Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainside. Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”

Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared.

Matthew 8: 1-3 (NLT)

What is going on in your life at this moment? Is it all good? Is everything working out just exactly the way you had it planned? Great.

But maybe something has gone wrong? Or something has you worried? Perhaps you’re finding it hard to trust God at the moment. Has the sunshine seemed to have gone out of your days?

Are you wondering if you can get through what is in front of you? Maybe you even sense a feeling of despair or depression beginning to sap your energy and deprive you of a sense of hope?

Maybe you’re feeling that way today? Or you have felt that way recently? Or past experience tells you that you just may feel that way in the future.

Or maybe you know someone else who is feeling that way today, and you don’t know how to help them break through the darkness and despair they’re feeling.

Hang in there, and take a look again at the message of the Gospel passage above, with the concluding verse:

“Jesus reached out and touched him. ‘I am willing,’ he said.

‘Be healed!’ And instantly the leprosy disappeared.”

You’ll recall the life of a leper in Jesus’ day. Not only did a leper suffer from a physically deforming and painful disease, but they also suffered from the emotional scars of a life of rejection by the people of that day.

The leper was usually relegated by society to the isolation of a colony. Should they ever leave that colony the law of the day required that they ring a bell warning others of their approach, so that others could be spared the sight and contact with this group of society’s outcasts. No one dared touch the leper. He was one of society’s untouchables of that day.

If there was anyone who had a reason to experience despair or have a bout of depression in those days, it would seem that a leper—clearly marked as one of society’s outcasts—would probably be at the top of the list.

Yet there he was on the side of the road where he thought Jesus would travel that day, looking for Jesus—the healer of healers. And he stood before Jesus and asked to be healed. And Jesus reached out his hand and touched him.

You understand that Jesus could have healed him from a distance. He could have said “Sure I’ll heal you, but don’t come too close—you really look terrible.” He could have zapped him with His healing power from afar. But He didn’t. Jesus is divine and He knew the pain of rejection that a life of isolation had caused this poor soul—a person who no doubt had never ever been touched by anyone, except another leper.

Knowing that pain, and feeling that pain, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying “I am willing; be healed.”

And in that gesture, in that moment, Jesus healed not only the external physical scars of leprosy, but also the internal emotional scars from years of rejection and hatred, simply because of a disease over which that man had no control.

Jesus was moved with compassion by what He saw on the outside of the Leper, but He was moved beyond what we could see on the outside—to all that was inside of him that was holding him back from becoming all he could be.

What are you going through today? Perhaps you feel a bit isolated by life, as that leper did over two thousand years ago. Maybe you, or someone you know, needs a touch today from the healer of healers.

Then here’s the Good News for you this very day:

That same Jesus who touched and healed the leper, is the same Jesus who stands ready to touch you, heal you, empower you, and walk with you through whatever you are going through today. The same Jesus who sees not only what is on the outside, but what needs to be healed on the inside. And who also sees all the potential within you—because He put it there—that needs to be released so that you, so that all of us, can move toward becoming all God created us to be.

It’s the same Jesus who is right now standing with you side-by-side and before whatever you’re facing—to face it with you.

That Jesus of over two thousand years ago, is the same Jesus who is holding you in His arms this very moment, to encourage, comfort, strengthen and lift you to a better place in your life.

He is right there with you now—holding you in His arms of hope—and carrying you into all the fullness of today and into the hope of tomorrow, and all the way on into all the assurance of eternity.

Do you sense His touch? For you? He’s there with you—this very moment.

In His Name—Scott