Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!”And immediately the leprosy left him. (Luke 5:13, NIV)
I am faced with the question today. Do I believe that Jesus wants me to be clean? Do I really believe that?
Do I really believe that if Jesus reached out his hand, I would be clean? Clean of every dirty little secret that I don’t tell anyone. Clean of guilt and fear. Clean of the disease that lurks in the depths of my soul, cutting deals with me. “You pretend I’m not here, and I’ll let you keep trying to hold your life together by your own efforts.”
If I believe Jesus wants me to be clean, it means a couple of things, at least. First, it means dirt is not my only destiny. The sun does indeed shine and light does exist beyond the darkness. Second, it means that if I remain unclean it is because I have not gotten down on the ground with that leper.
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.” (Luke 5:12b, NIV)
It means something is keeping me upright and respectable.
I know that this is a tough pastoral line to take. People will hear this as accusation. If you are unclean, it is your own fault.
I admit my discomfort with that implication. So, I want to be clear. This is my reflection driven by my encounter with this passage of Scripture. I am not trying to say anything about you.
As I read today, I am thrown back on the old question: Does Jesus want me to be clean? If he does, then surely it is not his fault that I am not.