“The Lord spoke to Moses saying, ‘This shall be the law of the leprous person for the day of his cleansing. He shall be brought to the priest, and the priest shall go out of the camp, and the priest shall look.'”
These verses basically begin a chapter that unfolds how the priest would be a part of cleansing for a leprous person. Or the house of a leprous person. How the priest was responsible before God, God had entrusted this responsibility to the priest to go and minister to the person with leprosy or the house of a person with leprosy. And as I read this and think about Leviticus chapter 13, which we considered in our previous podcast episode and thought about how Jesus in Luke chapter 5, went to the leprous person, touched that man, made him clean.
We must not quarantine our homes and churches of those who are viewed as unclean and outcast in the world around us. We must go to them.
And now the next chapter to see in Leviticus 14, how the priest was an instrument in God’s hands for ministry to the leprous person and ministry to his or her house. I just think about what we’ve already seen in the book of Leviticus, that we are a royal priesthood. That we have priestly duties as the New Testament, new covenant people of God. That we have direct access to God through Jesus as our great high priest, and we have the responsibility before God of ministering to people around us.
People who are hurting, people who are struggling with sin, people who are looked at as shamed or unclean in this world. And I just think about my life, I would encourage you to think about your life, when you see this picture of a priest in Leviticus 14, going outside the camp to care for those who are dirty. For those who are despised, those who are despairing.
And I just want you to think about in your life how is that playing out? In my life how is that playing out? How am I going to those who are viewed as unclean in the world around me? Those who are outcast, who are viewed as dirty or despised or shamed. Like we are intended by God, we have been given the responsibility as a royal priesthood of being servants of those who are unclean, outcast, dirty, despised. Shamed in the world around us.
So we’ve got to make sure that in our lives we are not shirking this responsibility. That we are not quarantining ourselves and our homes and our churches, in bubbles that we can create around us. That keep us from getting involved with those who are unclean, outcast, despised, dirty, shamed in the world around us. I think about being on the streets just about a week and a half ago in one particular country and doing ministry among those who were engaged in prostitution and looking at the faces of these women and men, and seeing people who are used and abused and outcast in many ways.
And oh, I want to be evidence of God’s grace and God’s love and God’s mercy and ministry to those. So that’s one example. There are so many different ways this can play out in our lives. The key is, how is this playing out in your life and my life.
So God, we pray that you would use us as instruments in your hands for ministry to the unclean, the outcast, the despised, the shamed. And even in using those terms, God we know that we are unclean people. That we are outcast, we were separated from you, that we were despised, shamed in our sin. And you reached down your hand of mercy into our lives and you used people to minister to us, to draw us to yourself. We praise you for those who have ministered in our lives in this way.
So God we pray. That you would use us as the royal priesthood you’ve made us to be. Instruments in your hands for the spread of your grace and your mercy and your love. To those around us who are unclean, outcast, despised, despairing, shamed in the world around us. God, we pray. Keep us from isolating ourselves from the dirty and even the difficult to reach, God we pray that you would use our lives, use our families, use our churches. Don’t let us create these artificial so-called Christian bubbles where we remain isolated from some of the darkest or most difficult places to do ministry.
God we pray that our impulse would be to move toward need, not toward that which is comfort. To move toward that which is most dire in a sense, even dangerous in some cases. God, help us to take risks for the spread of your grace and your mercy in a world where people desperately need to see your love and your mercy at work in us. God may it be so. In our lives, in our families, in our churches as a royal priesthood, we pray in Jesus name, amen.
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