Jesus certainly broke the social-distancing rules of His day by coming so near to this leper and, more shockingly for those witnessing the incident, even touching the leper’s damaged body.
Despite our now living in an extraordinary time of combatting a vicious medical threat to society, it’s still awkward and somewhat painful to be constantly stepping away from each other in the street. We have been instructed to keep our distance and, in effect, actively reject each other in terms of physical closeness. This is a new experience for everyone and, no doubt, many are feeling an increased sense of isolation, and even rejection, both in their homes and in public.
This would certainly have been the feelings of a community of lepers, in biblical times, ordered to isolate themselves and not infect their fellow citizens. But this story tells us that something remarkable happened to one leper. Jesus was willing and able to overcome the gap of rejection, touch him and heal him. Jesus was not acting in rebellion, but in the sure knowledge that He alone could utterly transform the life of this man who had experienced the daily distancing of the rest of the community, probably for years.
Today, in the midst of all the enforced separation from one another, Jesus alone can still come and touch anyone who calls to Him, healing the deepest feelings of anxiety and rejection, and affirming our close and unending acceptance in God’s family.
Prayer: Father God, nothing can separate us from Your love, if we open our hearts to You and recognise our need for Your forgiveness and cleansing. Thank You that, whatever the restrictions imposed upon us in this world just now, Your touch is always available. Amen.
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