June 29, 2018
“A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. ‘If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,’ he said. Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be healed!’ Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed.” Mark 1:40-42 (NLT)
For just a few moments, Jesus had escaped the pressure of people who realized what He had to give.
Rising very early, while it was dark, He broke away to get alone and pray. But when people want you, no boundary is sacred. A disciple went looking for Him, found His private place, declaring, “Everyone is looking for you!” (Mark 1:37b, NLT)
Jesus was garnering notoriety, going about His community spreading the Good News of His Father and performing miracles of healing. As He made His way, Jesus is approached. A person identified by the scales peeling off his skin, he “… knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. ‘If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,’ he said.” (Mark 1:40b, NLT) Full of confidence in Jesus, he believed Jesus could heal him.
This request was, well … a bit complicated.
Jesus’ recognition among the people was just beginning to grow. What if He reached out and actually touched this one? This person that culture at the time believed not only had a contagious disease, but also a malady indicating a deep sin? Should Jesus choose to acknowledge him, His followers could go down. It could be the death stroke to His popularity.
“Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be healed!’” (Mark 1:41, NLT) He touched him! Jesus intentionally, compassionately, touched the hurting one … who was “instantly” healed by that touch. (Mark 1:42)
Who knows how long it had been since this man had experienced anyone’s touch. When was the last time he’d been noticed, cared about? People affected by leprosy were banished from family, friends … their community. Sadly, they were forced to make their homes in distant places, outside the reach of others.
Jesus’ touch said to this hurting one, You matter. You are important. You are included. Jesus courageously reached out with kindness, giving no thought to what others would think of His move. This person was more important than His popularity.
Hurting, invisible people. Today, there is no shortage of them in our world or in our children’s world. Some hide behind their hurt, living each day just to get by, hoping no one will pick on them. Although being invisible feels safer than being seen, it’s lonely to play alone on the playground or sit on the edge of the lunch table — or even the back row at church.
Others retaliate and fight back in their pain. See me, they scream with their actions.
What would happen if we did? If we saw the hurting, invisible, rejected and lonely ones who just want to matter to someone? What if collectively we cared more about people than popularity? And taught our children to do the same? If they became brave and simply said, “You can sit with me.”
I think the same thing would happen that took place between Jesus and the man whose skin was different than His. A miracle.
Love would transpire, and we would see love heal the hurting.
Lord, You see every hurting, aching heart. Open our eyes to see — to reach out and touch, too. Through our actions and our words, help us teach our children to do the same. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Matthew 20:30-34, “Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!’ The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!’ Jesus stopped and called them. ’What do you want me to do for you?’ he asked. ‘Lord,’ they answered, ‘we want our sight.’ Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.” (NIV)
Lynn Cowell’s book for girls ages 8-12, Brave Beauty: Finding the Fearless You, helps young girls build the courage they need to say, “You can sit with me!” Click here to order.
Join us in the month of July for a summer study, Finding the Fearless You, for young girls and those who want to help them become brave. Study begins July 9 … stop by Lynn’s blog to sign up, and enter to win a copy of Brave Beauty!
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
When you see someone different from you, what are your initial feelings? Fear? Judgment? A desire to get to know them?
What’s one thing you can do today to reach out to someone who is hurting, invisible, lonely or feels rejected? Share your ideas in our comments section!
© 2018 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.
Originally published Friday, 29 June 2018.