“Getting your Hands Dirty”
40A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”
41Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” 42Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured. Mark 1:40 – 42 NIV
Leprosy was an incurable, disabling skin disease which terrified people. In keeping with Jewish Law, lepers were considered unclean and were unable to participate in any religious or social activity. They were the ultimate outcasts of Jewish society. They were banned to live in leper colonies outside the main areas of the cities and were not allowed to mingle with the healthy population.
However, when Jesus saw this diseased, leprous man, he had compassion on him. Despite his visual appearance and all the dictates of Jewish law, Jesus reached out and TOUCHED this man with his hand of healing. This reaction went against every belief of all those people who were watching. Jesus looked beyond the disease and saw inside the man. In doing so, Jesus demonstrated a valuable example to his followers. The real value of a person is on the inside. Outward appearances of a person’s body may be deformed or diseased, but the person inside is no less valuable to God. No person is too disgusting or disfigured or diseased for God’s touch.
In a sense we have all been diseased and deformed by the ugliness and disfigurement of sin, and we could, therefore, be considered leprous in the eyes of God. Instead of looking away from us in disgust, God had compassion on all sinners when He sent His son, Jesus, who touched us with love and forgiveness and gave us the opportunity to be healed.
When is the last time you got your “hands dirty” in the name of Jesus? When your feel repulsed by someone, take a moment and think about how God feels about that person…and how he feels about you. Stop and ask yourself, “What would Jesus do in that same situation?”