"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!" Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. Matt 8:1-2
A few years ago a man came into our church facility. I was there alone. He asked if I was a pastor. I told him I was. He looked filthy and smelled of sweat. He had scrapes and soares on his arms. He said he had contracted HIV and needed help to buy medicine. Then he did it-He said his name and extended his hand...
I was just sitting here looking at my hands. To think of the places they have been and the things they have done. They look old and worn to me now. I wonder what they looked like the day I was born. I wonder how old I was when I threw my first ball, waved my first hello, gave my first hug, stole a combination lock from Albertson’s, made a fist and threw a punch. I remember folding my filthy hands in prayer and asking God to forgive me. I remember lifting my hands overwhelmed by love and forgiveness knowing they were clean and I could start over.
Jesus has a habit of touching filthy people.
In the Bible, Matthew writes of an untouchable. Here we meet a man that no one would touch. Not his wife or his children-no one. In fact, he had probably been banished to a leper colony. Leprosy was greatly feared by many. Few really understood it. They just knew they didn’t want it and this unnamed man had it. As far as he knew, from this point forward, affection from another would only be known in dreams. And then Jesus did it...
When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, "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!" Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. Matt 8:1-2
I wonder what that moment must have felt like for that man. For years, no one dared touch him. He was an outcast; a reject of society. Many would believe that he must have sinned greatly for God to punish Him with leprosy. And what does Jesus do? He reaches out and touches him. "I am willing!" I love that! Jesus is willing to touch us. He doesn’t have to, He wants to! It is His word that has the power not His touch. What’s amazing is that He could just speak his healing but He also touched. He is willing not only to heal but to touch us, to hold us; to embrace us. That is why I follow Him.
When the man extended his hand toward me, I must admit a battle of fear and faith happened inside me. And then I did it...I extended my hand, shook his and said, "My name is Chris. Good to meet you. What is it you said you needed?"
I pray that your hands are extended today. May your hands give love. May your hands touch the dirty lives of others. May your hands be God’s hands touching our world and broadcasting Jesus in HD.