In Jewish culture lepers were outcasts referred to as ‘untouchables’. They would walk around covered in bandages with a bell ringing the bell while shouting ‘unclean’. This was done to give people time to stay away. If a leper touched something it was to be burnt. Because of this lepers were a lonely lot.
Now back to our story. Go into the theatre of your mind. A leper walks near a crowd. His bell rings. Immediately someone shrieks in horror, ‘LEPER!’. The crowds disperse leaving Jesus standing by Himself. Jesus approaches the leper and TOUCHES the leper. The young men in the crowd gasp, a woman faints in shock. Immediately the leprosy leaves the man and he is made whole.
The people leap for joy. The disciples examine him and shout praises. The Pharisees and Saduccees are sceptical. The attention turns to Jesus. Why isn’t He leprous. No change. He must be special. Maybe it’s true. He could be ‘The Son of God’.
Back to the question. Why touch him? I suggest Jesus saw the lonely state this man was in. He had probably gone years without anyone touching him due to his condition. Jesus must have seen the one need this man had other than healing was that feeling that he was loved and cared for. He had probably never had anyone approach him. Everyone ran from him everytime he showed up.
Today someone who pulled crowds. A man who taught and thousands listened. A man who fed five thousand with five loaves of bread and two fish. A celebrity who was honoured and revered approached instead of running and touched him.
That touch spoke volumes. That man may not have heard another sermon but perhaps he didn’t need to. That touch was sermon enough.
We can say we love people lots of time. But sometimes we fail to pass the message. The action that follows articulates this love way better. For Jesus it was touching a leper. For Mother Teresa it was acts of charity. For Martin Luther King Jnr it was fighting for African American rights. For Nelson Mandela it was languishing in prison for 27 years.
Today write your own story. We may not document it in the annals of history , but someone somewhere will never forget it. Someone’s life will be changed forever because of you.
TOUCH SOMEONE IN YOUR OWN WAY.
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