** And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. ** Luke 5:13
In an anonymous city, an anonymous man comes to Jesus for a life change.
The man has most likely heard of all that Jesus has done up to that day. He understands that Jesus was able to do what others couldn’t. He knew that Jesus was the One that could do the impossible. He knew that Jesus could get it done.
But I think this unnamed man got more than he ever thought he would get from Jesus.
Yes, He healed the man’s disease.
Leprosy. A flesh-eating, horrible, painful condition. A disease that caused him to lose his job, most likely his home, and his family. His disease was contagious. The more time one spends with a leper, the more likely he is to get it as well. Most would run from a leper to avoid contact.
Lepers were rejected, shamed, isolated, cast out and the general public were repulsed by their appearance.
But not Jesus.
** And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. ** v12
And Jesus’ answer? He didn’t flinch. He didn’t run away. He didn’t recoil with revulsion.
He reached out and TOUCHED him.
** And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. **
In other healings, Jesus only spoke a word and healed someone. In others, He only had to will it to see him clean and the person was immediately cleansed.
So, why didn’t Jesus just say a word, or express His will with a quick, visible healing?
Why did He put forth His hand? Why did He touch the leper?
Because no one else would.
Because Jesus is so much more than just answering our requests the way we hope. He is more than the laundry list magician.
He is compassion and grace and kindness and love!
So, He reached out His hand in love….and TOUCHED him. He physically touched the man that probably hadn’t been touched by anyone for a very long time. Jesus gifted the leper with compassion and humanness. He didn’t just heal his disease, Jesus gave him worth again as a human being. He saw him as a person with value. He gave the leper hope and restoration by that small gesture.
It was like Jesus was telling the leper, I’m giving you what you asked, but I am also giving you so much more. Now, you are different. Now, you can hold your head up. Not only because of erasing your disease, but because I have shown you how to treat others. Don’t go back to your life and condemn others. Forgive them. Love them. Reach out to them and help them heal as well. Tell them about me. Tell them ALL that I did for you. Not just the healing, but the compassion, grace, kindness and love. The disease is the least of it. BE healed. BE a better person. BE the one who forgives others for their cruelty. BE like Me. BE the light and love in your world.
Jesus always knew how to impact someone for more than a minute. More than the immediate need.
Just like He did with all of us. He asks of us to impact others for more than a few minutes. To not wave the magic wand over them and then walk away. But give them something more. Go deeper. Try to understand the greater need. Show compassion, kindness and love. BE like Jesus.
BE light. BE love.