1st June 2011

He Touches The Untouchable

“Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand…”
Mark 1:41 (NIV UK)

In shops that sell fragile items like crystal, porcelain, Wedgwood and Doulton ornaments, etc., you’ll find lots of signs telling you, “Don’t Touch!” In these shops you are not allowed to touch anything.

Every society has its own untouchables, based on race, status, language or education, and I’m sure many of us have felt like untouchables in certain situations—like outsiders and unworthy. I read a little saying that was printed on a calendar from Iowa, which said “Some people are kind, polite and sweet-spirited—until you try to sit in their pew.”

There’s a story about a person in the Gospel of Mark who had been infected with a horrible disease and nobody would go near him, let alone touch him. But then somebody did! In Mark 1:40 we read, “A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

The first sign of leprosy was a death sentence and the law was very clear; “Don’t touch!” Imagine the thought of never being touched again, never to feel the embrace of your spouse, the hug of a little child, the hand of a friend grasping yours, or the arm of your father draped around your shoulder. Lepers were not just sick; they were considered to be unclean and defiled. They had to be cleansed, not just healed. That’s why this individual said to Jesus; “If you choose, you can make me clean!” He has no doubt that Jesus can cleanse him; he just doubts that Jesus would even want to. He has a deep sense of unworthiness and is overcome with shame.

But let’s read verse 41 here; “Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man, ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.” (Verse 42)

Obviously something stronger than leprosy is at work here—the life and power that flowed through Jesus just cancelled out this horrible disease.

As we look at the example of Jesus during his earthly ministry, we find an individual who happily mixed with those whom the society of his day rejected as beyond the pale—those who were classed as outcasts and as such, untouchable!

Everyone that we rub shoulders with each day, on the bus, in the supermarket, in the park or coffee shop, carry an invisible sign which says; “Worth the death of My Son!” And as such are very valuable to our Father!

Lord, fill us each day with your amazing compassion, which is above all the petty thoughts we have concerning the worth of others. Give us the power to see and love them as you do.

Study by Cliff Neill 

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