Audacity, boldness; brashness; the nerve; the gall; the effrontery...these are words we could use to describe the approaching leper towards Christ. His wounds oozing with repugnance, ashes on his head, mantle rent, his top lip covered as he cries, “Unclean! Unclean!” Can you picture the crowds around him? They part almost as if Moses had held up the rod of God in hand in front of the Red Sea. They stare, some with curiosity, some with disgusted glares. He doesn’t care. He has heard the glad word that the Lord was there.
He had been to religion already. The only thing the priest could do for him was pronounce him unclean. That meant separation from all that he held dear. He couldn’t worship now, at least, not with others. He couldn’t see his family. He would have to leave the city and remain in an unclean place, with other vile lepers. Every day would only be a day closer to his death, when perhaps then he would find peace and relief. Then that news...
The Savior was there. In the city. Amidst the very people that had cast him out, but He was there. Audacity. He stands to his feet, even though he is in pain and begins his fast-paced walk toward city. Scowls abound, but inside he smiles. He doesn’t care! The Lord is there!
This leper understood one thing about God, one thing we would do well to understand...God is omnipotent. The leper had the audacity because he had already been stripped of every ounce of human strength, every iota of human reason, every minutia of human dignity. What was shame? What was pride? One step, two, just a few more, and falling at the feet of the Lord, boldly claims, “If thou wilt...”
He didn’t say “If thou canst,” but “If thou wilt...”
We claim to believe God is almighty, but had we the heart of the Leper, well, we might actually believe it in our heart. We carry with us Adam’s baggage of pride, self-will, anger, worry, lust, fear, doubt, and blindness. We don’t see ourselves as this leper, unclean by these very things. We don’t see the Lord as this leper either. Not only did he believe in God’s omnipotence, but he believed in God’s goodness.
“...thou canst make me clean...” Ah, there it is. Clean? Why do we need to be cleansed? We’re not so bad. Worry, that’s no big deal. Lust, every body does it. Anger, I just get mad, that’s the way I am. Doubt, come on...what’s the problem? If we had the heart of worship as this leper did, we would want cleansed. We would see ourselves dirty, defiled, desperate.
With Jesus, we have to come clean before He makes us clean. We have to, as that leper, throw off the pride of the world, not caring about their ridicule, and approach Jesus with audacity. We must audaciously believe that God is able, and not only able, but willing...
3 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
What do you need to believe Jesus for? What have you been holding back from Him in doubt, worry, and fear? What has pride been holding onto that Jesus needs to touch? With audacity, approach Jesus now, and worship, saying, “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” Jesus is willing. He will reach forth His nail-pierced hand and say, “I will.”
Jesus didn't mind touching the leper. He didn't mind "getting His hands dirty." To Jesus, ALL OF US are dirty before He cleanses us. He came to reach the dirty, defiled, and desperate. He came to cleanse the inner man of its depraved state. Depravity in its simplest definition means corruption. We are inherently corrupt. We are tainted. We cannot worship aright, nor enter heaven. We must be "born again," or "be born from above." Jesus must touch us in our very cores. Too many people focus on the externals of religion, but miss the internal. They worship horizontally and not vertically. Whether your church wears suits and ties or wears sandals and flip-flops..."Ye must be born again!" I can condemn the Hawaiian shirt-wearing worshipers just as they can condemn me, but unless Jesus touches my heart, their hearts...I, they will remain in the unclean, depraved state.
I must audaciously ask Jesus to save me. I must audaciously believe He can and will. And when He does, I must audaciously follow Him wherever He leads me. This is worship. Believing He can, knowing He will.
No matter how sinful you are, or the extent of your sin, Jesus is willing, and able...to cleanse you. Don’t mind the hypocrites. They’ll have their day, just like you. So you might as well come clean so He can make you clean.