Perhaps the most striking thing about Jesus in this encounter with a leper is that Jesus touched the leper.
And He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. ~ Matthew 8:3
The way I hear it, this leprosy was highly contagious. Lepers had to keep their distance. They had to make their presence known so no one would accidentally come too close and expose themselves to this horrid living death. There was no cure for this dread disease, and there was no hope for those who found themselves in its grasp.
Now if you know much about Jesus, or if you read down one paragraph to the next encounter in Matthew 8, you will quickly realize that Jesus did not need to touch anyone in order to heal him. He needed only to ‘speak the word’ and the Father would be pleased to answer His call. I have always loved His statement in the garden when Peter was trying to hack those who came to arrest Jesus into little pieces.
Do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? ~ Matthew 26:53
Or in the BLP (Ben’s Loose Paraphrase) “Don’t you know I could pray?”
But Jesus does not simply speak the word. Jesus touches the leper. Jesus takes his clean hands and places them on the putrefying, rotten flesh of a leper.
It strikes me how willing Jesus is to touch death in order to bring life.
I love the way Bill Johnson puts this. In the old covenant if you touch a leper you are unclean, in the new covenant if you touch a leper the leper becomes clean.
Jesus gets this.
I have two take-aways today:
1) You need to see that Jesus sees your state, and is moved with compassion, and is even now reaching toward you to touch the death in your circumstance and bring life to it.
2) Once He does it’s your turn. I want you to go out and touch someone’s need today. It has been often said, “Jesus has no hands today, but your hands.” Be the hands that are not afraid to touch someone in need.
See you again soon
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