1 Peter 2:9-10
Jesus is Willing: Narrative based on Mark 1:40-45
“Stop right there!” James yelled at the leper as he approached. “What do you think you are doing? You’re going to get us all infected.”
The crowd sneered at the man, whose face was disfigured, fingers were eaten away, and was even missing some toes. But nothing could deter the man from pushing through the crowd to get to Jesus.
“Jesus,” the man cried out, “you have the power to heal me. Are you willing?”
Jesus looked around at those who had tried to stop this man and he turned to look directly at the man. He could tell that the disease had run its course, that the condition was no longer contagious. He also recognized the shame and pain the man felt from being an outcast with limbs that no longer functioned correctly. Jesus exuded two contrasting emotions–contempt for the lack of compassion from the crowd and empathy for the man who continued to suffer. “I am willing–be clean!”
Everybody stared at the man, not sure if Jesus was healing him physically or just spiritually. That question was answered quickly. The man stretched out his fingers and they quickly grew back. He shook his feet and felt the healing as his toes regenerated. He smiled and his face visibly improved as his nose appeared and his smile replaced the rotting flesh.
“This miracle is for you, and them,” Jesus said, pointing to the disciples. “Out of all of the lepers in Israel, I chose to heal you, today. You don’t need to go around telling everyone about it. Just follow the law and report it to the priest. Make a sacrifice to God.”
But the man couldn’t help himself. He felt so excited that Jesus had healed him. He was no longer “unclean.” He could run without tripping on his faulty feet. He could smile with- out being mocked. He could shake hands with people–and touch them. He could give hugs to his family and feel their warm embrace again. He didn’t stop blabbing about his story until he had told everyone.
As a matter of fact, the Word spread so much that the crowds were coming after Jesus from every direction.
1 Peter 2:9-10. God’s Special Possession
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Who Are You? Keeping a spiritual perspective begins with understanding who we are. Peter reminded them of their identity in Christ—chosen as God’s people, royalty because they were children of the King, priests because they represented God to the people, holy because God made them holy, and claimed by God as a “special possession.” Any one of these conditions would be awesome by itself. Combined, they paint a picture that helps us understand that we have achieved the ultimate status that we were designed for. Sometimes it helps to be reminded that we were all spiritual lepers who were cleansed. Do we appreciate Jesus’ healing?
Why Are You? God revealed his purpose behind our calling—to declare his praises. Our awesome status is for his ultimate purpose, not so that we can feel good about who we are, but so that we can proclaim how great he is. Christianity is not a self-help program that fixes people. Ultimately, Christianity is God’s plan to save the world from itself by aligning people with God’s will and purpose.
How Are You? How did God do this? God adopted us as his children and poured out his mercy on us. We have not become better people, but his people. He looks at us differently not just because we are no longer living as rebels, but because he treats us as family. The miracle of his mercy is not just that it forgives us, but that it is our ticket into the royal family, enabling us to become the very people who can now bring salvation to others. When a parent sees his child in danger or trouble, that parent will do anything they need to come to their rescue. Nothing can stop a parent from helping his child. Peter explained the Christian’s new status in a very black-and-white way: “once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God.” He could have just as easily added, once you had no spiritual father, now your Father is the Lord Almighty; once you had only empty religion, now you are adopted into the family of the Creator of the Universe; once you were a foreigner to God; now you are a foreigner to this world.
Personal Application ____________________________
- What insights did I gather from today’s devotional?
- What decisions should I make?
- How can I put into action what I’ve learned?
- Share with another person what insight, decision or action you have taken.