He Touched Me

Dr. Ray Pritchard
Dr. Ray Pritchard

“Reaching out his hand, Jesus touched him, saying, ‘I am willing; be made clean.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed” (Matthew 8:3).

Jesus doesn’t treat us all the same way.

This is evident from a study of the miracles of Christ. He has the power to heal instantly or in stages. He heals one with a touch, another with a word, another with a glance, and yet another at a great distance. He touches one and never sees the other, and yet both are healed.

In this case, he touched a leper.

That would have shocked his audience because leprosy was considered incurable. No one understood its origin, and no one knew how to treat it. So much did the ancients fear it that anyone suspected of having the disease was banished from society. In the rabbinic writings we find remedies for various diseases. But nothing is listed for leprosy. The rabbis said that curing it was like raising the dead.

The leper’s faith, though filled with doubt, seems remarkable. Somehow this poor outcast, rejected by his neighbors, knows that Christ can do for him what no doctor can do. No doubt he has heard of other miracles Christ has performed. He thinks to himself, “If only I can get myself to Christ, he can heal me.”

Jesus rewards his hesitant faith with something unexpected. He touched the leper. Technically this rendered him unclean in light of Leviticus 5:3. But in this case the holiness of Christ overcame the letter of the law. Christ touched him to identify with him and to show the crowd that he was not afraid to touch a leper. That touch, brief as it was, proved Christ was the true “end of the law” for those who believe because with our Lord there are no hopeless cases.

In this story we see the compassion of Christ reaching out to heal a man filled with hesitant faith. Let no one say, “Jesus would never have anything to do with someone like me.” You may be the worst sort of “moral leper,” but Jesus will reach out to you if you call out to him.

He came for sinners.
Are you a sinner?
If so, then he came for you.

Lord, we need to feel your healing touch today. Come and heal us from the inside out because no one can help us but you. Amen.

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Originally published March 14, 2018.

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