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The Touch That Turns Everything Upside Down – The Contagion Of Grace (via Rosaria Butterfield at ESV Bible Blog)

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When a leper seeks Jesus, the leper wants one thing – not a change in social status – not a change in health – what the leper wants is Jesus.
From Rosaria Butterfield.

And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, ‘I will; be clean’” (Luke 5:13).
That touch changed the man. But the touch did more than that. That touch changed the world.
When Jesus touched the leper, he did not invent grace. God the Father did, and we see this throughout the Old Testament, even in healing leprosy. The great Syrian general Naaman was healed of his leprosy by Elisha, thanks to the spiritual wisdom of a nameless Hebrew slave girl who knew above all else that there is a prophet in Israel who heals (2 Kings 5:1–14). Luke records how important Naaman’s healing was: “And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian” (Luke 4:27). I suspect Elisha healed Naaman for the sake of the nameless Hebrew slave, whose faith was strong and more contagious than the leprosy of her master. Indeed, she had faith that Elisha could do something that he had never done before. Because that is what real faith is: resting in assurance on a promise of God that has yet to be materialized.
It is vital to see what healing and salvation mean when they come from the hand of God.
It is vital to have the eyes to see what Jesus did. It is also vital to see what Jesus did not do.
He did not tell the leper that God loved and approved of him just as he was. Jesus did not say that the problem of leprosy was a social construction rooted only in the mind of the beholder, and now that “grace” had arrived, “the law” was no longer binding. Jesus did not encourage the leper to develop greater self-esteem. Nor did Jesus rebuke the faith community for upholding irrational taboos against leprosy—leprophobia. No. The problem was the contagion, and the contagion was no social construct. The contagion was dangerous. When Jesus walked the earth, he wasn’t afraid to touch hurting people. He drew people in close. He met them empty and left them full. Jesus turned everything upside down.

Read the whole post at the ESV Bible Blog.

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