Travelling home from Tel Aviv we sat alongside an orthodox Jew with whom we had an engaging conversation regarding faith. It was interesting and friendly as we exchanged beliefs about Jesus. At the end of the journey, the gentleman shook hands with my husband. He asked if he could be excused from shaking hands with me, as it is not permitted for a Jew to touch any other woman but his wife, and a handshake involved touch.
Jesus broke the religious and social rules of His day. He touched the untouchable – sinners, women, outcasts and in the text for today we see Him touching a leper. A leper was an outcast and the belief of the day was that in order to prevent the disease from spreading, the person suffering had to live apart from society and call out, “Unclean,” when other people were in the vicinity. This was isolating and humiliating and a deeply wounding experience. When the man met Jesus it’s likely that he hadn’t been touched for many years. Somehow he’d heard of Jesus who reached out and touched people, healing them on the inside as well as the outside. The leper was wonderfully healed by a touch.
Touch is a basic human need. Probably it’s as significant a need as food and shelter. Children who haven’t been touched a lot suffer harmful consequences in their developmental process. Touch is one of the five senses. It’s essential to the health and well being of a human’s emotional, physical, and spiritual development. Babies who’re deprived of touch struggle to survive and struggle with relationships as they grow into adulthood.
A loving touch from someone, motivated by kindness and compassion, can be deeply moving. It says, “You’re worth something, you’re valuable, and you belong.” Yes, touch is healing; it’s restoring. We all need human touch, but above all we each need to receive the healing touch of Jesus in different areas of our lives.
The Greek word for healing is ‘sozo’. It’s a little word with a big meaning – it means ‘wholeness’. Wholeness is healing on the inside, as well as on the outside. It’s an ongoing journey for the believer in Jesus. The unhealed areas of our lives need to be touched by Jesus as the leper was touched. Our need of a touch from the Lord Jesus might be physical, emotional or spiritual. Like the leper we each need to reach out to Him for His touch, rather than try to fix ourselves.
Prayer: Thank You, Father God, that You sent Jesus to die on the cross. Thank You that through His death I can come to Him and receive the fullness of all He did when He died for me. I humbly come to You and ask You to reveal to me the unhealed areas of my life, and give me grace to face whatever is hidden from me but known to You. I bring my prayer in the name of Jesus, Amen.
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