"Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man." Mark 1:41
As I was reading in my Bible over the weekend, I came to a passage of scripture. It's not a new scripture to me, I had read it several times before. However, this time the Lord gave me new insight into this particular passage. Don't you just love how He does that? The Bible is always fresh, always breathing a timely word into our hearts.
The passage is from Mark 1:41-45.
40 Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.”
41 Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” 42 As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed. 43 And He strictly warned him and sent him away at once, 44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing those things which Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
45 However, he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the matter, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in deserted places; and they came to Him from every direction.
This leper that approached Jesus was the scum of the earth to the people around him. He was dirty, diseased, and contagious. This leper had nothing to lose and everything to gain from approaching Jesus. Can't you just picture him crumpling at the feet of Jesus? Head bowed, begging for Jesus to "make him clean.
I can hardly type the words through tears. Haven't we all felt like this leper? Dirty, broken, sinful, hopeless, unworthy.....
Yet, by this leper's faith he fell to his knees in humility and asked Jesus, "are you willing?"
This man knew that Jesus could. He just didn't know if Jesus was willing.
Gosh, go and catch your breath on that.
The faith of this leper. The humility of this leper. The desperation of this leper.
Now listen to this next part....
41 Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.”
Jesus was moved with compassion. In fact, my NIV Bible right here in front of me says that Jesus was "filled with compassion".
What does this tell us?
Jesus could have just spoken the words, "you are healed", and went on his merry way.
However, Jesus, the Son of God, was filled with compassion for this man. He felt every ounce of pain and suffering that this leper was experiencing.
Now, what happens after Jesus is filled with compassion?
Jesus then touches this leper.
Catch your breath again.
This leper had probably not been touched in months, possibly years. Yet, the Perfect, Immaculate Son of God, takes His hand and touches this unclean man.
Then, as the scripture reads, the leper is healed.
As I recounted this passage to my children in the car this morning, I challenged us to act on our compassion. Just like Jesus did.
It's not enough to just have compassion, and walk away. We MUST let our compassion move us to to action.
What do we say when someone around us is hurting, hopeless, sick, lost? Do we silently pray for them and walk away? Or do we go, touch them, and let our compassion move us as it did Jesus.
I desperately want to do the latter.
What good is our compassion if it doesn't move us to act?
Who in your life needs a touch today? A word of encouragement, a helping hand, a listening ear?
Or maybe it's someone living on the street. Maybe our compassion will move us to give them food, buy them a blanket, give them some money. Maybe even give them a touch, or even a hug. As much as those around us need to hear about Jesus, let's first show them Jesus.
Today, let's ask our Heavenly Father that from this day forward:
Lord, let our compassion move us to action!
following His lead,