Today, Jesus reaches out and touches an outcast:
A man with an advanced case of leprosy came and knelt before Jesus with his face to the ground, begging to be healed. “Lord, if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said.
Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him, “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!”
Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed. Then Jesus sent him on his way with a stern warning: “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.”
But the man went and spread the word, proclaiming to everyone what had happened. As a result, large crowds soon surrounded Jesus, and he couldn’t publicly enter a town anywhere. He had to stay out in the secluded places, but people from everywhere kept coming to him.
(Mark 1:40-41, Matthew 8:2-4, Luke 5:12-15 NLT)
Let’s look at our 2 BIG Questions:
Who exactly is Jesus?
Jesus once again demonstrates that he is the compassionate Great Physician, willing to heal those who humbly come to him in faith.
Touching a leper was religiously forbidden, socially unacceptable and medically risky. Lepers were complete and utter outcasts. The law required that they live alone outside the town, wear torn clothes, keep their hair uncombed, cover their mouths and cry out “Unclean! Unclean!” (Leviticus 13:45-46)
Rather understandably, rabbis and other religious folks avoided lepers like the plague. But not Jesus. He reached out and touched the leper with compassion, healing him instantly.
What exactly should we do?
Do what the leper did at first but not at last.
The leper humbly approached Jesus with a simple and specific request, believing that Jesus “can.” In response, Jesus was moved with compassion and reached out and touched the leper, healing him instantaneously.
Jesus then gave the leper clear instructions on what to do — and not to do. The leper disobeyed and, as a result, Jesus was mobbed.
The lesson? Pray humbly, simply, specifically and with faith. And when Jesus speaks, listen and obey. He always knows what’s best.
(Image Credit: Shutterstock / Neko92vl)