Today's story can be found in the first three books of the New Testament in the Bible. Matthew, Mark and Luke are also the names of three men that either heard about the story or were there to see the miracle for themselves and then wrote about it.
This story is about a man with leprosy. So what is leprosy?
Leprosy is a disease that is caused by bacteria. Mostly people that live in poor areas, have dirty water, food with little vitamins and aren't healthy to begin with can get it.
It looks very bad, even gross. It can make a face look bumpy and can completely change the way a person looks. Some people get it on their hands or feet and loose their fingers and toes from it.
This isn't everything leprosy is, but you get the picture. On top of it all, during the time when Jesus was around people thought leprosy was caused by people's sin. So, if someone had leprosy it was because he had done something wrong.
For all these reasons the 'lepers' as they were called, were kicked out of the city and had to live outside of it. They weren't allowed in stores or churches or any public place so many times they went to live in the dumps where the garbage was, to find food and other things they needed. No one wanted to see them for fear of touching them and catching the disease or becoming 'unclean' because of their sin.
Now to the story. Jesus was going around at this time healing people and telling stories. Word got around about Jesus, so people would follow him because they wanted hear what he said or to see a miracle.
While Jesus was walking and talking with people a man with leprosy approached him, fell to his knees and put his face to the ground and begged him, "Lord if you want to, you can heal me and make me clean."
Something amazing happened next. Like it was no big deal Jesus just reached out and touched the man.
Wait a minute, Jesus reached out and touched a man with leprosy! This was not allowed then and now Jesus would be unclean...besides this man looked really bad and was sick!
None of this mattered to Jesus, he reached out his hand and said to the man, "I will heal you. Be clean." And right in that moment the leprosy left him.
This showed that Jesus was more than just a man. Jesus healed the man of his disease but also cleansed him from his sin without becoming infected himself.
Jesus then asked the man to do one thing. He asked him not to tell anyone what just happened and to go to the priest to be checked out. This would show that he was cleansed and he would leave an offering. Then the priest would give permission for him to come back and live with the people again.
By going to priest the healed man would send a message that Jesus had a special power from God. The people were waiting for a Messiah (someone that would come and save them) and the priests and Jews believed that only God could cure leprosy. This was supposed to be a sign that the Messiah had come.
Instead the man was too excited and told everyone he saw what had happened. This made it hard for Jesus to walk around in the cities because large crowds would flock to Him and the Jewish leaders started to go against Jesus because they didn't believe that he was sent by God.
Jesus would often go off by himself and pray but people kept coming to see Him from everywhere.
The message that I want you to take from this story is that it doesn't matter to Jesus what you've done, how you look or what other people think about you. He made you and he loves you no matter what! Everyday Jesus is trying to reach out and show His love to you but sometimes we're too busy to notice.
Start taking notice of the beautiful things outside (a butterfly, flowers, or a sunset), the love from a parent or a friend and even kindness from a stranger. All these things are ways God is trying to show his love for you.
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