Oct 10, 2006

Only A Touch Is Needed

I read this passage in Matthew 8:1-3 this morning:

"When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean." And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, "I will; be clean." And immediately his leprosy was cleansed."

Picture the scene with me. Jesus is coming down from a mountain and He has massive crowds following Him. Some of the people are crying out to him, asking for healing. Others are excitedly talking about Him overthrowing Rome. Some are just along for the ride. Then something happens that stops the crowd in their tracks. There, standing in front of Jesus, is a leper.

Leprosy was (and still is) a terrible disease. It destroyed people and ate away at their body. At that time there was no cure and a leper could be assured of a slow, agonizing death. A death by inches. There was no hope for a leper. A cure? Impossible.

The crowd probably began to back up, knowing that leprosy was contagious and fearing for their safety. They knew the fate of those who ended up with the dreaded disease. But Jesus didn't retreat from the leper. To the astonishment of the crowd, he allowed the disease ridden man to draw near.

The leper collapsed to his knees in front of Jesus and said simply, "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean." What a simple prayer! The leper must have been absolutely desperate. He knew that he had absolutely no hope to ever be healed apart from supernatural intervention. But he also knew that Jesus could heal people. And he knew that many times Jesus did heal people. So what did he do? He came to Jesus and offered a humble, yet faith filled prayer of desperation. He didn't come to Jesus with demands. He came humbly and in desperation, asking Jesus to do the impossible.

How did Christ respond? With a touch. He reached out his hand and touched the infected, festering, dying flesh of the leper. What a compassionate touch! How long had it been since someone touched that leper? What a powerful touch. Instantly, the leper was healed. The power of the World Maker went from the Savior into the leper and he was healed.

Let this encourage us to pray fervently for Ian! Jesus loves to respond to humble, desperate prayers. He loves to intervene in the midst of impossible situations! Let us come to Jesus like the leper. All Ian needs is a simple touch from Jesus. Let us ask for this healing with both humility and desperation and let us believe that Christ will respond to our prayers!

Stephen A

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