I left the colony quietly in the pre-dawn hours. I pulled my robe down over my hands and face. I carefully hid the bell beneath the grey covering.
I walked quickly into the city and hid in the shadows near the outer court of the temple.
I knew the city would be busy on this Friday morning. Crowds would be visiting the market place in preparation for Sabbath.
I hoped I would get a glimpse of my wife Ruth and my son Samuel.
It has been months since the disease has eaten away my fingers and scarred my face.
Life in the colony is so lonely. Death and decay surround me as many lose the battle with this devastating disease.
I miss Ruth and Samuel but am grateful that they have been spared from the contagion.
The longing to see them and to be with them is overwhelming. I had to take the risk. It was worth the risk of punishment if only I could catch a glimpse.
The market is packed this morning. The crowds are excited. A new teacher emerges from the synagogue.
As he walks by the place where I am hiding, he catches my eye and smiles. I am caught off guard and 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 and cried out: “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man.
“I am willing. Be clean!”
Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.
Lepers were untouchable not just physically but relationally and emotionally.
Isolated! Ignored ! They were cut off from community. They were 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 could now spread the dreaded infection.
Why did Jesus do this? Why didn’t he just speak the word and heal the physical illness?
Why did he touch the man?
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 and value.
He needed the labels removed.
He needed the identity of shame removed.
The “Shame Identity”
Guilt says you did a bad thing.
Shame says you are a bad thing.
You are untouchable!
What grey cloak of shame are you carrying?
• did your spouse leave you for another?
• do you suffer from chronic fatigue and 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 ……?’
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 next few days spend some time with this story.
What is Jesus saying to you?
What is your response?