Today we are reading from Mark 1: 40-45:
40 A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, “If you choose, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!” 42 Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 43 After sternly warning him he sent him away at once, 44 saying to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” 45 But he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the word, so that Jesus could no longer go into a town openly, but stayed out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter.
It is always interesting to me the way Jesus performs miracles. One of my favorites is when He spits in the dirt, makes mud, and uses that to heal someone’s sight. Max Lucado once wrote if Jesus can use spit and dirt, He can use me too.
Today, He heals a man with leprosy. Leprosy was a big deal in that culture, it made you unclean. If you were unclean, you were not allowed in the community. You were an outcast. You were untouchable. But not untouchable in a metaphoric way. In a literal way. You were not allowed to touch others or be touched by others. If there was touch, the fact that you were unclean would transfer to them. They would become unclean.
So you had to stay away. You could not marry, if you were, you would not be able to see them. You could not visit your parents. You children. You could not go to the market. To the Temple. To the synagogue. You were alone.
imagine if you couldn’t go see your mama. Or go to church. Or go to Walmart. What a lonely, isolating miserable life.
So, within this, of all the ways that Jesus could have healed this man, what did He choose? Touch. He could have spoken Him clean; He had done that before. He could have do so many things. But He gave this man something he had not received in years. Touch.
To others, he was untouchable because of His disease. To Jesus, he was a child He was coming to save. Jesus didn’t have to heal him this way. But He did. He touched him.
Today, who in your life is untouchable? Who are the outcasts? Who is alone? Who needs that word, that laugh, that touch? Maybe we can’t bring the miracle of healing in the same way that Jesus did. But we can bring the miracle of community. Of worth. Of love. Of touch.
Today, let’s follow the lead of our Savior.
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Andy, thanks for taking the time to share the word with us this morning! I am struck by the words -Jesus chose touch for the untouchable. What a powerful example for us. Thanks for the encouragement.