Jesus Touched the Man
Read Matthew 8:1–3
When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.
During Jesus’ day, people with leprosy (and skin diseases) were considered unclean and untouchable. So the fact that Jesus touched this man would have been remarkable to the man himself and anyone standing nearby. But Jesus didn’t hesitate in reaching out, touching the man’s diseased skin, and healing him. Of course, we shouldn’t go around touching people we don’t know, but we can communicate the healing love of Jesus and acceptance through a touch on the shoulder or hand when appropriate. In our day, we often treat individuals with physical or intellectual disabilities as untouchables, refusing to make eye contact or staying clear of them physically. What do we communicate when we do this?
- As best as you’re able, use your imagination to place yourself in the shoes of the man with leprosy when Jesus touched him. What must he have felt in that moment?
- Reflect on the ways you have treated people with disabilities as you’ve encountered them in your community. What have you communicated by your actions?
- What is God’s invitation to you in today’s passage?
God, thank You for the gift of life and the gift of a body, mind, and soul. Help me not to take for granted the things I am able to do and the ways I am able to think. Remind me that I carry the healing touch of Jesus within me and I am able to communicate love and acceptance through touch. Forgive me for the words I’ve said or actions I’ve taken that have treated anyone with a disability as untouchable or unloved. Guide me into deeper levels of love and compassion. Amen.
Talk about the things we might do or say that—even if unintentionally—might communicate to a person with a disability that we want to avoid them or that we consider them untouchable.
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