Summary: Pain is one of the unexpected gifts that God can use in our lives.
The Gift of Pain
Text: Luke 5:12-16
Luke 5:12-16 -- "And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." "And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him." "And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and show thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them." "But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities." "And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed."
l. INTRODUCTION -- PAIN
-Some perhaps would beg to differ that pain really is a gift. We live in a world that makes Excedrin for headaches, Tylenol PM for relief of the night time aches that inhibit sleep, there is BC for the big headache, our society refuses pain.
-There is Darvocet, Dalmane, Demerol, Dilaudid, and a host of other D’s to knockout pain. Codeine, Mepergan, Morphine, Versed, and on we could go. They have a common purpose and that is to eradicate the pain that we live with.
-Pain medicines can be taken by mouth, intramuscularly, intravenously, intrathecally, subcutaneously, and a host of other routes. Medical science has spent much time and research on how to eliminate pain.
-So for one to attempt to say that pain is a gift might be a bit confusing to you. But allow us to really look at the purpose of pain and find out how it actually can help us.
B. Quotes Concerning Pain
Shakespeare -- "He who jests at scars never felt a wound."
Marcel Proust -- "Illness is the doctor to whom we pay most heed: To kindness, to knowledge we make promises only: Pain we obey."
William Faulkner -- "If I we to choose between pain and nothing, I would choose pain."
John Milton (Paradise Lost) -- "The mind is it’s own place, and in itself can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven."
ll. THE MIRACLE OF LUKE 5:12-16
A. The Disease
It was insidious in it’s beginning. Just a mere spot, slightly tender to the touch but with time that would change. The small specks would began on the eyelids, on the palms of the hands, and gradually spread over to cover the entire body. The hair would bleach white. Crusty scales would soon envelope the affected spots. The joints would begin to swell and the swelling would gradually erupt into sores. The small nodules would soon deteriorate and leave a foul discharge. From the surface the leprosy would eat it’s way to the inner tissues. Skipping nothing it would venture into the fatty tissue, work on through the muscle, and finally devastate the bones. The nerve tissue was such that it no longer had the ability to sense the pain stimulus. Because of the absence of pain, the leper would find that fingers, toes, even limbs would have to endure horrible trauma without being able to feel. Without the feeling, the leper would extend his injuries never realizing the damage that was occurring. The lungs, the eyes, the nose and throat were not left immune to this horrible disease. They too had to endure the debilitations of the disease.
-The dread of infection kept men aloof from the sufferer because that was what the Law prescribed. The Law stated that the leper was unclean. Because of his unclean state, the leper could not live in the walled cities with others. He had to live beyond the reaches of men, beyond the reaches of compassion, beyond the reaches of joy, beyond the reaches of love, but worst of all living without the gift of pain.
-Pain can serve a definite purpose in our lives. Leprosy patients lose their fingers and toes, not because the disease can cause the decay, but because they cannot feel the pain. Nothing warns them when the water is too hot or a hammer handle is splintered. Accidental self abuse is what destroys the leper.
B. The Leper
-We have no way of knowing what state that this particular leper was in. He could have been in the very early stages of the disease or he could have been in the final stages. Regardless, of what stage that he was in, he needed help.
-He came to Jesus, this Man from Galilee, the very God manifest in the flesh, hoping for a miracle.
-No doubt this leper too probably had some areas of his body that the nerve endings had been compromised and he no longer felt the pain that could have saved him from further injury.