Jesus began His earthly ministry right after He had been baptized and spent 40 days in the wilderness. Satan had tempted Him in the wilderness and He had passed all the tests of course. He returned to Galillee different than before.
“And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.” Luke 4:14-15
When Jesus had gone into the wilderness the Spirit of the Lord had descended on Him as a dove at His baptism. When He came out of that wilderness experience He was full of the Spirit. Now mind you, I know that Jesus did not have to spend time in the wilderness to be full of the Spirit. But in my little mind, I think Jesus did that to give us an example. Any kind of ministry that any of us embark on should be born out of time spent with just you and God. Just a thought from me.
Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up and he went to the synagogue to teach there. When He stood up to read, he read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
“‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’” Luke 4:18-19
Now those present would have heard this scripture before. But this time hearing this scripture was different. This time it meant something more. And they could feel it. Have you ever heard a scripture that you know you have heard over and over but it felt like the very first time. It was just different somehow. It suddenly connected with your Spirit. After reading, Jesus told them.
“‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’” Luke 14:21
Jesus had just given them His job description. He had come to set people free and to heal them, to recover their sight, whether figuratively or in reality. He was going to shake things up.
Now Jesus went about in His ministry healing many. Let’s talk about one.
“While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, ‘Lord if you will you can make me clean.’” Luke 5:12
Leprosy was a horrible disease and it was highly contagious. When someone was diagnosed with leprosy they would then have to socially isolate themself from everyone and even when they walked down the street they would have to shout “unclean” so that people would know not to come near them. One of the things that struck me when I read this verse is the man approached Jesus, knowing he could get into big trouble doing so, then he fell on his face and begged. He was in a place of desperation. He had nothing to lose so he took a chance. He was truly at the end of His rope, or rather his hope. Have you or someone you have known ever gotten to that place whether it was physical healing or healing of the soul they needed that they got to that place? This beggar knew that it would be totally socially acceptable for Jesus to walk away from Him. He knew that as far as the world was concerned it would be ok to reject him. But that’s not what Jesus came to do. That’s not who Jesus is. And what He did next is amazing.
“And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying ‘I will; be clean.’ And immediately the leprosy left him.” Luke 5:13
Don’t miss this, Jesus didn’t just heal the man, Jesus touched the man. This man was untouchable by society. He would have been lonely, probably had not had physical touch for some time. He may have been smelly and dirty. Jesus could have spoken a word and the man would have been healed. But that is not what He did. He healed Him physically and He touched him to show He was accepted, He healed this man’s heartbreak by His touch.
Jesus had the power to heal with a word and He still has the power to heal all of our diseases to this day with a word. I still don’t understand why sometimes He does and sometimes He doesn’t and I don’t think I ever will this side of eternity. But I know what He will heal each and every time if we humble ourselves and ask Him and that is the heart. It is His desire that all should come to Him. As I study some of these times of healing I am seeing over and over that when Jesus healed someone physically, He was also forgiving sins. And in so doing He was healing hearts. He will still accept us where we are. I know too many people who think they have to get clean and straighten up before they come to Jesus. We should all be more like the leper and throw ourselves at His feet to ask for healing of our hearts. And we should also all be more like Jesus and no matter how messed up, broken, dirty or smelly someone is, be the hands of Jesus and reach out and touch them. Let’s be the light that leads them to the healing power of Jesus.