Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Touching the Untouchables

By Allen White

When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
Matthew 8:1-4

Jesus healed in many different ways. Sometimes He touched the ill person. Other times He just said the word and healing took place (Luke 18:35-43). In the case of the centurion (Matthew 8:5-13), Jesus spoke the word from a distance, and the servant was healed. He healed a blind man by making mud (Matthew 9:1-12). We get the impression that the Son of God can heal whomever He wants in any way He wants.

Lepers were considered unclean or untouchable. In the vast Scriptural teaching on infectious skin diseases (take a look at the book of Leviticus), the one overarching principle was to stay away from them. If there was a case for verbally pronouncing a healing, the leper would be at the top of most people’s lists.

Jesus chose to touch the leper. Nobody else had probably touched this leper in a long time. No hugs or handshakes. No fist bumps or even an elbow jab. Lepers were untouchable, yet Jesus touched him, and the leper was healed.

Who is untouchable in our culture? Well, technically no one, other than the Dalats in India. But, who would we hesitate to touch? An AIDS victim? A homeless person? A prison inmate? A disabled person? The mentally ill? An addict?

Basically, all people are the same. Every person is body, soul and spirit. Every person matters to God. Some have more to deal with than others. Some are coping with the wounds of a painful past. Some are trapped in the sum of their mistakes. But, God loves every one.

What would you do with the leper? Would you touch him? Would you encourage him? Would you send in a check? Would you change the channel?

Who in your world is difficult for you to connect with? Why do you think they are so different from you? How does Jesus want to touch this person through you?

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