My granddaughter is sick this morning. She is all stuffed up and her nose is running. I held her while her mommy got ready to take her to the doctor. She wallowed and turned and squirmed. She spat out her medicine all over me. She wiped her snotty nose on my blouse. And I didn’t mind one bit.
It reminded me of the account in Matthew of a man with leprosy who came to Jesus for healing. He knelt before Him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean” (8:2). Matthew says that “Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ He said. ‘Be clean.’ (8:3). Don’t run past that. Jesus reached out His hand – and touched – the- man – with – leprosy. Leprosy was a very contagious disease that ate away at the flesh. A leper was ostracized from the rest of the community as their nose, fingers, toes, and ears fell off their body. It was a nasty, gross disease. If they wandered into public places they must shout out “Unclean! Unclean!” to warn others to keep their distance. (That sounds familiar in 2020). When Jesus said, “I am willing,” and reached out his hand, He was saying, “I am willing to touch your disease and filth.”
Matthew noted what the prophet Isaiah said about the suffering Messiah: “He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases” (Matthew 8:17/Isaiah 53:4). Coupled with the story of the leper and you can hear Jesus saying, “I am willing to take your disease and your filth upon myself.” He reached out His hand and touched all of humanity’s filth and took it all to the cross. Without flinching.
I’m going to change my shirt before I head to work, but I don’t mind. She needed Nana’s comfort – and it got messy. By the way, have you noticed the name “Messiah?” The “ah” is transcribed as “Lord.” Beloved, won’t you let Jesus be Lord over your mess?