Matthew 8:2–3: “And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.’ Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’ Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”

October 5th, 2018 by Pastor Ed in devotional

This man, a leper, was recognizing Jesus as the Messiah when he said, “Lord, if you are willing.” He did not doubt the authority or the power of Jesus, but he was uncertain of His compassion. Jesus answered that question by putting out His hand and touching the diseased man’s skin. To touch a leprous person was 1 of 62 ways a Jew could ceremonially defile himself, so we find here one of the most beautiful pictures of the compassionate touch of the Master. Jesus’ touch was no doubt totally unexpected. After all, no one would have touched the man since he was first found to have the disease. People would have run from him, and perhaps even thrown stones to keep him away. There must have been gasps from the watching crowd as Jesus reached out His hand to touch the scaly, inflamed skin of the man. They must have thought, “Why would Jesus risk contracting such a disease from this poor leper?” But that thought would have only lasted a few seconds as “immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”

To this day, at the touch of Jesus, all impurity flees; and He is still anxious to compassionately touch sinful flesh and make people whole. The healing God most desires to bring to us is eternal. He is more concerned with us being with Him for eternity than being physical healed now, which will only last until our inevitable physical death. If we confess our sins and ask for Jesus to reach out, cleanse us, and give us new hearts, He will do so, and it will last for eternity.

When Robert Louis Stevenson first saw the terrible devastations of leprosy, he struggled and wondered how God could allow the awful tragedy of leprosy. But after watching the Christian compassion and care being given in the leper hospital on Molokai, Hawaii, in 1889, he wrote the poem “To Mother Maryanne”:

To see the infinite pity of this place,
The mangled limb, the devastated face,
The innocent sufferer smiling at the rod—
A fool was tempted to deny his God.
He sees, he shrinks. But if he gaze again,
Lo, beauty springing from the breast of pain;
He marks the sisters on the mournful shores;
And even a fool is silent and adores.”

“LORD, help us to be Your hands and feet this day, in Jesus’ name.”