Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” Jesus reached out and touched him. (Matthew 8:2-3)
Relate: I don’t remember who it was. Honestly, I don’t know if I ever found out. These many years gone, I don’t even remember why I was standing there. I was praying for something. I was needing something. That much I know but the specifics… they have been lost with time.
What has not been lost was that touch. While my head was bowed and my eyes were closed, someone from behind put a hand on my shoulder. That was all it took. It was as if the dam broke. Tears began flowing. Sobs were pouring out. I couldn’t even stand and fell hard to my knees. Real hard. For the next few days, I would sport bruises on both knees. In the falling, my hands went to my face as both kissed the carpet before me. Whatever it was I needed, the answer came. The healing came, and that one hand remained on my shoulder through it all.
React: Jesus had no business touching a leper. From a religious, legalistic standpoint, that touch was breaking the law. That touch should have made Jesus unclean. Such an act was never, ever supposed to be made intentionally. What the world watching didn’t realize was that there was healing that came with the contact. The leper was leprous no longer. Jesus could have healed the man just as easily without that touch. The very next story in the gospels proves that, but Jesus knew this leper needed healing for far more than just a skin disease. He needed that simple act of compassion found in reaching out.
I doubt the person reaching out to me had any idea what his small act of love was about to do. The six words in the gospels “Jesus reached out and touched him” can easily be skimmed right past. It is easy to forget that this man had not experienced intentional physical contact like that for years… perhaps decades. What seems so small and simple to the one giving can easily be a life-changing moment for the one receiving that gift. How intentional are we being in reaching out to touch others with God’s love? What are some simple, seemingly small things we can do for those we will come into contact with today?
Reach down. Before I ask anything else, I ask that You would stretch out Your hand and touch me again. I am desperate for You. I need You. But don’t just reach to me… reach out through me. Help me to be alert and aware and responsive to the simple, small things I can do every day to carry Your touch to others. Give me a compassionate heart. Give me a mindset of mercy constantly seeking ways to show Your love to others.