A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. "If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean," he said.
Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. "I am willing," he said. "Be healed!" Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed.
— Mark 1:40-42 NLT
Jesus was "moved with compassion."
Not only did he feel compassionately toward the man with leprosy, but he also was moved to act on his compassion. In his heart, in his "gut," Jesus felt the anguish of this man afflicted with leprosy. So before he spoke healing into the man's life, he did the unthinkable: He touched the leprous man. By Jewish law, Jesus made himself unclean by touching the man. Yet Jesus wanted to show the compassion he felt in a way this man would understand. Jesus spoke the words of healing only after he connected to the man's deepest emotional need and bridged the barrier that enforced this man's isolation. Mark has three messages for us in this story. He wants us to know that
- Jesus came and bridged the distance between us and God,
- Jesus will let nothing separate us from his love, and
- since Jesus is our role model, we should do the same with others.
Dear Father in heaven, thank you for your mercy and grace. Thank you for bridging the distance between your holiness and my weakness by sending Jesus. Use me to help others find their way to Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.