3And He reached out His hand and touched him, saying, I am willing; be cleansed by being cured. And instantly his leprosy was cured and cleansed. – Matthew 8:3 (AMP)
Leprosy throughout the Old and New Testament alike was a diagnosis that you did not want to find yourself associated with. God was very specific in His instructions to the Levitical Priests in what they were to look for in their prognosis. He was equally specific in how they were to handle each case, which usually ended up in separation and isolation from God’s community.
The seriousness of this was displayed in Aaron’s plea when he and Moses’ sister Miriam was struck, for gossiping.
12Let her not be as one dead, already half decomposed when he comes out of his mother's womb. – Numbers 12:12
She was cast outside of the camp for seven days. No communication with her family or the community. She was pronounced unclean.
The striking thing about today’s Scripture is not that once again Jesus healed, but how He healed. He reached out His hand and touched him.
It was such an act of intimacy. He touched this highly contagious, skin rotting diseased man who had been cast out of his community.
Again in John 9, Jesus heals a man blind from birth. Jesus could have simply spoken a Word and it would have been done. But look at the Scripture:
6When He had said this, He spat on the ground and made clay (mud) with His saliva, and He spread it [as ointment] on the man's eyes. – John 9:6
Most people would recoil here and I can only imagine what His disciples were thinking. Jesus didn’t just pick up mud off the ground here. He didn’t call for a shower from Heaven to create a mud puddle. He didn’t even pour water out to make this mud. He spat on the ground and made mud with His saliva, then proceeded to smear it on this man’s eyes. I would venture to say that Jesus got His hands dirty.
People in general don’t want to be dirty. We spend thousands of dollars on soaps, shampoos, deodorant’s, perfumes and laundry detergents. There are carpet fresheners, car freshener’s, fabric sprays, candles and room sprays to cover odors in your home so that they don’t smell “dirty”.
It is the same inside of the Church. Beautiful new buildings are erected, interior designers hired to bring an ambiance into the Church and even automatic scent diffusers are used in the restrooms of most of our facilities. So much money is spent in order to keep people comfortable, satisfied and appeased inside of our Churches today.
Cleaning people’s services are retained, so the congregants don’t have to get their hands dirty. Lawn Services are hired to keep the grounds clean. And most of the time, getting volunteers to tidy up after any type of fellowship that has taken place, is like pulling teeth because, “it’s just not their ministry”.
We are content to give money to the Missionary and his family that brave the archaic living conditions. We don’t mind supporting the Youth Group that decides to do a “mission for the homeless” one a year. We may even write a check to a shelter or drop a couple of cans of green beans in the food collection cart at the grocery store.
Most of the time, it is enough to satisfy the little tug at your heart and make you feel like you have done something.
We have often heard the sermon preached from the pulpit that “the Harvest is plenty but the laborers few”. Do you know the Scripture that follows that?
38So pray to the Lord of the harvest to force out and thrust laborers into His harvest. – Matthew 9:38 (AMP)
Jesus was telling His disciples to pray to the Lord “to force out and thrust laborers” into the harvest. It’s not too often that you hear that Scripture taught.
Our Churches have become a comfort zone. It is easy to walk in and feel the love and fellowship. It is easy to lift our hands and worship in a corporate setting where everyone is in agreement. It is refreshing to walk out with hope and a renewed sense that you are a part of a Body of Believer’s. But it is absolutely useless if it goes no further than the Church doors.
If your witness is nothing more than telling someone that you are a Christian and where you go to church, go ahead and retire your Jesus fish.
Jesus Christ got his hands dirty wherever He was. He worked at the wedding, John 2:1-11; He worked at the Temple, John 2:14-17. Jesus said in John 5:17 that His Father is always working, never ceasing. And Jesus was willing to reach out and touch this disease riddled man to heal him from leprosy.
Jesus was always willing to get His hands dirty.
God has placed you exactly where He needs you to be a laborer in the harvest. It may be where you work, where you socialize, in the grocery store, or even in your family. Pray for Him to force you out of your comfort zone if need be. It is time to care more what the Father thinks than what people think. I am sure that day Jesus spat in the mud, the disciples were probably thinking, “Oh no, He didn’t just do THAT”!
Jesus didn’t just touch the people that others thought were unclean; He made his own mud and He got His hands dirty. The question is; are you willing to do the same?