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Day 23—Monday, March 11

Mathew 8:1-4

When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him, and there was a man with a skin disease who came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing. Be made clean!” Immediately his skin disease was cleansed. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

I believe there are two ways to look at this scripture. We have the lesson of the man being healed of his leprosy and how he is healed by his faith. He must have been scared and ashamed to come to Jesus because he was unclean. It would have been in Jesus’ right to send him away, but he acted above his fear, and he believed he could be healed. May we all strive to be as strong in faith as the man who was cured. God be with you. Amen.

HOWEVER, let's take a second to play this out. Jesus has a crowd with him. This man comes, probably out of hiding, and falls to his knees in front of Jesus. WHAT DID EVERYONE ELSE DO? They knew enough about leprosy to know if you're close to them, you will get it too. At that point, you will be cast out to die alone or with other malnourished dying lepers. I will bet everything that everyone took at least a step back. If I know how people in crowds work, they most likely all ran. Pandemonium would have ensued, and this is where Jesus not only heals the man but makes a bigger statement.

What is the opposite of love? Ask around and the answer you will typically get is hate. I want to challenge that and use this scripture to do so.

The opposite of love is fear.

Everyone feared the man because they could end up like him: alone, in pain, dying. In this fear, the man loses his humanity. There is room for nothing else in the mind of the crowd other than survival.

Only Jesus sees him as a person. He did not recoil, Jesus moved towards him. He made the choice to love… to love this man as he asks us to love one another.

There is no room for love when you are afraid. You can only react. Only in love can you make a choice to take an action.

Jesus is reminding us there is never anything to fear. We are to love, no matter the cost, because that is what he did for us.

-Will Smith



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