Cultivate DT | Day 3
Part 1) Imitate: Be Imitators of Christ
Imitating Jesus is the beginning of Christian discipleship and a joyful, lifelong pursuit
- Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
- Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
- Recall a significant reaction, conversation, or event.
- List out all that you are grateful for.
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40 And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” 42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 43 And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, 44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” 45 But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.
Context & Commentary
Leprosy is an uncommon disease today, largely eradicated in the modern world, but it still exists in some underdeveloped nations.
“In the New Testament there is no disease regarded with more terror and pity than leprosy…. No other disease reduces a human being for so many years to so hideous a wreck.
“[Leprosy] begins with an unaccountable lethargy and pains in the joints. Then there appear on the body, symmetrical discoloured patches. On them little nodules form, at first pink, then turning brown. The skin is thickened. The nodules gather specially in the folds of the cheek, the nose, the lips and the forehead. The whole appearance of the face is changed till the man loses his human appearance and looks, as the ancients said, like a lion ….The nodules grow larger and larger; they ulcerate and from them comes a foul discharge. The eyebrows fall out; the eyes become staring; the voice becomes hoarse and the breath wheezes because of the ulceration of the vocal chords. The hands and the feet also ulcerate. Slowly the sufferer becomes a mass of ulcerated growths. The average course of the disease is nine years, and it ends in mental decay, coma and ultimately death. The sufferer becomes utterly repulsive both to himself and to others.”
In addition to the physical effects, there were also ravaging social and psychological effects. Because leprosy was believed to be contagious, lepers were separated from their families and lived in leper colonies as outcasts. They were also seen as spiritually defiled and accursed. The Bible characterizes all of us as afflicted with spiritual leprosy: disfigured and diseased by sin, suffering many of the same social and psychological effects.
- In what ways have I experienced leprosy as an apt description of my spiritual condition?
- How have I experienced Jesus’ compassion and cleansing from sin?
- The leper does not doubt Jesus’ ability, but rather His willingness. Reflect on Jesus’ response.
- How can I imitate Jesus’ compassion? Who are the people in my life in need of compassion and words of healing?