So yesterday in our staff meeting we based our staff devos off of the small group questions for the week. We were looking Matthew 8, the healing of the Leper. One of the questions was what did the leper receive from Jesus’ touch?
This story is so powerful on many levels. But the fact that Jesus was willing to touch this man is amazing. The society around him would have run away, but Jesus came toward. Amazing. When I was thinking about what this man received later on I was struck by the fact that Jesus changed his definition.
I think too often we are defined, or we even define ourselves, by something that we are not proud of, something that brings shame, hurt, disgrace. And we allow it because we all long to have a sense of definition. We all want to be known for something. That’s why we have a celebrity fixation, and the party-girls, and the bad-boys don’t really do anything to combat that definition, because they want to be known.
So here Jesus comes to this man who is defined as a Leper, and with that definition there are all kinds of sub-definitions, unclean, gross, contagious, ugly, don’t touch, throw rocks at, outcast. And in this story Jesus changes his definition entirely. This man is beautiful, loved, accepted, human, clean, touchable.
And I think really that’s what the gospel is all about. Changing definitions. Jesus came and he has provided a way for sinners to become sons.
What definitions are you holding onto? What definitions are you allowing to be put on you? Jesus wants to change your definitions and with his touch heal even the most broken pieces of your identity.
This is really the first instance in the Gospel of Matthew where Jesus came and changed everyone’s definition of Messiah, and really their definition of humanity. And from here on out he is changing and reshaping our definitions.