“A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. …” Matthew 8:2-3a
In his book, “The Lord is my Shepherd”, Robert J. Morgan writes about sheep that become “cast down.” They lay down in a depression in the ground, then soon become stuck, try to get themselves out of their trouble by fighting and digging and soon find them upside down with their legs in the air. It is a dangerous position for the sheep. It can mean death for them unless the shepherd finds them soon and turns them right side up.
“The Bible sometimes speaks of people as being “cast down.” We tumble into the trenches of life, and we need the Shepherd’s power—His strong hands and muscles and shoulders—to reach around us, reposition us, lift us, restore, and rehabilitate us. In Psalm 42:5, the psalmist asked, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.”
Jesus had large crowds following Him, but He took the time to touch a man with leprosy. A man who was probably cast down, depressed, and, as a last resort, going to Jesus for help. Touch is special. It is something that each one of us need. A gentle hand. Soothing contact. Caring love. But this man probably hadn’t been touched in a very long time. No one touched a leper. In fact, they were required to stay away from people and warn people that they were lepers. But Jesus associated with the humble. He loved the unlovable and, yes, touched those who were untouchable.
The verse above goes on to say, ““I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy.” (Matthew 8:3b)
Augustine, when dealing with his own fears and sins wrote in Confessions,
“Cast yourself upon Him; fear not; He will not withdraw Himself that you should fall. Cast yourself fearlessly upon Him. He will receive and will heal you.”
Are you in a place where you are in a depression or a rut and need the touch of Jesus? There is no need to fear. Cast yourself upon Jesus. He is willing to touch you today. He is willing to cleanse you no matter how sinful or downcast you might be. The leper went to Jesus for a touch. He could not cleanse himself. Like the sheep, cast down, like David, disquieted, you will receive a touch from Jesus if you are willing to simply come, kneel before Him and ask.
Have a blessed New Year. May the Lord Jesus richly bless you with His presence and with His joy as he touches and cleanses you.