What do your hands say about you? Do your hands transmit pain or comfort? God’s hands communicate compassion and the desire to reach out to us.
Leprosy in first century Israel was a cruel disease with no apparent cure. But the disfigurement of a leper’s body was only part of the pain they experienced. Jewish religious rules identified lepers as “unclean” and caused the uncaring isolation of these sick and vulnerable people.
A leper came to Jesus one day asking to be healed: “If you are willing, you can make me clean” (Mark 1:40). Jesus didn’t wag a scolding finger, pointing out the leper’s religious mis-steps. Instead, Mark writes, “Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured (vs. 41, 42). Touching the leper brought miraculous healing, but it also showed Jesus’ willingness to love the unlovely.
How have you used your hands today? Have you used them to hurt or to heal? Have you used them to participate in selfish activity or to help others? How we use our hands reflects how we view the world and whether we are hearing the voice of the Shepherd.