Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – February 22, 2018
By Tripp Prince
A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, “If you choose, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. Mark 1:40-42
Genesis 1 reminds us that human beings are made in the image of God. One key aspect of what it means to be human is therefore to live in community. God is a community of persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and so when we live in relational peace, unity, and self-giving love, we reflect this kind of community to the world around us.
I believe it is for this reason that isolation and the loss of community is so devastating. If you have ever had seasons of intentional friendship and meaningful community, people with whom you are truly doing life together, you know that it is an unspeakable gift. It brings a sense of belonging, purpose, and comfort. Likewise, if you find yourself alone, lonely, and isolated, you know the fear, pain, and heartache associated with it.
In Mark’s gospel we find a story of Jesus healing a leper. While the physical pain and discomfort from this skin condition was surely severe, I do not think it was the greatest need in this man’s life. To be a leper in Jesus’ day was to be ritually unclean, cast out from community and society, isolated from the very people you called family and friends. When he cried out to Jesus, I believe the cry of his heart was a plea for belonging. “Lord, restore to me the gift of being known and knowing others!”
When Jesus looked at this leper, he had compassion for a beloved child who had lost an essential part of what it means to be human. In healing his leprosy Jesus also restored to him the ability to reflect the nature of God by living life connected to others in meaningful and intimate ways.
Today, take time to celebrate the gift of community in your life. Reach out to those who are close to you and let them know how grateful you are for them and their investment in your life. Likewise, if you find yourself identifying with the leper in this story, cling to hope and reach out to Jesus in your pain and loss, asking him to look upon you with compassion and restore to you the gift of living life in community with others.
PrayerFather, thank you that you are always working in our lives to heal what is broken and restore us to your image and likeness. Amen.
ApplicationWhat practical steps can you take today towards healing relational wounds that you may have suffered or caused?
Related ReadingPsalm 133:1; Romans 12:4-5; Hebrews 10:24-25
Post/Tweet todayMeaningful community, people with whom you are truly doing life together, is an unspeakable gift from God. #wisdomhunters #community
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