Friday, February 27, 2009

REACH OUT AND TOUCH SOMEONE


A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing, “he said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured. Mark 1:40-42

The man had leprosy. That was almost like a death sentence. At least as far as having any quality of life was concerned. People didn’t get well from leprosy. Once a leper, always a leper. The law required lepers to live away from the rest of the people. They had to wear a cloth over their faces and everywhere they went they had to call out and announce that they were lepers. They had to shout out, “Unclean! Unclean!” If someone approached, the leper had to move out of the way and call out his warning in order to give the person time to avoid him. No one was allowed to touch a leper. This included spouses and children. A leper lived life without the hope of a loving touch from his family. They were complete outcasts. Lepers were considered to have been judged by God. They did not have the pleasure of worshiping in the temple. They were not allowed to have a relationship with God.

When Jesus reached out and touched the leper he broke the law. His loving, compassionate heart caused him to offer his loving, healing touch. He risked being ostracized by people too. He risked being an outcast. He risked being put out of the temple. All this Jesus risked because he was willing to reach out and touch one who was untouchable. Love overcame law. Compassion overcame condemnation. Jesus wanted to touch the man in spite of his unclean, leprous condition. So he did.

Who are the outcasts in my community? Who are the modern lepers who live around me? Who are the ones whom the “righteous” look at with judgment and condemnation? Who are they whom the good church people avoid like the plague? Who are the people who feel alone and untouchable? Who are the ones who have no love in their lives? Those who have no relationships? Who are the people who have no life to look forward to?

These are the ones to whom we are called. These are the people we are to reach out and touch. We are to share the love of Jesus with them. Why are we so concerned to reach people who are just like us? We are not to judge but to offer hope and compassion through the gospel of Christ. We are not to make them feel unwelcome but to bring them in and make them one of us. If the Spirit of Christ lives in us then we will be filled with his love and compassion no matter what the “righteous” think. If we are rejected because we will not reject the unlovely, then we will be more like Jesus than ever! Perhaps someone I touch will be healed and the name of Jesus will become more famous than it was before!

2 Comments:

At 7:04 AM, Anonymous Troy Gentz said...

no comments on this is clearly a shame - I think this is an amazing post - I read about the building and then put them to work blogs and those are good but this to me is what the church is - being Jesus to the outcast - well actually being Jesus to everyone - great post - I sure hope this kind of thoughts are impacting your people to build a church that looks similar to the church Jesus started to build- seriously Dave great word - very encouraged by it

 
At 3:53 PM, Blogger Shiloh Guy said...

Thanks, Troy. I really appreciate your input. This passage really hit me hard and I pray daily that God will give me the courage and the opportunity to love those who are rejected in our community.

 

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