READ : Matthew 8:1-4, 14-17
Shortly after Jesus had called His disciples, we read that “there came a man full of leprosy.” In ancient times various skin disorders were so labeled: clearly the man was a mess, and socially outcast. Jesus touched him, and “Immediately the leprosy left him.” His touch was a symbol of care, love, healing, and unconditional acceptance.
Note the many other times Jesus touched those He loved: the paralyzed, the blind, the lame, and little children when He blessed them. Jesus touched Peter’s wife’s mother and the fever left her. His touch conveyed identification with the suffering.
We touch others in baptism; some of us anoint with oil. We extend a helping hand to those who might stumble: we show we care.
Marvin was voted the most popular professor at a university on several occasions. When he discovered he had bone cancer we had a number of talks about death, faith in Christ, and God’s love for him. Eventually he became bedridden. I called daily, and taking his hand, would pray for grace that he might endure the pain. He asked me to conduct his funeral.
At the service I affirmed that the Lord had touched Marvin and given him everlasting peace. Marvin had found “Shalom.” The Hebrew word means peace and wholeness. It awaits every believer.
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, uphold us and fill us with Your grace, that we may know the healing power of Your love. Amen.