Mark 1:40-42 (NIV)
A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.
It is very hard to imagine people in hospitals and care facilities at this time in history. So many have contracted the covid–19 virus and as the disease progressed, they were put in medical care and eventually cut off from the people they love. Some will recover and return to their loved ones. Many have already passed away and sadly they were all alone.
When I read these verses, I think of the lepers in Jesus’ day. They were rejected, unwanted, despised. They were the untouchables of the day. Then one day this man heard about a rabbi named Jesus. He heard about his kindness, about his power to heal and hope rises within him. He slowly lumbered toward Jesus as he approached. Jesus stops. He looks into Jesus’ eyes and sees nothing but love and compassion. “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” It was a step of faith, a hope for something special to happen to him.
The leper must have wondered: What will he do? Will he scream, get away from me? No, he doesn’t. Slowly, the man reaches down and touches him. With that one touch, Jesus reveals his concern for him, his care for him, his acceptance of him, his love for him.
We are not so different from that leprous man. We are also infected with a horrible disease. Our disease does not show on our skin. It shows in our lives. It shows in our lust, greed, selfishness, and hatred. To a holy God, our sins make us look as untouchable as that leper.
Thanks be to God that Jesus is willing to touch the untouchable. Instead of screaming at us to get away from him, he reached down and touched us. He left his heavenly home and became one of us. He touched us when no one else would. He touched us in order to do what no one else could. With nails through his hands and feet, with a crown of thorns on his head, he looked down at us and said, “Father, forgive them …”
Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me enough to touch me when I was untouchable. Thank you for making me clean. Amen.