Matthew 8:1-4 1 Now when Jesus had come down from the mountain, large crowds followed him. 2 A man with a skin disease came, kneeled before him, and said, “Lord, if you want, you can make me clean.” 3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched him, saying, “I do want to. Become clean.” Instantly his skin disease was cleansed. 4 Jesus said to him, “Don’t say anything to anyone. Instead, go and show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded. This will be a testimony to them.”
Luke 17:11-1911 On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he entered a village, ten men with skin diseases approached him. Keeping their distance from him, 13 they raised their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, show us mercy!”
14 When Jesus saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” As they left, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw that he had been healed, returned and praised God with a loud voice. 16 He fell on his face at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus replied, “Weren’t ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 No one returned to praise God except this foreigner?” 19 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up and go. Your faith has healed you.”
In the time of Jesus, people called any visible skin disease leprosy. The Old Testament book of Leviticus called for isolating anyone with skin disease to keep it from spreading. It was a dreaded condition others did not want to have. Thus, it was stunning, even forbidden, when “Jesus reached out his hand, and touched” the man in Matthew's Gospel and said, “Become clean.” Jesus also healed ten “lepers.” Some were Israelite, at least one a despised Samaritan, bonded by their shunned and outcast status.
This disease banded the lepers into an atypical group. Jews with a Samaritan. The gospels tell us Jesus was also not typical as he neither shunned lepers or Samaritans in His ministry. Here again Jesus demonstrates looking beyond the surface differences and accepting them anyways. These and other passages should bring light to our practices, knowingly or unknowingly about how we shun. Social shunning still goes on in 2020, based on race, age, gender, socio-economic or educational level, religion, sexual orientation, disability, and even personal quirks, political beliefs, or looks. Have you ever been shunned? Have you ever shunned someone? How is God calling you to live up to Jesus' examples in touching the lepers today?
I pray you are able to join us as we celebrate one of our missions here at EOCC; The Boys Scouts of America.
Father, may I look to your Word and look honestly where I am at. May I see clearly the direction Your Son leads and may I obediently work my was there. Lord, Forgive me for my sinfulness, my hesitation (doubts) to the truth of what the Holy Spirit convicts me of. Lord, I ask you to bless this congregation, my family and those I do not know. I ask this in Jesus' name. Amen
Meet the pastor
Rev. Pastor Carl Schreiber has been serving East Orrington Congregational Church (EOCC) since March 12, 2006