Thursday, January 08, 2015


And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”  Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.”  Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.  (Matthew 8:2-3)

Jesus was willing to touch the untouchable—are you?  The church is the Body of Christ; we are to be an extension of His hands to a world without hope apart from His grace. 

Leprosy was a loathsome disease.  It brought ISOLATION.  Because of the danger of transmission, the leper had to warn people to keep their distance by crying, “Unclean!  Unclean!”  They were often driven from society and forced to live in leper colonies.  Can you imagine what it would be like to live day after day without human touch—no hugs, no kisses, not so much as a handshake—driven away and excluded?  Yet, there are so many like this in our world today—children who have been orphaned with no one to care for them, the elderly who are often warehoused in a nursing home , the homeless—some whose minds are burned out from substance abuse, those with mental disorders stuck a group home.  Nobody comes to see many of them; nobody seems to care.  To touch them may mean to touch someone dirty and disheveled.  Saliva may drool down their chin, food stains may soil their shirt, crumbs fill their lap and sometimes feces fill their pants—all while the smell or urine pervades the air.  Will you touch them?

Leprosy not only brought isolation, but INSENSITIVITY.  The disease robs a person of feeling.  The capacity to feel pain is lost.  All around us we see such—hollow faces and glassy eyes—they are numb from neglect.  What do we do?

Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
Feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
Chords that were broken will vibrate once more.

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.  (Fanny J. Crosby)

The insensitivity leads to INJURY.  You might think that to feel no pain would be a good thing—but it would be terrible.  You do not know when you burn your hand, or step on a nail.  Have you seen pictures of lepers with missing digits, maimed and crippled?  A leper might go to sleep on the streets of Calcutta, India, and awaken with a finger gone because a rat chewed it off in the night—and they didn’t even know!  There are folks you will see today whose lives are being gnawed away little by little by this world, and they don’t even realize it.

Leprosy is a picture of what sin is and does.  Sin separates us from people.  It robs us of feeling.  Sin eats away at our life.  It ultimately brings death.  We are all born with moral leprosy.  If we were healed by Christ’s grace, it is because someone reached out to us.  Are we willing?

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