Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Tuesday, January 19, 2016
This Week’s Devotional Focus is, “Love.”
“And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed.” (Mark 1:40–42).
What must it have been like? I mean, living in fear that someone would discover his secret? Day-after-day, he tried to keep his composure after hearing that someone in his situation died. He could not help but to imagine that his turn was coming. If it did would he have been ready? Would he have been able to say that though his physical health declined, that his spiritual health prospered? These kinds of thoughts must have entered the mind of the leper who would stop at nothing to be healed by Jesus.
He was ostracized from society. Only people in his same condition would associate with him. Even the religious leaders would steer clear of him, thinking that they would be contaminated and be subjected to the ridicule of ignorance related to his disease. It seemed that nobody who knew he was ill would dare be caught in public with him.
Yet there was a man who was not ashamed of closely associating with the outcast and downtrodden. Jesus was not afraid to embrace even the sickest among them. His touch of love had the power to compel all diseases to disappear without a trace. Mental anguish, physical pain, and spiritual debility were no match for Him. And the leper went “beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and said unto him, I will; be thou clean. And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed” (Mark 1:40-42).
Much can be said about the power of healing Jesus possessed, but today let’s focus on a few lessons Jesus was teaching through this example:
- Those whom society has stigmatized as “untouchable” are of supreme interest to God. Oftentimes we turn our backs on people whom we do not understand or fear being around them because we are trying to protect our reputations. Jesus came close to the broken.
- Much prayer is necessary to know how we can best help those in need. Mark 1:35 says that Jesus found a solitary place for prayer and then He went out to preach and heal. It is clear that Jesus’ power and influence were directly linked to His connection with heaven.
- No matter how diseased we are, whether physically or spiritually, we can always go to Jesus to receive the loving, healing touch. There are many who have struggled with different life situations, including life-threatening illnesses, addictions, and relationship problems; who need to know Jesus as the gentle loving Savior. He sees our cases and is ready to heal.
Whether we realize it or not, all of us need the touch of love. We can choose to face that reality or stand aloof and be neither changed nor become agents of change. You see, the leper Jesus healed, recognized his need, went to Jesus for help, and then the Bible says that he went out to help others (Mark 1:45). With healing comes responsibility. The healed must become ambassadors of healing. So, whenever the Lord envelops you with love, be receptive to opportunities to do the same. In this way, we can receive the touch of love.