Summary: Christ comes as the intimate savior willing to ’get His hands dirty’ for the sake of saving a lost, hurting, and dying world.
The Intimate Savior
Introduction: illustration of uncleanness
(Trying to get Shelley dirty after working)
What it means to be a leper
diseased -any number of skin diseases
-affects skin, but goes deeper; exposing raw flesh
feared-fear of contagiousness
"The leper who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of 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 is unclean; he shall dwell alone in a habitation outside the camp." Leviticus 13:45-46 (RSV)
Unclean, outcast, alone-lonely, despised, rejected, hopeless
Examples of lonely "unclean people"
those with mutations (John Merrick a.k.a. Elephant Man)
Tis true my form is something odd,
But blaming me is blaming God;
Could I create myself anew
I would not fail in pleasing you.
If I could reach from pole to pole
Or grasp the ocean with a span,
I would be measured by the soul;
The mind’s the standard of the man.
[http://www.aboyd.com/merrick/merrick4.html. Poem often quoted by John Merrick.]
They are rejected, lonely, ostracized [how are they viewed by majority?]
Leper comes to Christ: heard report of miracle worker
"That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered together about the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him." Mark 1:32-34 (RSV)
How he responds: "Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him." Mark 1:41
Should have been angry, but wasn’t
ran away, but didn’t
avoided contact, but didn’t
To touch the unclean is to be unclean
Leviticus 10-16 clean and unclean [defines & protects purity]
"Thus says the LORD of hosts: Ask the priests to decide this question, ‘If one carries holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and touches with his skirt bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any kind of food, does it become holy?’" The priests answered, "No." Then said Haggai, "If one who is unclean by contact with a dead body touches any of these, does it become unclean?" The priests answered, "It does become unclean." Haggai 2:11-13 (RSV)
"Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? There is not one." Job 14:4 (RSV)
"And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean." Mark 1:42
Christ is able to purify, cleanse (make clean)
instead of becoming undefiled, Christ is greater
Nothing can make God unclean, all uncleanness is overcome by God
III. Touches the man
Offers three things
-no longer an outcast
2. Care (love for)
-to touch the untouchable
3. Places value on him (dignity)
To the Jewish faith this man was a reject. To be diseased as such would be viewed as a curse from God for sin. In the Jewish mind he was despicable to God. God would not allow him to get close. The priest, guardians of the temple, guardians of God’s holiness would assure this.
But, we serve a loving god who seeks to get "dirty". A God who runs to the dirty, pig stenched lost son. A God who calls out in the Garden, "Adam, where are you?"
How many lepers are in our world today crying out for fellowship; seeking to reconnect with humanity only to be pushed away; ostracized
They don’t look right, act right, smell right, talk right