“When Jesus came down from the mountainside,
large crowds followed him. ”
Matthew 8:1 (NIV)
“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.” Matthew 8:1-3 (NIV)
Many times I have gone to the hospital to visit someone desperately ill and I always hold their hand when it is time to pray with them. Holding hands is a sign of love, concern and closeness. I recall a dear man dying with AIDS who was startled when I held his hand when I prayed with him.
The man said to me, “Gordon everyone is afraid to touch me now that the world knows I have AIDS.” He thanked me profusely for doing that as I prayed with him. In situations of great need and fear, it soothes the person in pain to have a “therapeutic touch”—as some counsellors call it.
I recall another situation when I was introduced to a man dying of leprosy. He reached out his disease ravaged hand to shake mine but he did not have any fingers. God gave me grace think to use both my hands to shake his. Some people would be repulsed by such a scene and I confess I hesitated not knowing what to do.
In our verses for today we see Jesus taking the initiative and reaching out to touch the man’s diseased body that undoubtedly was repulsive to others but precious to Jesus. What is so remarkable about the Lord Jesus is that He is not offended by the sight of disease or deformity. Our blessed Saviour is not only willing but eager to touch sinners in order to show love, redemption and acceptance.
Never, ever think that your sins will cause the Saviour to recoil in disgust at the sight of you. Certainly He hates the sin that separates us from Him but He tenderly loves the sinner and reaches through the sin to connect with the sinner’s heart.
Today you may have great sins that have separated you from your Creator. Do not hesitate to come to Him just as you are. He delights to be in the company of sinners who wish to be rid of sin and cleansed from their iniquity.
Come, you sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you
Full of pity, love and power.
Let not conscience make you linger,
Nor of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requires
Is to feel your need of Him.
– Joseph Hart
Jesus is waiting, come and come today.