Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A children's story based on the leper healed by Jesus

In Matthew 8, there is a story of a leper who approached Jesus. Let's look at the verse.

1When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2A man with leprosya came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” 3Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was curedb of his leprosy.

The leper is sure Jesus can heal him. His question is "Is the Lord willing to heal me?". Jesus put aside any doubt in his heart by touching him and healing him. The Lord's action is extraordinary as no one touches a leper under the law. Touching a leper would make one unclean. Jesus wanted to have compassion on him and wanted him to experience a human touch again. And that kind human touch also healed the leper. That touch of Jesus is a dose of God's kindness and healing power.

This seems like such a simple story. The best story I have read that is based on these verses is actually a simple children's picture book I read to my daughter when she was young. I am not sure if I can find that book but I can recall parts of it by memory:
The story is narrated from the viewpoint of a little boy. His father is a carpenter working on a table for a neighbor. In the afternoon his father and him would spend time together to play. In the evening they would go home, wash up and have dinner together as a family. He has a little sister. His mother is loving and his father is kind.  They have little but they are happy. But one day his father began to see spots on his hands. At first he ignored it, but later it got worse. As it gets worse as the days go by, he can sense his parents becoming worried. One day during dinner, his father announced that he is going away. He was asked by his father to take care of the family, being the only man left in the house. His father told his mother that the table he is working on is completed and the money fetched would support the family for a period in time. The next day, his father left the house and the family bid him goodbye in a tearful farewell. The little boy is not allowed to hug his father anymore. The little boy looked on as his father disappeared into the horizon. From that day on, the dinner table would always have an empty seat. His mother tried to encourage the little boy and his younger sister by asking them to trust God. That God would make everything well. They all tried their best to believe. As the days go by, their money dwindled and soon they may be left with nothing.

His father actually left because he had contracted leprosy, and his father left for the leper camp outside the city. One day, his father heard that there is a man in town and that man is able to heal the sick. Conjuring up his courage, his father ventured to the man. He asked the man if the man is willing to heal him. The man has kind looks in his eyes for the boy's father, touched him and healed him. 

One day the little boy was sitting outside his house and he saw a silhouette approaching from afar. As the man comes nearer for a moment the little boy thought he looks like his father, but of course it couldn't be. As the man walked closer and closer the boy realized that that is his father! The whole family hugged and his father recounted to the family how a man, Jesus, has compassion for him, and healed him.

As I read the story to my daughter when she was young, I would tear uncontrollably as the story goes on. I can very much identify with the leper. Leprosy to me is like sin. I am so grateful that a man called Jesus came and out of His kindness He saved me, that I won't lose my family and can continue to be with them. If you are a believer, you have received the same healing, the same salvation. What a kind savior we have!


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