2 Kings 5:1-14
(click above for full reading)
“A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, ‘If you choose, you can me me clean.’ Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I do choose. Be made clean!'”
I Do Choose
(click on the title above to listen to the sermon)
Today we look at two powerful healing stories, one from the Hebrew scriptures and the other from the gospel of Mark. If you were not with us at Prince of Peace on Sunday, I encourage you to listen to the message linked above. It caused quite a stir around here and we think you will be blessed and challenged as well.
A lot of people are searching for God and if we’re paying attention, I believe God is so often showing us where to look. Not in places of power, like the holy temple, or the Kings Palace. But wherever people are gathered in my name, Jesus says, I will be there. Whenever you reach out to the least of these, Jesus says, I’ll be there.
And you. When you hold out your hand to receive the sacrament, the one who reached out to touch the leper does the same for you. And when Jesus touches you he gets what you got. As Paul writes; For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21). Luther called it the “happy exchange.” Christ takes our sin and gives us His righteousness. It’s the best deal ever!
Questions to Ponder/Discuss
1. In reading the story of Naaman from 2Kings, where does Naaman seem to put his faith? How is he similar to many people today?
2. In the gospel story, Jesus physically touches the leper. Why do you suppose he did that in front of everyone? Who are the “cursed people” today that Jesus may reach out to?
3. What about all the people that did not receive a physical healing from Jesus? What hope is there for those people?
4. If we believe that the church is the hope of the world, how can we invite others to experience the power of Christian community?
“I do choose” Jesus says to the man stricken with a horrible disease. Later that same man is found running around in town telling others what Jesus had done for him.
Jesus has also chosen you. This week keep your eyes open for an opportunity to share this good news with someone.