A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, “If you choose, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.
Earlier this year I was busy and stressed out trying to do everything, probably like all of you feel right now. I was getting ready for another meeting and felt rushed. I welcomed the individual into my office and invited them to sit down. I jumped right into business, but they paused and asked if we could start in prayer. Quick side note, I always feel embarrassed when I am not the one to suggest opening and closing in prayer, which added to me feeling like I was not doing enough and had to do more and do better.
Then something happened… That person reached out and took both my hands in theirs and sat there for a brief moment in quiet reflection, then they launched into prayer. I don’t think they had any idea that I had almost burst into tears the moment they held my hands. The act of taking my hands in theirs was so gentle and honest that it caught me off guard. I had been pushing and fighting to prove my worth, but in that moment I was blindsided by the truth that I was loved for who I was, not what I do. With that gentle touch I was flooded with the feeling of love and peace that only comes from the father. All because somebody gently held my hands in prayer.
There is so much power in a touch for both good and evil. However, when it is done in the way that Jesus modeled for us it has the power to heal both body and soul. In Mark 1:40-42 Christ encounters a leper who asks to be healed. In those days lepers had to call out, “unclean” whenever they were around people because they could not be touched. Thus, the leper had probably not been touched in a long time. Jesus could have just used his words to heal the man as we see in other passages, but He touched the man. Not only was the man healed but I bet that was the first time he had been touched in a long time. I like to imagine that Jesus knew how much that touch would mean to that leper.
I think we are more like the leper then we realize, we feel unclean, insufficient, or untouched. That is why, when we experience the love of Jesus Christ through a gentle touch of a disciple it can be so significant. It can remind us how deep the father loves us and that we are His children. My prayer for all of you is that you experience the love of Jesus Christ in a gentle touch that reminds you how cherished you are.