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Jesus Restores the Outcasts

Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.

Matthew 8:2

Watch Week Three Day Four

From the healing of lepers to the blind and the lame, numerous miracles fill the pages of the Gospels. Two well-known examples include Jesus’ restoration of a woman with a twelve-year discharge of blood (Mark 5) and a man with leprosy (Matthew 8).

At first glance, these two miracles seem different. One involves an audacious woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment. The other story tells of a man with leprosy who asked Jesus to touch him.

A closer look shows that sometimes people are more similar than we realize. Both faced injustice as outcasts. The woman’s discharge made her and anyone she touched unclean, and one with leprosy was to be “totally ostracized from society until he was declared cured.”

Touching the Hem of Jesus' Garment

For twelve years, this woman sought justice with every breath and spent all she had on doctors, but no cure was to be found. In desperation, she crept up to Jesus and tried one last thing—she sought healing by touching the hem of Jesus’ garments.

Healing came instantly—not because she touched the hem, but because she exhibited faith in Jesus’ power. But Jesus wasn’t going to let her slip away unnoticed.

“Who touched my garments?” asked Jesus (Mark 5:30).

Jesus surely knew the answer to His question, but He wanted the woman to come forth and testify. This woman, who had hidden in the shadows of injustice, was to experience more than just a miraculous healing. For perhaps the first time in twelve years, she was no longer the object of shame and ridicule but of praise and rejoicing.

As she fell trembling in front of Jesus, He replied: “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease” (Mark 5:34).

Jesus offered her both healing and dignity as a beloved daughter of God.

Jesus Touches a Leper

On another occasion, a leper knelt before Jesus: “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean” (Matthew 8:2).

In response, Jesus touched him and said: “I will; be clean” (v. 3).

Perhaps almost as astonishing as the healing itself was the fact that Jesus deigned to touch a leper. No one ever did that! People kept as far away from lepers as possible.

On several occasions, Jesus healed simply by speaking, but not this time. He brought dignity to the leper in the very method of healing—touch.

Then Jesus, harkening back to Old Testament instructions, told the healed man to go and present himself before the priest.

Both people—the woman with the discharge and the leper—experienced physical healing. But it ran deeper than that. Now, freed from the diseases that had excluded them from society, they could enter the temple and worship their Savior who had brought them justice and treated them with dignity.


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Daily Question

How can we offer dignity to those whom society views as outcasts?

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Comments (1)

We can offer dignity by simply making eye contact and not ignoring them. So often a smile and a simple response to their needs will make them feel human. When people are ignored it makes them feel small and less important.

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