One of the most powerful things Jesus did after He started His earthly ministry was to touch a man with leprosy. In the culture of His day, lepers were outcasts, and everywhere they went, they were required to announce their presence by shouting “unclean” so that others were warned and could scatter. Furthermore, in many regions, those diagnosed as leprous were required to leave their homes and families to be isolated from everyone they knew, lest they spread the illness to them. Banished to a life of separation and obscurity, the disease became their identity, and they spent day and night living in awareness of it. Even worse, because their sickness was thought to befall them as a result of sin, it was treated as a spiritual deficiency and invoked judgment from the religious community as well. For all these reasons, we can imagine the shock and terror on each of the disciple’s faces when their Master not only moved toward a leper, but boldly reached out and touched him. Rejecting any fear of becoming unclean Himself, our Savior willingly embraced a person who probably hadn’t had any human contact for years. Though He could have shied away, there was no condemnation on Jesus’ part, but simply compassion. His mercy triumphed over judgement, and complete physical and spiritual healing was the result.
My friend, pray to have a heart like Jesus, and choose to see the essence of a person before heeding their disease, disability, or struggle. Though it’s considered radical in the eyes of society, ascribe value and dignity to those who seem the least worthy, and invoke supernatural power through the display of divine love. Chains break and souls are set free when they know that their identity is not in sickness, addiction, or behavior, but solely in the priceless blood of the Lamb — the One who takes away the sins of the world. He is the longing of every heart, and He provides an imperishable hope to those who have waited their whole lives for a place to belong.