Mark 1:40-45 – The Compassionate Touch of Jesus

Go back to the past history of this [leper]. Ever since his disease declared itself no human being had touched him. If he had a wife he had been separated from her; if he had children their lips had never kissed his, nor their little hands found their way into his hard palm. Alone he had been walking with the plague-cloth over his face, and the cry ‘Unclean!’ on his lips, lest any man should come near him. Skulking in his isolation, how he must have hungered for the touch of a hand! Every Jew was forbidden to approach him but the priest, who, if he were cured, might pass his hand over the place and pronounce him clean. And here comes a Man who breaks down all the restrictions, stretches a frank hand out across the walls of separation, and touches him. What a reviving assurance of love not yet dead must have come to the man as Christ grasped his hand!
He lays His hand on corruption and is not tainted. The corruption with which He comes in contact becomes purity. What is it all but His sympathy leading to His identification of Himself with us in our weakness and misery? That sympathetic life-bringing touch is put forth once for all in His Incarnation and Death. He becomes one of those whom He would save and help.
Just as He touches the leper and in unpolluted, or the fever patient and receives no contagion, or the dead and draws no chill of mortality into His warm hand, so He becomes like His brethren in all things, yet without sin. Being found in ‘the likeness of sinful flesh,’ He knows no sin, but wears His manhood unpolluted and dwells among men ‘blameless and harmless, the Son of God, without rebuke.’ Like a sunbeam passing through foul water untarnished and unstained; or like some sweet spring rising in the midst of the salt sea, which yet retains its freshness and pours it over the surrounding bitterness, so Christ takes upon Himself our nature and lays hold of our stained hands with the hand that continues pure while it grasps us, and will make us purer if we grasp it.
Brethren, let your touch answer to His; and as He lays hold of us, in His incarnation and His death, let the hand of our faith clasp His outstretched hand, and though our hold be as faltering and feeble as that of the trembling, wasted fingers which one timid woman once laid on His garment’s hem, the blessing which we need will flow into our veins from the contact. There will be cleansing for our leprosy, sight for our blindness, life driving out death from its throne in our hearts, and we shall be able to recount our joyful experience in the old Psalmist’s triumphant strains—‘He sent me from above, He laid hold upon me, He drew me out of many waters.’

Alexander Maclaren

Read Mark 1:40-45 and consider the over-abundant compassion of Christ to touch a man whom no one dare touch. And consider even greater that he took on flesh to touch your sin and cleanse it forever. So what is your response?

His Mercy Is More by Matt Papa

Posted on: November 2, 2017 - 10:00PM

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