Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Touch of Jesus

"Unclean, unclean!" was the cry of a leper as he neared other people. According to Levitical law, people with leprosy -- a generic term applied to a variety of skin disorders such as eczema, ulcers, cancer and others, whether or not they were contagious -- were commanded to live outside the camp. So not only did they have a skin disease, they were outcasts and subject to public humiliation as well.

But this was the old covenant. And Jesus did not live by the old covenant.

Matthew, Mark and Luke tell the story of a leper who approached Jesus for healing.
While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, "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!" And immediately the leprosy left him.  (Luke 5:12-13)
This man knew that anyone who came in contact with a person suffering from leprosy would become ceremonially unclean. Having lived with the reality of the rituals surrounding leprosy, it must have been inconceivable to him that anyone would be willing to help him. Assuming a position of worship and of supplication, he fell with his face to the ground and begged Jesus for healing. He knew Jesus could heal him, yet he was not sure if Jesus would want to contaminate Himself on his behalf.

Ah, but he did not yet understand the lengths to which Christ would go for us.

Matthew recites some of Jesus' healings in chapter 8, starting with this story.  In verse 16 he says, "When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: 'He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.'"

Our sins, our sicknesses, were laid on Jesus and he bore them for us on the cross.

"Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. 'I am willing,' he said. 'Be clean!''

The touch of Jesus makes the unclean clean! Whatever our infirmities, whatever our needs. The touch of Jesus brings life and healing.

Holman Bible Dictionary

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