Jesus Stretched out His Hand and Touched Him

Touch is everything.

Luke 5:12-14 (ESV)

While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “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 the leprosy left him. And he charged him to tell no one, but “go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”

Jesus doesn’t need to touch people to heal them – and he usually doesn’t – but he touches this guy. Why?

No one touches a leper. Touching a leper instantly makes you unclean, plus you could catch leprosy. Lepers were forced to live in leper colonies to keep them away from “normal” people. While this kind of quarantine may have been good (even necessary) public health policy, it was emotionally brutal.

Leprosy made you a pariah.

But Jesus made a point of touching this man. Notice that since he had fallen on his face, it wasn’t an easy reach. Jesus didn’t just touch him; He stretched out his hand and touched him.

Jesus was in one of the cities when He did this, and there were many eyewitnesses. They must have cringed when Jesus touched him. It was a powerful teaching moment.

Jesus was showing them how to love. He was treating the man like a normal person. The poor guy probably hadn’t been touched by anyone in a long time.

Touch makes charity sing. It doesn’t even have to be physical; just making emotional contact and listening to them works wonders.

People can sense when they’re respected.

Everyone is created in the image of God. We teach that by how we treat people. Some of the folks we help are not easy to love but we are called to love them just the same.

When done right, this kind of ministry is not for the fainthearted. Thus, it imitates Christ especially beautifully. God is glorified by real person-to-person charity.

Ask Him to show you how your charity can be taken up a notch. If there’s an existing charity program you feel called to help with, that’s a great step. But think and pray about what your community's needs are and whether they’re being met.

You may be called to start a new program, or you may just feel called to do something on your own. Or you may just feel a tug that someone or some group needs help, but you don’t know how to help them.

That would send you down a different path – training. This is where the body of Christ functions most beautifully. The best programs have the best training. Find out who does good work in the area you’re interested in and connect with them.

Getting trained is the surest way to grow in Christ.

The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.