Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. Matthew 8:3

In Jesus’ day the most socially outcast person around was the leper. The disease itself was repulsive. As it progressed it ate away at the victim’s skin leaving stubs for fingers and toes and the stench of rotting flesh. To add to the burden of the disease was the notion that leprosy was an act of God because of sin. The result? A leper was socially, physically and spiritually outcast. No one would come near a leper if his life depended on it.

Matthew tells us that as Jesus came down from the mountain a crowd gathered to meet him. In the midst of the crowd a leper came face to face with Jesus and bowed before him. I can imagine the scene. The crowd parted like the Red Sea to permit this vulgar looking, smelly man through. It wasn’t their concern for his well-being that caused them to make a straight path. They were repulsed by the stench and appearance of this man.

We see no adverse reaction on Jesus’ part. The Bible says the man came and knelt before the Savior. He had not doubt Jesus COULD heal him. The question nagging him was if Jesus WOULD heal him.

We may not be lepers. We may not be socially outcast. In fact, we may be socially outstanding persons and spiritually respected. Regardless of our position in society, each of us have the same need. The need to experience the touch of Jesus. Each of us, as it were, are spiritual lepers with a disease called sin that slowly eats away at us. The only thing that can bring life to our spiritually decrepit body is Jesus touch.

As with the leper, Jesus is more than willing to reach out and touch us. He is more than able to cleanse us from the sin we bear. It’s not important how we got to the place on the journey. It’s not important if it was our fault or the fault of someone else. What’s important is that we receive the healing touch only Jesus can give.

There’s another part to this story that we often overlook. While we may not have the opportunity to heal those around us from physical disease, each of us, as Christ-followers, can touch those around us with the love of Jesus. The effect of physical touch is healing in and of itself. A hand on the shoulder, a hug discreetly given, a firm and compassionate handshake can do wonders for the soul.

Accept the touch of Jesus for yourself and experience his healing. Pass that touch of Jesus’ love to those around you who are in need of a physical reminder that Jesus loves them. Your touch may be the very thing they need for their own healing. Don’t let their ‘leprosy’ keep you from showing them Jesus love.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I thank and praise you for the healing touch you have given me when I’m so undeserving of it. Help me to show your love to those around me that are in need of your touch as well. In your name, Amen.