hard earth into a soft bed, but he didn’t. With a wave of his hand, he could’ve boomeranged the spit of his accusers back into their faces, but he didn’t. With an arch of his brow, he could’ve paralyzed the hand of the soldier as he braided the crown of thorns. But he didn’t.

Want to know the coolest thing about the coming?

Not that he, in an instant, went from needing nothing to needing air, food, a tub of hot water and salts for his tired feet, and, more than anything, needing somebody—anybody—who was more concerned about where he would spend eternity than where he would spend Friday’s paycheck.

Not that he kept his cool while the dozen best friends he ever had felt the heat and got out of the kitchen. Or that he gave no command to the angels who begged, “Just give the nod, Lord. One word and these demons will be deviled eggs.”

Not that he refused to defend himself when blamed for every sin since Adam. Or that he stood silent as a million guilty verdicts echoed in the tribunal of heaven and the giver of light was left in the chill of a sinner’s night.

Not even that after three days in a dark hole he stepped into the Easter sunrise with a smile and a swagger and a question for lowly Lucifer—“Is that your best punch?”

That was cool, incredibly cool.

But want to know the coolest thing about the One who gave up the crown of heaven for a crown of thorns?

He did it for you. Just for you.

His Name is Jesus
© (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2009) Max Lucado
Great House of God