If we embrace Jesus, he will make us clean

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Minister's Forum-Sept. 30, 2010

“Be clean!,” says Jesus.
The word is spreading – Jesus is coming to town. A leper, out of desperation, is going to see Jesus. Lepers were forbidden to enter into the towns and cities. They were forbidden to worship in the temple or synagogues due to their serious illness. In fact, they were forced to live away from their families and anyone considered to be clean.
Separated from everyone,  they were commanded to call out the phrase, “Unclean! Unclean!,” when they approached someone.
For the law (Leviticus 13:45) stated that the healthy were not to come near or touch a leper. There was fear of becoming both spiritually and physically unclean.
Jesus has a close encounter with a leper recorded in Luke 5:12-13. While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him (Luke 5:12-13).
Jesus does the unexpected. He reaches out his hand and touches the man. One might say that Jesus is unclean now, but the opposite occurs! The man whom Jesus touched becomes clean. Jesus speaks his powerful word, “Be clean!”
When Jesus speaks, things happen. In this case, the leprosy immediately left the man. This leper, now cleansed, was given his life back – all from a man named Jesus.
Jesus is more than a man. Jesus is the very Son of God. He left heaven and came down to save a world covered in a disease, called sin. Unlike leprosy, which slowly destroys the body, sin destroys the soul. Jesus came to save us from our sins. Our sins separate us from family, friends and neighbors, and ultimately from our Heavenly Father.
St. Paul writes, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Jesus, in his great love for us, came to take our sins upon himself. Jesus, being both true God and true man, came to do what we were unable to do. Jesus, as true man, lived a perfect life; never sinning. “He was tempted in every way, yet was without sin," as recorded in Hebrews 4:15. Jesus, our Savior, took our place and lived a perfect life for us.
Jesus was crucified for us on the cross, where he died for the sins of all people of all time. Jesus gave up his life, and suffered an eternity of damnation for all humankind. The grave could not hold him. On the third day, he rose from the dead. He was victorious over sin and death.
Our Lord is willing to make us clean through his perfect life, his sacrificial death and his resurrection. We have the assurance of the forgiveness of sins (John 20:23) in the waters of Holy Baptism (Acts 2:38) and in the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:28).
Where there is the forgiveness of sins, there is life everlasting with Jesus, because He has made us clean.