The Man No One Would Touch

11/12/2007

Imagine yourself in a world where contact with other humans is forbidden. In this world you are not allowed to embrace your father in a hug or gently kiss your mother on the cheek. You can't hold the hand of your wife or kiss the forehead of your daughter. There are no hearty back slaps, no firm hand shakes, not even the slightest touch from person. In fact, you are completely and totally isolated. You haven't seen your family in years, haven't been able to tell your wife how much you love her, haven't been able to laugh with your children. You are alone and you are so lonely that it hurts. You are a leper.

The leprosy is slowly destroying your body. It's a death by inches, as your flesh slowly, and painfully rots away. You have no hope of recovery. Death is certain. No one will come near you, both out of fear and revulsion. You understand the feeling, because when you see your own reflection you feel the same revulsion.

But then you hear of man who does the incredible: he heals lepers. You feel that you must meet this man, the one they call Jesus, and for the first time in years you feel the slightest glimmer of hope. And so with all the desperation of a dying man, you set out to find this Jesus, the leper healer.

Finding Jesus isn't difficult, you simply follow the massive crowd. Yet you are afraid to approach him. How will he respond when he sees a filthy, wretched leper in front of him? Will he cast you away, as all others have done? You have no choice but to approach him.

You run towards Jesus and fall at his feet, crying out, "If you will, you can make me clean!" You hear cries of alarm from those surrounding Jesus and you see the crowd begin to move away from you in fear. But Jesus doesn't move away from you, he moves closer. You look into his eyes, and you don't see fear, or revulsion, or hatred, but deep compassion. And then Jesus does something that utterly shocks you. He stretches out his hand and places it on your leprosy infested shoulder. In that touch there is overwhelming love and supernatural power. Your rotting flesh begins to heal, open sores close over, and your once diseased skin begins to take on the pink hue of health. With tears in your eyes, you look up at Jesus and manage to utter, "Thank you."

For the remainder of your life, you make every effort to tell people of the mercy you received. You tell them of the man Jesus, and how he showed mercy to you, a dying leper. [Taken from Mark 1:40-45]

We were spiritual lepers, without hope and without God in this world. But Christ, the Holy One, reached out and touched us, healing our souls and reconciling us to God. What sweet mercy. Let's rejoice in the mercy of Christ today.

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 8:00 AM  

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