The Gospels: learning from a leper


No problem is impossible for God

by Brian Allen

Before life is over, all of us will face our share of “impossible situations.” Whether it is a health report that is far from what we hoped for, a financial situation that just keeps getting worse and worse, a relationship that seems beyond reconciliation or a dream that is so big that it just seems there is no way it will ever come about, sooner or later we will be staring down the "barrel of impossible."

In my own life, impossible has come in the form of addiction, of health concerns for my wife during the pregnancy of one of our children, a dream for a sports outreach ministry that, though I sense it is God-given, just seems to require more resources than is possible, and in the salvation of a family member that I desperately desire to see come to know Christ. With some of these, God has already done miracles; with others they still loom larger than life at times.

“The impossible” in life is just one of the reasons why it is so important to continue to read and meditate on God’s Word. All over the pages of the Bible we are reminded that God is the God of the impossible. One of those reminders comes from Luke 1:40-45. We’re told that a man came to Jesus facing the impossible situation of leprosy. Not only would that have included a disease that ravaged his body physically, it would have ravaged him socially and religiously as well. He would have been forced, as with all lepers, to live outside of cities and town, have no contact with anyone (including family and friends) and declare himself unclean when anyone approached (Leviticus 13-14). To make things worse, this arrangement could not change until a priest had declared the leper clean again. So “impossible” was this situation that healing or curing leprosy was compared in difficulty to raising the dead (2 Kings 5:7).

However, despite the impossible situation this leper faced, he learned some powerful realities concerning Jesus. First, he learned that nothing is impossible for God’s love. When he begged Jesus to make him clean if he was willing, it says in Mark 1:41, “Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man.”

In other words, no matter how unclean his state, whether due to his own failures or sins or just the cards that he had been dealt, Jesus loved Him and would touch him and be there with him no matter what. Nothing could make him an outcast to Jesus.

Second, he learned that no problem was impossible for Jesus to solve. Leprosy was viewed to be as difficult as raising the dead and yet in response to his request for cleaning we read, “'I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.”

Apparently, not even death is too difficult for Jesus.

What impossible situation do you face today? Like the leper, do you feel unlovable? Do you feel like the situation you face is impossible, like not even God can handle this one?

God put the story of Jesus healing a leper in the Bible to encourage you that nothing is impossible for him. He put that story in the Bible so you would trust him and turn to him and so his word would change the way you think and change the way you pray. That as Mark Batterson says, “The transcript of your prayers would become the script of your life.” May your script be one that overcomes the impossible through the love and power of Jesus.

Brian Allen is lead pastor at Hillsboro (Kan.) MB Church.

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