Lord God, giver of life and grace and love, I thank You that You can fill my heart with joy each day.
Read LUKE 5:12-16
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
Joy is not just another word for being greatly “happy.” Joy is something deeper, independent of whether the circumstances around us make us “happy,” or not.
To be touched by someone motivated by love, kindness or compassion can be healing. It conveys to us that we are present, we have worth, and we somehow belong. Children who haven’t been hugged much or whose main experience of being touched has been harmful often end up psychologically damaged and unable to sustain healthy adult relationships. At the other end of the age spectrum, a sad dimension of older people’s isolation can be the absence of human touch.
It’s noteworthy here that Jesus broke strong religious and social taboos and deliberately “reached out his hand and touched” (13) a man with “leprosy” (the name given to various skin diseases in biblical times). In its worst form, this disease was disfiguring and fatal, and was so dreaded that the only defense was quarantine. To come into physical contact was to break the purity laws, so to prevent this happening, even accidentally, sufferers had to call out “unclean” whenever other people were around (Lev. 13:45,46). This must have been very humiliating.
Jesus must have seemed this man’s last hope. Dependent on others because he had no way of earning a living, yet unlikely to have been touched for many years, he would have heard the stories about Jesus but wasn’t sure that Jesus would really heal him. Most of us don’t doubt that God can heal; rather, our struggles are with whether he will, or not. There are no easy answers, but this demonstrates how Jesus’ deep compassion translated into immediate action. Healed and with instructions for reintegration into society (Lev. 14), this man experienced at first-hand God’s passion for those on the margins.
Who are the “untouchables” for you? Are there attitudes toward others you might need to repent of and do something about?
Loving Father, in this high-tech age I want to be high-touch for You. May I show others Your love and mine.