Read through the Bible in 2 years: Leviticus 11-14
Last Sunday morning, as I was sitting in our church women’s Sunday school class, I was overwhelmed by the deep sense of love and community that I felt from the women gathered there. Earlier that week I had been told that I had a stress fracture in my right foot, and I’d have to use a boot for several weeks until it healed. The women gathered there were all asking about me and listening intently to what I had to say. I found genuinely seen and heard and cared for.
It’s hard to explain, but it’s something I had never experienced before being a part of the body of Christ. These women loved me for just exactly who I was – not some fake, cleaned-up version of myself … but me.
Reading about the Levitical laws for those afflicted with leprosy broke my heart. Listen to these verses and imagine how that must have felt,
“The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean.’ He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp.”Leviticus 13:45-46 ESV
And now imagine this scene between a leprous man and Jesus.
When [Jesus] 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.Matthew 8:1-3 ESV
He touched him. He could’ve just said the word. He could’ve told him to go wash himself far away in the river … or go roll around in the dust outside the camp … But, no, Jesus touched him. Intentionally.
Jesus didn’t have to worry about becoming unclean. The leprous man’s disease couldn’t contaminate Him – and neither can yours.
Jesus came close to me. He touched me and cleansed me and made me whole. Has He done that for you? He can.
Heavenly Father, Thank You for Your loving touch and care for me. Thank You for bringing me in from outside the camp, for welcoming me in while I was a stranger, lonely and alone. Thank You for making me a member of Your body, filling me with purpose and meaning and hope for a brighter tomorrow. I pray for the many people in our world who are still living their lives outside the camp. Alone. Please send Christians into their lives to welcome them in and to share the hope of the gospel with them. In the name of Jesus – the Ultimate Welcomer – I pray. Amen.