Feb 16 (Daily reading: Leviticus 11-13) Everything the Hebrews did, even their dietary laws, was to show that they were to be a unique people: “Then I will take you as My people, and I will be your God” (Ex. 6:7). Sometimes God gave laws to protect His people, such as the instructions concerning infectious diseases in chapter 13. For the person who had the infection of leprosy: “He is unclean. He shall live alone; he shall live outside the camp” (13:45-46). We understand today more than ever before what it means to treat a disease by isolation.
We fast forward to see something that Jesus did for a leper. “A man with leprosy came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, ‘Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.’ Jesus reached out with His hand and touched him, saying, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’ And immediately his leprosy was cleansed” (Mt. 8:2-3). When He touched the leprous man, Jesus did not observe the Levitical law for the treatment of leprosy. Was He teaching his disciples that His followers were exempt from such laws?
It is my opinion that He was demonstrating a principle for living a Christlike life. The touch of Jesus meant everything! A song that impacted my early ministry was “He touched me.” Luke wrote, “And all the people were trying to touch Him, because power was coming from Him and healing them all” (Lk. 6:19). The Gospels tell of other occasions when Jesus touched people: Peter’s mother-in-law (Mt. 8:15); the blind (Mt. 9:29; 20:34; Mk. 8:23); the disciples who were afraid (Mt. 17:7); the deaf (Mk. 7:33); the children (Mk. 10:13); even the dead (Lk. 7:14).
When the Holy Spirit fills us, we will care for those in need. We must allow Him to use us to touch people. These days, we avoid shaking hands or hugging, but we can be channels of Jesus’s life-changing touch even when there is no physical contact!