June 18, 2015
READ: Mark 1:40-45
Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” (v.41).
Leprosy was one of the most feared diseases in Jesus’ day. It sentenced a person who was afflicted with it to an isolated and lonely existence. Jewish ceremonial laws forbade people from having physical contact with lepers. It required those with the disease to live “outside the camp”, isolated from their family and neighbours (Leviticus 14:2-3). If lepers were to venture out into the general public, they were to shout, “Unclean! Unclean!” so that people would know to keep their distance (13:45-46).
Jesus once encountered a man afflicted with leprosy— a dreaded, disfiguring disease. It’s possible that this man had a collapsed nose, skin blemishes covering his body and curled up arms and hands. He may have been missing a few fingers or toes.
Apparently the leper sensed something so radically different about the Saviour that he was willing to break the rules of the day. Rather than back away and warn Him of his uncleanness, this guy ran up to Jesus, fell at His feet and humbly begged to be healed (Mark 1:40). Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him and cured him (vv.41-42).
One might say that Jesus broke the rules too when He touched the leper. But He wasn’t trying to be a rule breaker. He came to fulfil the Law (Matthew 5:17). He was helping people move from the old way of doing things (that was no longer the priority) to the new way of kingdom life found in Him.
365-day-plan: John 2:1-25
Jesus’ touch could transform lives, but He could also heal with His words. Read Mark 2:1-12 and consider His healing ways.
Is there something others have done to you or you have done to yourself that has made you feel leper-like? Don’t hide. Approach Jesus, talk with Him about it and discover His healing touch.