40And 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. 41And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. 42And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed. -Mark 1:40-42 (KJV)
Jesus demonstrated He was none too rigid regarding the traditions of His day. In fact, He did the unthinkable; He touched a leper. Even the disciples were probably shocked that the Lord would actually make physical contact with a diseased person, and not just any diseased person, but a leper. Didn’t Jesus realize He was risking contraction of an incurable disease as well as making Himself ceremonially unclean? Jesus knew exactly what He was doing and He was always consistent in choosing human need over tradition and the letter of the law. When it came to keeping to tradition or helping others, human need won out every time.
How willing are we to break the traditions of our day in favor of meeting human need? Would you touch a leper? Would I? What about those who unlike the leper Jesus healed are carrying wounds and painful sores no one can see? The wounds could have come as the result of shattered dreams, poor decisions, circumstances which couldn’t be controlled, or the overwhelming stress of simply trying to cope with day-to-day life. When we see suffering people reaching out to God, to us, or to anything which resembles stability, will we follow Jesus’ example and reach back, or will we shun them and turn away?
Not once did Jesus ever take such an attitude toward people in need. He was willing to get involved, He made the time, and He didn’t bother with issues of blame and responsibility. He simply responded in love to those seeking the blessed healing touch. Several years ago during a conversation with a lady in the community, the subject turned to church attendance. “We would love to have you and your family come and worship with us this Sunday,” I said. “You would all be most welcome.” “We’d like to,” she replied, “but none of us have any nice clothes to wear.” “That’s not a problem,” I said, “just wear whatever you have and come on. We aren’t worried about what you wear; we just want you to experience the love of Christ.”
Following Jesus’ example of placing human need over our traditions dictates we look beyond the clothing and see the needs that are all around us. God forbid we deny them access to the healing touch of the Lord Jesus because they had nothing to wear. Regardless of what we are wearing, we all will have scars of varying degrees inflicted upon us by the struggles and pain of life.
Look to the Lord, for He is able to bring the healing touch of grace to our lives. Reach out to those in need and show them there is hope in Christ.