Our verses today are Mark 1:40-42. They read: "And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, 'If you will, you can make me clean.' Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, 'i will; be clean' And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean." Lepers were outcasts in society. They had to make their living by begging. This particular leper comes to Jesus with great humility. Note he "implores" Jesus for healing. That is a verb of desperation. He "kneels" before him. That's a sign of worship and indicates inferiority before a superior. Finally, he says, "If you will." He knows the sovereign one over him may or may not grant his request. He is in no position to demand. He is in a position of total humility.
His request is to be made clean. He was tired of being an outcast. He was tired of watching this wretched disease eat away his skin and body. He wanted to be made well.
Jesus is moved with pity and compassion. Whenever any of us come to Jesus with humility and ask him for help in any area, he is moved with pity. He knows our deathly, sinful state. He knows what has ransacked our lives. He hurts as he watches what sin has done and continues to do to us all.
How does he then respond. First, he stretches out his hand. What a gesture this must have been for the outcast leper! Had anyone, especially since he contracted this dreaded disease, ever stretched out his hand to him? Then Jesus touched him. No one ever stretched out a hand AND touched a leper. There was too much fear of the disease infecting the clean person.
But Jesus' touch here heals the leper, instead of being infected, "Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean."
What is your pain today? How do you feel like an outcast? What is the area that is hurting your life today, a pain for which you yearn to be free?
Do what the leper did: 1) Go to Jesus in humility. 2) Tell him specifically what you need. 3) Realize that Jesus is the one stretching down to you, reaching to you to give you love. 4) Feel his touch. Know his presence. Know you're forgiven. Know you're loved.
The touch of Jesus assures us that in our worst condition, in our own diseased leprosy, he takes our sin upon himself on the Cross and makes us clean, whole, forgiven and righteous in his sight. Jesus' touch makes him unclean for our sake. We are made clean for his sake and his glory.
What great love! How important it is to receive every day the touch of Jesus! He who knew no sin took our sin upon himself so that we may be made clean!