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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.

 


He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Mark 5:34

She had nothing to offer him. Nothing that would set her apart from any of the other hundreds of people who pushed closer to see him. She was weak and tired. She’d long ago lost any hope of a normal life. Her prayers, up to this point had gone unanswered. Everything that she’d hoped to be and to have as a little girl was now nothing more than a shadow of an ugly past.

She was a social outcast. Her ‘disease’ labeled her as unclean. In her era, the fact that God had not healed her left her suspect. If she were ‘righteous’ he would not punish her so. The fact that her disease continued proved that she was a sinner, nothing more than a hopeless sinner.

She hadn’t been touched by a man in years. Her family kept their distance. She wasn’t allowed to go to the temple to worship anymore. She had nothing to offer. Nothing except a tenacious faith that said, “If I can just touch him. He doesn’t need to talk to me. He doesn’t even need to know I’m here. With all these people pressing in on him, he’ll be far too busy to even notice. Just one little touch….’

And with that she reached through the couple in front of her. It was just a moment. A moment in time that would change her for all time. Barely a brushing of his robe. A simple touch that stopped the world for an instant.

Have you ever felt like Jesus was too busy for your problems? Ever wondered why your prayers have gone unanswered? Ever bought into the things you’ve heard others say about you, or your kind? “Never amount to anything….God can’t use people like him/her…People never change, not her kind anyway.”

Take a lesson from the woman who, in her desperate faith simply reached out and touched him. She struggled with a physical condition but found spiritual healing. She gave up on religion but never gave up on Jesus.

Jesus doesn’t ask us to come to him cleaned up and ready for action. He simply asks us to come. He doesn’t look for explanations or proof of our worthiness. He simply wants to feel our touch on his robe.

Don’t ever give up. Don’t listen to the voices that tell you there is no hope; that you’ve made too many mistakes; that people like you can’t change. None of us can change who we are on our own strength. Tenacious faith in the living Son of God and reliance on his forgiveness and grace is the only thing we need to be free of the things of our past.

Reach through the crowd. Don’t be hampered by those who would discourage you. Touch his robe and let the healing begin.

PRAYER: Jesus, I’ve struggled with secret sin for so long and can’t seem to overcome it. I’ve listened to the voices of those who say I’m beyond hope. I’ve started to doubt your ability of desire to help me. I’ve given up on you. I’ve given up on me. I ask that you would feel my touch on your robe. Heal me of the things that are keeping me down. I have nothing to offer you except my belief that you and you alone, can change me. In your name I pray, Amen.

 

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