The True Community of Faith - David Mitts

"And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean." Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, "I am willing; be cleansed." Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, "See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.""  Mat 8:2-4 (NKJV)

Click here to listen to "The True Community of Faith"

In these troubled times, what the world needs to see is a church that looks like Yeshua. As people try to distance themselves from infection by avoiding touching others who might be infected, we see a Savior who was willing to touch the untouchables and, in that touch, to heal them.  

Leprosy was believed to be transmitted by touch. More recent research indicates that it is airborne and transmitted through coughing or sneezing similar to the cold or the coronaviruses. In either case, the solution was quarantine and social distancing. 

Yeshua though was willing to touch the leper, violating the generally accepted solution and in that touch, the leper was cleansed from the illness. Then the cleansed leper was instructed to show himself to the priest and bring an offering as a testimony of God’s healing.

I want to look at this whole process as an indicator of the true expression of the community of faith.

Last chapter we spoke about the established heart. In troubled times what overcomes is an established heart. This is the healing of what Yeshua named as the troubled heart. Yeshua prophesied times of great distress: Let’s look at Matthew 24:4-8

"And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows."  Mat 24:4-8 (NKJV)

Calamities are a natural consequence in a broken world.  God spoke to Eve the significance of the sign of sorrowsGen 3:16

To the woman He said: "I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." (Gen 3:16)

Sorrows serve the purpose of travailing in a birthing processPaul described this process to the community of faith in Rome:

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now."  Rom 8:18-22 (NKJV)

When a woman goes into labor the process is stressful and can bring great fear. What pulls everyone through is the great anticipation for the joy of the newborn child.  

We are, I believe in times spiritually of a birthing process.  Many are focusing on the labor, the birth pangs. What are the birth pangs about? They are the preparations for the birth of the child, in this case the birthing of the sons and daughters of God.

The Apostle Paul knew that the birthing process would come with suffering. The current situation in the world is not here because God is making it happen. No! It is here because a birth is coming, and this is part of the process of leaving one state of being behind and birthing a new reality. What is our part in the birthing?

Let’s go back to the healing of the leper. The leper is a symbol of something that has passed away from the usefulness of the world. The leper is sick with a sickness that makes them untouchable by the people of God.  Yet God still provided for the hope of healing as a sign that it was Him birthing a new reality. How do we know this? Because He made a pathway to the priests to validate the healing and an offering to activate worship of Him.

The examination by the priest and the offering by the one who is healed are both described in Leviticus 13, 14. Both the healing description and the offering to be given are a testimony that God expected Messiah would come and heal the lepers. This is a sign of the Messiah, what we call a Messianic proof.

Yeshua Himself was known as the leper-Messiah. In Isaiah 53:4 it says:
"Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted."  Isa 53:4 (NASB)

The term “smitten” of God is the description of leprosyThe cross was leprosy. By that I mean, it was the place of total rejection and abandonmentThere is no place more desolate than the cross.  By embracing the cross, Yeshua embraced the desolation and brought reconnection.  

The cross is the place of “no”.  It is leprosy, where we become a non-person. When Yeshua healed the leper, He brought a yes to the no. He took the brokenhearted and healed the wounded soul.  He spoke light to the chaos, the darkness.

He instructed the one who lived as a “no” to go to the priest and bring the offering.  Who is the priest?  He is the “Cohen”.  The root of cohen is ken.  In other words, the priest is the one who restores the outcast, the one who carries rejection as his state of being to fellowship, to the yes.  By sending the leper to the high priest, Yeshua was establishing Himself as the one who would be there as an eternal bridge to the “yes”.  He becomes eternally our cohen hagadol.

"but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore,He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them."  Heb 7:24-25 (NASB)

In this place, Yeshua brings about restoration to the yes of God. What is the “yes” of God?  It is the true place of community.  Leprosy came to be an external sign of the brokenness of the heart of man which made us all alone. We fear the abyss of isolation. We are created for love and by love for connection.  This is the hour of birthing love.  

As the creation begins to labor, we are experiencing the release of the leprosy of our selfishness.  This is being expressed in earthquakes and pestilences, or divisions among people.  It is no accident that at this time of great polarization that a virus who bring about such a state of fear that we would be afraid to touch one another.  The inner reality is giving an expression in the outer reality.  

Why is it happening?  To reveal the yes. The healing will come from the revelation of the true sons and daughters of God in this hour who will show forth the light of His love in this hour of fear and darkness.

There is a test in this hour. As we face the birthing of the true community of faith, we are facing the fear that drives isolation and the spiritual condition of mammon.  Mammon is in its essence all about hoarding.  It is stockpiling.  It is taking the blessing of God and making it our exclusive property. The test in this hour is how we respond to the leprosy of the hour. Will we isolate and allow our love to grow cold? Let’s look at one more case of the healing of leprosy recorded in Luke’s gospel account 17:11-19.

"While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee. As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; and they raised their voices, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" When He saw them, He said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they were going, they were cleansed. Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered and said, "Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine—where are they? "Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?" And He said to him, "Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.""  Luk 17:11-19 (NASB)

In this hour who will remember the Lord and bring Him the offering of praise? Who will complete the healing of the leprosy? Who will realize Him as the source of the yes? This is the true community of faith. All 10 were healed of their virus. Yet only 1/10 attributed the healing to God and thanked Him for it and he was a double outcast, a Samaritan leper.  As we pass through this hour of sorrows who will be our God and how will people know? They will know by our offerings of praise and our finances.


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