When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed Him. 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
Leprosy was scary in those days because there was no known cure, and some forms were very contagious. A priest would declare an individual unclean if they had leprosy, banishing them from their home and community. People were afraid of contracting it from those who had it, so those with leprosy were never even touched. Can you imagine what that must have been like? We are a species that needs community, connection. And to be treated in such a way!
But I think my favorite part of these verses is when it states that Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man with leprosy. I sit back and think. Jesus is the son of God. All He must do is say the words and it will be so. It was so when He healed the government official’s son in John 4. Yet He did not just say to the man with leprosy, “Be clean!” He also touched Him. Jesus was not afraid to touch the “unclean” man with the terrifying contagious disease. The man needed that touch. Don’t you?
Haven’t there been times when you felt you were so unclean, so dirty, and just wrong? Have you ever felt like the man with leprosy? Desperate for things to change, to be different. I have. Maybe for you, it was a time before you came to God? Maybe you do not know God now? What if you are struggling with a personal addictive sin no one else knows about? Are you afraid that others would reject you, or that God would not accept you? What if you thought you were just out of reach to be “cured,” or more accurately, too far gone for God’s love and mercy? The truth is these are lies.
I have learned, and I know many of you have too, that one is never too far gone. I used to be afraid that my sins were too great for God to forgive. That there was just too much wrong with me for Him to love. But I wanted to be forgiven, to become clean, to be and feel God’s love. And guess what? He was willing. He is always willing. There is never a time when He is not willing. He wants to reach out His hand and touch us.
He wants to heal you. To touch you. He is reaching out His hand, saying “I am willing, be clean!” I do not know what you may be going through. What sin you are dealing with. Or if you are wondering if God would accept or forgive you. But I know that there is God’s part and your part. All you have to do, as the man with leprosy did, is call out to Jesus. He will heal you of your “leprosy” with His loving touch. You are not too far gone.