Luke 5:12-16 NIV
12 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.”
13 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.
14 Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”
15 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
On the surface, this story is all about someone being healed of a physical disease, but there is more to it than that. Suffering from this contagious disease, the man would have been isolated, cast out of his community and avoided at all costs. By sending him to the priest, Jesus was telling him to get official recognition of his healing, allowing him back into his community and back into the synagogue and Temple to worship. With loneliness being perhaps one of the biggest ills in the western world, perhaps this insight is both an encouragement and challenge for us.
Spirit, help us to be those that look out for the lonely and isolated, pointing them towards a relationship with our Father and bringing them back into community.