Summary: Hope comes when we see Jesus and hope gives us a fulfilling future.
The Healing Power of Hope
Our scripture text today tells about a man who made an awful discovery. His discovery kept him awake at night. His friends began to notice he was pre-occupied.
The man knew what he had to do. He had to make a journey. He told his wife and children not to worry, he would return after several days.
The long, lonely journey began. He waved goodbye to his family and as he turned away tears filled his eyes.
Finally when he reached Jerusalem he walked into the Temple and found a priest. He showed the priest the white spots on his legs and arms. The priest had seen spots like his before. The priest was careful not to touch the man.
The priest using Leviticus 13:45-46 as his guide said, “I declare before God that you are unclean.” God’s Word says, “The leper who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair on his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry, “Unclean, unclean.” He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease, he shall dwell alone in a habitation outside the camp.” The priest looked at the man and said, “May God have mercy on you.”
The man started sobbing. He knew what the diagnosis meant. He could no longer hold his children in his arms. He could no longer embrace his wife. He cold no longer worship in the synagogue or earn a living. What would become of his wife and children?
With panic and sorrow etched on his face he began to tear his clothes so they looked like rags. He stepped into the street and put his hand to his mouth and covered his upper lip and cried, “Unclean! Unclean! For the first time in his life people were afraid of him. Parents grabbed their children and hurriedly walked away.
When finally the man approached his village, he knew the hardest part of his life was before him. When his children and wife approached him he told them to come no closer. His appearance frightened them. He told them goodbye and went to the leper caves and his family went back home.
Luke 5:12 reads: “While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy.”
I. Hopelessness Results in a Life of Problems
Here is a man who has lost contact with his family. He is isolated from healthy people. He has no future. He has no hope.
The man was “full of leprosy.” What was said of he leper could be said of many people. People are “full of problems.” “Full of ugliness.” “Full of bitterness” and living without hope.
When a person thinks he has no future he has no hope. Joyce Roberta-Burditt, in her novel, The Cracker Factory, tells about a woman living without hope. Cassie drinks too much and is hospitalized for emotional distress. She writes to her brother Bob:
“It’s been a terrible year. I’ve been running around half crazy, trying to remember whatever it is Alexander my Psychiatrist said I learned in the hospital the last time. Bob, I don’t even know, I just know that I’m coming unraveled and can’t seem to stop it. It’s been a whole year of my husband Charles running off and slamming doors when I need him. I tell him I’m sick and he says, ‘You’re telling me? I’m sick of your sickness” And … bam…out the door.