God’s Amazing Love Series
Fourth of five reflections on the love of God
A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said. Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” —Mark 1:40-41 NLT
Talk about feeling helpless. Back in Jesus’ day, a leper was basically waiting to die while watching his flesh decay and his limbs fall off. No one would go anywhere near him, and he was obligated to cry out “unclean” and ring a bell if anyone came near. Lepers were driven from their homes and villages and forced to live in colonies where they scavenged for food, hoping someone in kindness would throw them a few scraps. The disease was terrifying enough in its slow but sure encroachment on the flesh, but horrifying in its loneliness as well.
When a leper approached Jesus, however, there was no cringing on His part and no hesitation. Not only did Jesus heal this bold leper, who had braved the wrath and potential stoning of a crowd by venturing toward Him, but Jesus touched the leper. That act made such a huge impression that Matthew, Mark, and Luke recorded the incident. No one deliberately touched a leper. Yet, Jesus did … with great compassion. It must have been a remarkable, unforgettable moment, watching rotted flesh heal, grow supple, and whole once again. No wonder crowds began to follow Jesus.
Over and over God shows His care for the weak, the sick, the lowly, and the poor. God does not look at our possessions or our strength or our popularity. Not at all. God looks through all the stuff that doesn’t last to the things that do—our personalities, our souls, our hearts. What a relief to know that we don’t have to be among the best and brightest to be noticed by him. The long parade of helpless, needy folk God touched in the Bible is immense. Let’s stop and marvel at just a few examples.
God loves widows and orphans. “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you” (James 1:27 NLT). Check out the widow of Zarephath in the Old Testament who was out of food and preparing a last meal for herself and her son and see how God cared for her. Check out the widow of Nain in the New Testament and see how Jesus restored her son to her. (See 1 Kings 17:7-16 and Luke 7:11-17.)
God loves refugees. “Do not take advantage of foreigners who live among you in your land. Treat them like native-born Israelites, and love them as you love yourself. Remember that you were once foreigners living in the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 19:33-34 NLT). Two women in the Old Testament, Ruth, a Moabitess, and Rahab, a Canaanite woman, were included in the Israelite community and are part of the lineage of Jesus. Jesus was a refugee Himself as a child when His parents fled to Egypt to keep Him from being killed. (See Matthew 1:5 and Matthew 2:13-20.)
God loves you even when you are dying and can’t do a thing for Him. “One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: ‘Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ But the other criminal rebuked him. ‘Don’t you fear God,’ he said, ‘since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise’” (Luke 23:39-43 NIV). It is astounding to me that a condemned criminal about to die would turn to Jesus and be welcomed to Heaven. We don’t need to know a lot of fancy prayers or scriptures to be saved. We don’t have to reform and suddenly become good. We need to simply look to Jesus, who came to save sinners. Whether we are useful or not, whether we can do good deeds for God or not, God loves and welcomes all who cry out to Him.
Oh, how thankful we ought to be for a God who shows the same favor to the poor and helpless as to the rich and powerful—all who come to Him will be saved! John reminds us that God so loved the world that whosoever believes in him shall have eternal life (from John 3:16). Peter tells us that God is not willing that any should perish (from 2 Peter 3:9). No matter how sick we become, no matter how weak we feel, no matter how helpless we are (and let’s face it, we are all pretty helpless, aren’t we?), God loves us and wants us to turn to Him.
Lord God, thank You for Your love that looks beyond the trappings of life to the heart and soul of every human being. Thank You that You love us in spite of ourselves. Thank You that all we need to do is turn away from a life without You and surrender to a life with You, accepting Your forgiveness and salvation. There is no God like You, the one true God, and we are exceedingly grateful that You are filled with love and compassion for us, the helpless. In Jesus’ Name and with great thanksgiving, Amen.
You are loved,
Sweet Selah Ministries
To inspire a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
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