When he came down from the Mount, having redefined morality, all eyes were on him, watching waiting to see if he lived what he preached. What would a life lived in such a way look like anyway? He was new on the scene but had made it clear the game was changing.
The other was defiled, outcast. Forced to live on the outskirts . Abandoned and forgotten. This man knew not to go near, the law demanded he keep his distance. He couldn't help himself. He knew that if someone could help him it was this Jesus. The leper comes as close as he dares and throws himself on his knees before his last great hope, "If you're willing you can make me clean."
Jesus is moved with compassion, literally. He closes the gap between himself and the leper. The man on his knees has not known human contact for some time. He longs for it as badly as the healing. Jesus doesn't need to touch to heal, he has healed silently from the county over already. Not this time. This is a about love, this is the sermon's illustration. He touches the untouchable. "I am, you are."
Jesus is speaking in riddles again. Staying a few steps ahead, he will not be caught, not yet. Old wine in old skins. I know it's not what he was addressing, but I keep getting the image of old dusty wine bottles stored in a cellar. The wine may be good but there is no real connection to it. You don't know where it came from or how it came to be in front of you. You sit in polished clothes at polished tables drinking from dusty bottles.
The new is different, you'll pop the cork on this new wine with sweat on your brow from the harvest and feet stained purple from the press. It is personal -near and connected. Jesus came here to be with us, lived as one of us. He wasn't faking it, winking at our humanity while coasting by on his deity. He loved and hurt and was playful and tired and lonely like we are. He had friends and plenty of enemies. He flipped religion on its head, I fear we spend too much time and energy trying to flip it back. What we see as reverence and tradition is often the stuffed religion of the Pharisees.
Jesus was so different, so real. We are his and we can know him. Our relationship with him is not about rule and ritual. It's about long walks down dusty roads. It's fresh fish cooked over a fire on the beach. It's resting against him over a long meal. Being with Jesus is 900 bottles of good wine to keep a party going and catching a fish with money in it's mouth. The reason we don't see or hear from Jesus is that we refuse to believe he still operates that way. He his God and worthy of our praise and worship, but he ripped the curtain and ushered us into a place of personal connection with him. His disciples didn't call him Sir or You're Holiness. They called him Jesus, they were on a first name basis. I believe we can have that same relationship with him. I believe that changes everything.
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Location:Conner St,Detroit,United States