Summary: Jesus' coming was for one primary purpose...to save us.
Born To Save Me
Patrizia Durante was her name, and she was young, attractive, intelligent, a financial advisor by profession, and was six and a half months pregnant with her first child, when she was diagnosed with acute myloid leukemia.
Acute Myloid Leukemia is a fast acting cancer of the blood cells. Blood cells are formed in the bone marrow, and normally these blood cells would be produced in an orderly, controlled way, as the body needs them. This process helps keep us healthy. But when leukemia develops, the body produces large numbers of abnormal blood cells. In most types of leukemia, the abnormal cells are white blood cells, and they do not function properly.
Since leukemia cells are abnormal, they can’t do what normal blood cells do. They can’t help the body fight infections, so people with leukemia often get infections and have fevers. Also, people with leukemia often have less than enough red blood cells to carry oxygen through the body. In this anemic condition they may look pale, feel weak and tired, and may bleed and bruise easily.
Those diagnosed with leukemia are usually treated with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, treatment with arsenic trioxide, bone marrow transplants, and in some cases, surgery to remove the spleen may be part of the treatment plan.
As if the disease itself weren’t challenge enough, Patrizia Durante’s pregnancy further complicated and limited the treatment options available. Not wanting to injure her baby, her doctors began treating her with moderate doses of chemotherapy. But to no avail...Patrizia responded not at all. In an effort to become more aggressive with treatment, her doctors induced labour, and Patrizia’s baby was born two months premature...weighing only three and a half pounds. So the baby girl was placed in an incubator while her mother renewed her chemotherapy.
Patrizia was growing more and more ill, and doctors began searching for a possible bone marrow donor. But by March she was so sick that she couldn’t wait any longer for a bone marrow transplant. As a desperate last measure, her doctors infused her with blood taken from her newborn daughter’s umbilical cord. It was risky, because there was the chance that Patrizia’s immune system would reject this infusion. But there was also the possibility that the immune system in the infant’s healthy blood cells would attack the cancerous cells in Patrizia’s body.
That’s exactly what the baby’s blood did to her mother’s leukemia. But the stem cells from the infant’s blood also flooded her mother’s bloodstream, attached themselves to the bone marrow in Patrizia’s bones, and began actually rebuilding her blood system.
The doctor in charge said, “So what is circulating in her veins now is actually her baby’s blood. She has her baby’s blood system at the present time.”
Several years later mother and daughter are healthy and happy, and from a doctor’s point of view, the chances are that Patrizia Durante is cured of leukemia.
When Patrizia Durante told reporters her story, she had this to say about her baby girl...
“She was born to save me.”
I. The Impossibility
A. The Impossible Cure
In Luke 5:12-15, we read the story of a leper who came to Jesus. Leprosy is a disease of the blood, and diseases of the blood are difficult, and often impossible, to sure. The disease carrying cells are part of the blood’s life force, and are carried by the bloodstream to every region of the body...wherever the blood flows, there the disease will be. In the case of leprosy, the diseased cells begin to attack the nerve endings, cutting off feeling. The result is that the leper can inure themselves and not feel it, become infected and not know it, and actually lose extremities and not be distressed. Leprosy moves through the body spreading its tendrils anywhere that the blood flows.
This means that when someone has leprosy, it will be eventually be evident. It can’t be hidden. Cover it up one place, and it will show itself another place. Cover your feet...it will spring up on your hands. Hide your hands...it will spring up on your face. It’s there in your system, in the very blood that is supposed to nourish your body. Its part of you, and you can’t get away from it.
In Bible times, leprosy was a death sentence. It was impossible for someone to be cleansed of leprosy. It could be covered, but not cured. Doctors could address the symptoms, but not provide a solution. Why couldn’t anything be done about leprosy? Because it was a disease that affected the body at it’s most fundamental level, at the place where life sprang from.
B. The Impossible Change
Just as it was impossible to cure leprosy, it is impossible to change human nature. The prophet Jeremiah said, “A black man cannot change the color of his skin. A leopard cannot change his spots. In the same way...you cannot change and do good.” (Jeremiah 13:23)