I left the colony quietly in the pre-dawn hours. I pulled my robe down over my hands & face . I carefully hid the bell beneath the grey covering. I walked quickly into the city & hid in the shadows near the outer court of the temple. I knew the city would be busy on this Friday morning. Crowds would visit the market place in preparation for Sabbath .
I hoped I would get a glimpse of my wife Ruth & son Samuel. It has been months since the disease had eaten away my fingers & scarred my face. Life in the colony is so lonely. Death & decay surround us as many lose the battle with this devastating disease.
I miss Ruth & Samuel but am grateful that they have been spared from the contagion. The longing to see them; to be with them is overwhelming. I had to take the risk; the risk of punishment if only I could catch a glimpse.
The market is packed this morning. The crowds excited! A new teacher emerges from the synagogue. As he walks by the place where I am hiding he catches my eye & smiles. I am caught off guard & filled with fear. Does he see my disease ? Will he have me arrested?
But then I do the unthinkable . I move toward him and ……………
A man with leprosy came to him & begged him on his knees,
“If you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand & touched the man.
“I am willing” he said. “Be clean!”
Immediately the leprosy left him & he was cured.
There is an ad on our local TV stations that says this :
When a child has a physical illness
Friends & neighbours
Rally around .
When a child has a mental
Or emotional or developmental illness
There is just silence.
Lepers were untouchable not just physically but relationally & emotionally. Isolated & ignored . Cut off from community . Cut off from life. Cut off from everything that makes us human.
Jesus did the unthinkable. He touched the man.
Jesus risked his ministry by this touch. People would have run away from Jesus, fearing that he now could spread the dreaded the infection.
Why did Jesus do this? Why didn’t he just speak the word & heal the physical illness?
Because Jesus brought healing to the whole person. The man needed relational restoration as much as he needed physical restoration.
- to belong
- to have relationships restored,
- to be seen as having worth & value.
He needed the labels removed.
He needed the identity of shame removed.
Guilt Says You Did A Bad Thing
Shame Says You Are A Bad Thing
You Are Untouchable!
The Shame Identity
What grey cloak of shame are you carrying?
- did your spouse leave you for another?
- do you suffer from chronic fatigue & depression?
- have you lost your job in the current economic downturn?
- is your teenager into drugs?
Are you carrying a mantle of ‘if only I ….’?
We celebrated the death & resurrection of Jesus last week.
His Death Dealt With Our Guilt
His Life Frees Us From Shame
Are you willing to return his gaze ? Are you willing to come to him ? Are you willing to let Jesus touch you?
Over the weekend spend some time in this story. What is Jesus saying to you? What is your response?
Be sure to share it with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.