Made Whole by the Touch of Jesus

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.””

Matthew 8:2 NLT

‬‬“In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy. When the man saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground, begging to be healed. “Lord,” he said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.””

Luke 5:12 NLT

‭‭As Jesus took His young disciples from place to place, preaching, teaching, healing, and casting out demons, I’m sure it was exciting. This event, though, must have been deeply unsettling. Everything they were taught and experienced about leprosy told them to stay as far away from lepers as possible for fear that they might contract the disease themselves.

What were they thinking as this leper approached them? Scream? Run? Curse?

What were they feeling as this leper approached them? Shock? Disgust? Horror? Fear? Pity?

This man had an “advanced case” of leprosy. How bad was it? Was he covered with sores? Was he covered with dead flesh? Had skin fallen off, leaving bone and tissue exposed? Was his face disfigured? Did the sight of him make them nauseous?

When the man said, “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” What was he really saying? “You can heal me” spoke to this man’s physical condition that plagued him with pain. That was simple. Take away my disease. Take away my physical pain.

But perhaps more than any other disease, sickness, or disability Jesus encountered, this one carried a heavy stigma. Other sicknesses or disabilities Jesus healed hadn’t separated the person socially or spiritually in the way leprosy had. This leper was “unclean.” He was unfit to be in the company of others. He was unfit to be in the place of worship. He was cast off by the community, by friends and family, and must have felt cast off by God as well.

The deep hunger in his heart was to be made whole. Not just made well, but made whole. Whole physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually.

With one touch, Jesus accomplished this. He could have just said, “Be healed,” and left it at that. The man would have been healed of leprosy. But Jesus did so much more!

“Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared.”

Matthew 8:3 NLT

‭‭Before speaking words of physical healing, “Be healed,” Jesus touched the man while he was still covered with leprosy. Why? What did this accomplish?

Through this one simple act, Jesus was restoring the man to emotional, social, and spiritual wholeness. That was a much deeper wound, a much deeper need, than mere physical pain.

Through His touch, Jesus was saying, “What separates you from others doesn’t separate you from Me. I love you. I accept you. You matter to Me. I see you. I see your pain. I see your hurt.” There might not have ever been a touch from Jesus that accomplished more.

NOTE: Today’s blogpost is based upon Sonlife’s study, Knowing Him / A 50 Day Study in the Life of Christ / Day  23