He stretched out his hand, and touched him, saying, “I want to. Be made clean.” Immediately the leprosy left him. – Luke 5:13
None of the Jews would have done this. They kept the leper far off, to touch him would defile them. But Jesus was not afraid of defilement. He could as easily have stood afar off and cured the leper by a word, for he sometimes cured miles away. But the man needed a touch from a warm hand to assure him of love and sympathy. The touch left no taint of pollution on the Master, but it left the leprous body clean as a child’s.
There are some who want to help others, if at all, at a convenient distance. They work through committees or agents. It is a great deal better to come close to those to whom we would do good. There is a wondrous power in a human touch. A gift to the poor may do good in whatever way it comes; but if you bestow it yourself, and manifest personal interest and sympathy, its value will be largely increased. You put something of yourself into your gift.
Or a man may be threatened with loss of property. He turns to Christ for help. If thou wilt, thou canst save me from this sore loss. Yes, he can, there is no doubt about that. But will he ?
The gospel may save the fallen, though coming through the cold air from a lofty pulpit; but it will be far more likely to save if the sinner feels the touch of a hand of love, and catches the message warm from quivering lips.
There is no danger of receiving defilement even from touching the worst outcasts, if you go to them with the love of God in your heart, yearning to do them good. Do not stand far off and toss the bread of life to them, as men throw gifts into leper hospitals. Do not slip your tract under the door and hurry away as if you were ashamed of what you had done. Go to the homes of the worst people. Give them your hand; it will not soil it to clasp theirs, and you never can know what a thrill of new life it may start in hearts long unused to tenderness, yet yearning for sympathy. Put heart and inspiration into all you do. You never can know what a thrill of inspiration and life you may give to weary and disheartened ones.