Summary: It talks about the Touch of Jesus against all human odds.
Touch of Jesus
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.
This is one of the interesting passages in the Bible that is quite impressive. In a world of hatred, discrimination and prejudice Jesus did something remarkable that is worth considering. This evening I want to draw your attention to the touch of Jesus in our lives. In general we touch each other on a daily basis for some reason or the other. For example if we need to draw attention of someone engrossed in their work and in spite of calling them, they still seem inattentive, then we touch on the shoulder and get their attention, at other times when we are introduced to others we shake hands and there is touch, while other times those in love hold their hands and even that is touch. But the touch that I talk about here is a touch where an ailing person is looking desperately for.
To bring more insight into the context, in Jewish culture it is a disgrace for a man or woman to have leprosy and it considered a curse. In reality a Jew’s prayer is – thank God I am a Jew, thank God I am a man, and thank God I am not a leprosy patient. If this was the kind of prayer that the Jews prayed then you and I know what it is to be struck with leprosy in that context. Even in today’s world or the so called postmodern era, people still hold to racial discrimination and specially in the Indian set up, people even the so called believers and the clergies follow very strong caste discrimination. For such folks I am sure God wants to teach a lesson through this passage. Jesus broke every barrier racial, cultural and ethnic and his touch was a pleasant touch.
The man with leprosy did not want to see Jesus on the face for he was not allowed to look at someone higher than him and that is why he fell face down on the ground and asks a very strange request to Jesus, he said, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." He was careful not to take Jesus for granted and makes humble request, but Jesus gave an assured response, both in action as well as verbal, he reached out and touched the man and he said, "I am willing, Be clean!" and the Bible tells us the leprosy left him immediately.
The touch of Jesus was a
TOUCH against Stigma/taboo
TOUCH against prejudice and discrimination
TOUCH against curse/abomination/disgust
Rather the TOUCH of Jesus was a
TOUCH of LOVE
TOUCH of WILLINGNESS
TOUCH of HEALING
TOUCH of LOVE – it was love that made Jesus look at the man beyond his leprosy, what kind of love do we possess same as Jesus or very commercial kind of love where we love out of expectation or out of receiving favor or help? We need to examine our love – can we love despite of different caste, race, ethnicity, gender and culture. We need to love like Jesus did.
TOUCH of WILLINGNESS – it was Jesus’ desire to see the man become acceptable in his community that made Jesus cross every barrier. Jesus knew that the man was an outcast because of his condition therefore if he needs to be accepted back in the community, he needs to be cleansed, Jesus’ willingness made the change. How often are we willing to go out of our way to help someone even if someone had to say bad about us, the Bible tells us in proverbs that if anything is under our disposal to help someone we need to help and not say come tomorrow. We need to be Willing like how Jesus was.
TOUCH of HEALING – it was Jesus’ miracle working power that healed the man, you might wonder how will I have this power? My friend your friendly touch can make lot sense to the one who is ailing it is not always necessary that you need the gift of healing, but if you are willing God will make you work wonders with the help of the Holy Spirit indwelling in you. But how much are interested to see people being healed often times we feel people deserve what they go through and we are very judgmental. I strongly feel we need His touch of healing that we will be healed of our leprous heart, so that our touch becomes a healing touch.
May God help you as you ponder over.
God bless you.