The Untouchables

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And behold, a leper came to Him, and bowed down to Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”  And He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.”  And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.  Matthew 8: 2-3

Lepers back then were outcasts, forced to live outside of the towns and had to cry “unclean” whenever someone came near.  Isn’t it amazing that what others would not touch,  Jesus was willing to touch?  He reached out His hand.  He could have just spoken the words from a safe distance.  He could have told the man to go wash in the river seven times,  He could have healed him in any number of ways that didn’t involve touching him.  So why touch a leper to heal him?  Jesus isn’t as bothered about our humanity as we are.  He isn’t put off by the things that we are put off by.  He embraces and touches us right where we are even if that means touching an untouchable.  Even if that means looking at and talking about the things we would rather leave buried and never examine.  Jesus is a healer who will stop at nothing to heal.

We have dogs. Several of them in fact and they do what dogs do – they dig in the yard, scratch in public, bark at odd times, lick themselves in unmentionable places right in front of us.  Our Bubba can’t even stand up without farting.  No shame whatsoever!  While these behaviors may make us cringe, they are consistent with who they are, they are dogs.  Dogs do these things.

Jesus was difficult at times to understand.  The disciples who followed Him scratched their heads in wonder many times.  Who does things like that?   Who heals on the Sabbath?  Who heals those who are troubled by unclean spirits?  Who touches a leper?  What the disciples failed to see at times is that Jesus was acting consistent with who He is.  He is the God that heals us.  He is our Healer, our Jehovah Rapha.  When He heals He is only doing what healers do.  They heal.

That He touched that leper when other methods of healing were available I think shows the depth of His compassion.  That touch from Jesus not only healed that man of leprosy but also gave him back his humanity and dignity both of which had been lost because of his disease.  That touch was probably the first time someone had touched him in years.  He wasn’t viewed as a disgusting outcast but a human in need of compassion and mercy.  Jesus saw beyond the physical need and touched this man at his deepest point of need.  And that touched restored that man’s life.  He could now return to his family and friends and life.  Clean and whole.

Precious Jesus, I thank You because You love us so much that You are willing to touch us even in our uncleanness.  Thank You for looking beyond what only others can see and touching us at our deepest point of need.  Thank You for showing us time and time and time again in scriptures that it is Your will to heal.  You are our Jehovah Rapha, our God who heals us.  I receive Your healing touch today and praise You for it.  Amen

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