Matthew 8:1-3 (NIV) 1When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” 3Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy.
The Jews lumped all types of skin diseases under one category. God had given Moses specific instruction about quarantining those who had skin disease. They were to live apart from others. If anyone approached them they had to warn them by shouting, “Unclean!”. To touch a person that had a skin disease required the one who touched them to go through a cleansing ritual to see if they had contracted the disease. This man’s disease must have been quite obvious. He may have had what we call leprosy. There was no need to tell Jesus what it was that he needed cleansing from.
It is hard to imagine not having the touch of another person for a long period of time. The man must have been not only suffering physically but emotionally as well. As he yelled, “Unclean!”, the people parted as if an invisible wedge cleared the way to Jesus. “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” The man expressed His faith in the ability of Jesus. He called Him a master. Jesus does not have servants and great wealth. He is a different kind of lord. He is master over His creation.
Then Jesus did something that required faith. He touched the man. If the man was not immediately cured, Jesus would have been considered defiled. Jesus would have to go through the cleansing ritual. Jesus responded, “I am willing. Be clean!” His touch and words made the man whole. We cannot defile Jesus. His purity overcomes our defilement. He is willing to touch and cleanse you. Are you suffering? Know that He is willing. He will touch you. His purity is greater than your defilement.
Consider: Jesus is willing to reach out and touch you.
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