"Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him."
Disfigured. Grotesque. Repulsive. Rejected. These were only a few of the words that described the life of a leper. The disease that had taken over there body was like no other. It not only led them to their death, but it had such horrible effects on their life that death was a welcomed end. Many illnesses have complications associated with it that are quite painful, but leprosy had one that could not be relieved.
With leprosy there was a constant pain and irritation that was associated with this flesh eating disease. The pain could be intolerable, but even the irritation would not allow for a moment of peaceful sleep. At some point the flesh began to literally rot away leaving bone, tissue and muscle exposed to the elements. The body was now susceptible to any and all infection. These things were horrible, but they were not the most difficult part of the disease. The most tragic consequence of leprosy was that you would never feel the compassionate touch of another for the rest of your life. Instead, you would be banished from society and seemingly banished from knowing what it means to be loved.
A leper heard of Jesus and made his way to the place where He was. As he approached the crowds, he heard the all too familiar sounds. Women began to scream and run away from him. Little children cried as they saw his horrifically disfigured face and body. Men began to shout at him to leave that place and go back to where he belonged. He pressed on however with a hope that could endure any amount of ridicule. Finally, with the path cleared from in front of him, he recognized the One whom he had heard so much about, Jesus. He did not run or shout like the others. Instead He watched the leper as he humbly approached and began to crawl in humility on his knees. In complete faith the leper said, "Lord, if you are willing, You can make me clean." He waited only for the spoken word of healing to come from Jesus' lips, but Jesus did far more than that. As He said, "I am willing; be cleansed", Jesus touched him.
Jesus did what nobody else would do. He touched the untouchable. He met this man and gave him what he so desperately needed: compassion, love, and healing. The hand of Jesus is still extended for each of us today. There is some untouchable part of every individual's life. Perhaps others know about it, or perhaps it is some area that is so private that no one knows. As we come by faith to Jesus and call on Him for help in our time of need, it is certain that He will go over and above what we could ever ask or think.
May you feel the tender hand of Jesus Christ today!