I was reading this weekend in Matthew 8
, about the time a leper
came to Jesus
and said, “If you are willing, I know you can heal me.” To which Jesus replied, “I’m willing; be healed!” And instantly, his rotting, diseased
body was made new- or as my wife said, “new skin- soft as a baby’s bottom!” For so many years, I just read that short exchange and moved on, “another Jesus-healing…cool…” without really thinking much about it.
I then began to consider how amazing this really was. Leprosy was the most feared disease of the ancient world- worse than we fear cancer or AIDS
today. It was considered to be highly contagious, and was so grotesque-looking that those who had it were banished from their communities. In fact, leprosy was thought to be the result of something evil in the person’s life, so somehow deserved. They often never felt human touch or affection the rest of their short, painful, miserable lives. How terrible.
And yet here he is, before Jesus, seeking a ray of hope, a thread of help. While everyone in the crowd shrinks back in horror, Jesus steps toward him in compassion. For the first time in possibly years, he is spoken to, he is touched- and he is healed. Jesus not only did what no one else could, He did what no one else would.
I am overwhelmed by this encounter, and I am undone. How many times in my life have I passed by hurting people, not wanting to bother, or somehow “grossed-out” by their looks, their lives, their sin, etc. Yet we as Christians are called to be the “Hands & Feet
” of Jesus, like the old Audio Adrenaline
song. If Jesus was compassionate, I must be also. If Jesus touched people, I must also. It’s time the Church, the “Body of Christ
” as we are called in the Bible
, really be His “Hands & Feet.” And it must start with me.