Yesterday, we looked at the story of four lepers who gathered treasure left by their enemies and turned it over to their king on behalf of their city, which was in distress. Though they had been outcast and marginalized for years and were tempted to “take what was theirs,” they did the right thing by God and their fellow man by sharing it. While it’s difficult for us to comprehend how rough their lives had been to that point, the current pandemic offers us a more realistic glimpse into their pain. For the first time, many of us understand the isolation of quarantine and the stigma that comes from being the carrier of an illness. Thankfully, with a virus like COVID-19, the period of total separation from others only lasts as long as the course of contagion. However, those afflicted with leprosy were destined to endure a lifetime of being ostracized Not only were they not allowed to enter a place populated by people who were “clean,” they had to cry out “I’m a leper, I’m a leper” everywhere they went. They were cut off from their families, unable to interact with the public, and forbidden to work lest they infect someone else. For this reason, they typically ended up outside the gates of cities begging for food and money. While such injustice seems cruel, the rigors of Jewish law demanded it, and it’s one of the wrongs that Jesus came to make right. Rather than running away from those who were deemed worthless and beyond help, He went right to them. He touched them, talked to them, and restored their hope by affirming their God-given dignity.
My friend, you are never beyond the reach of your Savior’s overflowing love. When the rest of the world rejects you, He welcomes you with open arms, looks beyond the labels you’ve been ascribed, and beholds the priceless treasure that’s in your heart. He is not put off by your sickness, sins, or failures, and He understands that every redeemed struggle is an irreplaceable part of your story. As you receive His healing grace in your soul, you can embrace freedom and extend the same gift to others. By touching those who seem the most untouchable, you model the overcoming power of Christ, and you change the world by letting everyone you meet know that they matter.