HE TOUCHED ME!
Father, as I read today, open my heart to receive and respond to your Word with fresh insight and renewed commitment.
Read LUKE 5:12-16
Jesus Heals a Man With Leprosy
12 While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy.[a] 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.”
13 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.
14 Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”
15 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
- Luke 5:12 The Greek word traditionally translated leprosy was used for various diseases affecting the skin.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect‘At the cross…/Where Your love ran red and my sin washed white…/I owe all to You Jesus.’*
Dr. Paul Brand, a medical missionary in India, placed an arm around his young patient’s shoulder. In halting Tamil, he explained that the progress of the leprosy could be stopped. He expected a smile, but the man started sobbing. Dr. Brand asked his translator whether the man had misunderstood his explanation. After questioning the young man in Tamil, the translator revealed the reason for the tears—after so many years, someone had touched him.**
Jesus encounters a man ‘covered with leprosy’ (v 12), a disease that not only ravaged his body but made the man one of society’s ‘untouchables.’ Leprosy sufferers had to leave their families and isolate themselves from the community. They faced loneliness, unemployment, poverty, and their ‘uncleanness’ even excluded them from worship. If they touched or were touched by someone, the other person also became unclean. The law required that the person with leprosy shout, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ But the unspoken cry of his heart was surely, ‘Unloved! Unloved!’
Jesus grants the man’s desperate plea to be made ‘clean’ (v 12b). ‘Immediately the leprosy left him’ (v 13b), a testimony to Jesus’ great power. But even more poignant is the Lord’s not-so-simple act of reaching out to touch him (v 13a). This touch—that would render Jesus ‘unclean’ under the law—foreshadowed the cross, where his ‘love ran red’ so that our sins would be ‘washed white.’
Who are the untouchable, the unpopular, and the unloved around you? How will you touch them?
Lord Jesus, thank you for the ways you teach me, not just with words, but with your actions. Help me to follow your example as I relate to the world around me.
*‘At The Cross,’ Chris Tomlin 2014.
**Story paraphrased from Paul Brand and Philip Yancey, The Gift of Pain (Zondervan, 1997).
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