February 13, 2012

Choosing, Willing, Wanting

Filed under: Lectionary,Time and Talent — by Lisa Meeder Turnbull @ 7:09 pm

Today is one of those Monday’s when I walk around with yesterday’s Gospel still working in me.

I am absolutely captivated by the intimate encounter between Jesus and the leper. Various translations say if you choose, if you are willing, or if you want to. But the point is the same: The leper tells Jesus flat out, “We both know you can do this. The question is, are you going to?”

I love this transparency. I love it that Jesus stops and recognizes love, compassion, prayer, presence, and healing as resources that he holds within him, abundance that is his to give, or not. That moment when Jesus looks upon the leper; recognizes him as a fellow human being, created in God’s image; reaches out his hand and touches him. The intimacy is breathtaking, made even more so when Jesus echoes the leper’s words, “I do choose. Be made clean!” In this brief encounter, Jesus is not just “being Jesus,” his is making an offering, exercising stewardship of the particular gift of healing.

As breathtaking as this moment is, I find it oddly comforting as well. One of things that I appreciate about Jesus’ humanity is that he had to learn to be Jesus. He had to engage in discernment, discover how his gifts would be expressed, figure out his target audience—and have that understanding challenged from time to time. As one who wrestles with the many choices, the myriad opportunities to be generous with abundance, I appreciate the time that Jesus takes to connect with this person, to look straight at him, to say and intentional “yes.”

And don’t you love the little bit of nervousness Jesus reveals after the leprosy leaves this man? I have this image of Jesus looking furtively around, whispering to the man, “Quick. Go make the required offering. And if anybody asks, I was never here.”

What makes Jesus do this? It’s too early in his ministry for him to be that scared of the authorities; the more confrontational Jesus emerges later. Perhaps he was concerned about being overwhelmed; he had already had some experiences of people pressing in on him. Perhaps he was still forming his own understanding of the power and scope of his gifts. All of these are possibilities, and all further affirm that it’s OK when we don’t have all our own answers. It’s OK to think, “Whoa…that’s a way bigger gift than I realized; I need a little more time to pray through what this is all about.”

I like the learning Jesus. He inspires me to persevere in figuring out my own discipleship.


1 Comment »

  1. I find the “early Jesus” to be the most inspiring. To see His as human, angry, doubting, tired, unsure brings him closer to me. We all walk this walk in our faith life, and it is comforting to know that Jesus has walked and is walking with us.

    Comment by Joline — February 13, 2012 @ 9:35 pm |Reply

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