I am reading Luke’s Gospel at the moment, and every morning as I read I am being bowled over by yet another story of Jesus’ kindness, His love, His acceptance, and His graciousness to those who come to Him. I am so struck by how emotional, how real His response is to the people He meets.
Look at this little snippet we have of His meeting with a leper:
‘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).
Lepers were outcasts. Leprosy causes severe disfiguring open skin sores and deformities of hands and feet. Lepers must shout “Unclean!” and “keep away!” Yet this man approached Jesus. He was desperate for healing.
Jesus didn’t shout at him to go away. He listened. And then, amazingly, with such spontaneity and compassion, He put out His hand and touched him. What a precious sign of acceptance! And then He physically healed the man as well.
Jesus came to the village of Nain, where He was met by the funeral procession for a widow’s only son. Luke just says, ‘When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry” (Luke 7: 13). Then Jesus spoke to the dead young man in the coffin and restored him, alive, to his mother.
No-one asked Jesus to do this miracle. No-one expected it. But Jesus deeply identified with this mother’s pain and ‘his heart went out to her.’
We’re to love like this.
Jesus says we’re not just to be nice to those we love. Anyone can do that! He says, ‘Love your enemies, do good to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful’ (Luke 6:35-6).
When we begin to love, from the heart, as God does, our reward is to be acknowledged by Our Father as one of His kids! That’s how God loves! God’s love, His kindness, is equally for those who are ungrateful and even wicked.
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