Social distancing is not new. When Jesus was walking the face of the earth, teaching, ministering, and performing astonishing miracles like changing water into wine and making the lame walk, there was a man who had leprosy. Leprosy was believed to be an airborne disease that could easily be contracted and it ate away at one's flesh. Lepers lived alone, isolated in colonies, and waited for death to take them.
As Jesus and His disciples were making their way to the next town, a leper began to approach them. According to Mosaic Law, lepers had to wear torn and ragged clothing and not cut their hair so that others who saw them would know, from a distance, that they were "unclean." The one with leprosy also had to declare him/herself as unclean to passersby.
As the leper began to approach Jesus, I can just see every disciple covering their nose and mouth with their tunic and telling the leper to stay back a distance of four cubits, as was the law. After doing some research, I was amazed to find that four cubits is exactly six feet. Anything sound familiar?
The leper tells Jesus that his relative, who was a server at the wedding in which Jesus turned water in to wine, shared, with awe, the miracle that Jesus performed. Read the scripture that details how Jesus reacted as this sore covered man in tattered and filthy clothes approached Him.
On one occasion, a leper came and threw himself down in front of Jesus, pleading for his healing, saying, "You have the power to heal me right now if you only you really want to!" Being deeply moved with tender compassion, Jesus reached out and touched the skin of the leper and told him, "Of course I want you to be healed - so now, be cleansed!"
Instantly his leprous sores completely disappeared and his skin became smooth! Jesus sent him away with a very stern warning, saying, "Don't say anything to anyone about what just happened, but go find a priest and show him that you've been healed. Then bring the offering that Moses commanded for your cleansing as a living testimony to everyone.
But no sooner did the man leave than he began to proclaim his healing publicly and spread the story everywhere of his healing. Jesus' growing fame prevented him from entering the villages openly, which forced him to remain in isolated places. Even so, a steady stream of people flocked to him from everywhere. (Marek 1:40-45 PTP)
Perhaps COVID-19 is our modern day leprosy. What do you think you would do if Jesus drew near to you as you struggled to take every gasping breath that coronavirus inflicted upon you? What if He walked toward you, not wearing a mask as others backed away, and gently touched your sick and tortured body?
Even though Jesus firmly asked the healed man to show himself only to the priest to be declared clean, wouldn't you be like the healed leper? Wouldn't you want to go running, skipping, and dancing into the city to tell of the man who does miracles and saved you from a death sentence?
Jesus HAS saved you from a death sentence. When you repent, ask for forgiveness, and accept Jesus as the atoning sacrifice for your sins, you've been saved from a fate worse than COVID-19...a fate worse than leprosy.
Don't you think this miracle is worth not just telling, but shouting to the world?! If you have been healed, don't you want others to be healed as well? We need to be the healed ones declaring Jesus' mercy so that people will go flocking toward Him.
I challenge you to make a point this week to talk to one person who doesn't know Jesus and tell them what He has done in your life. People cannot argue with your personal testimony. Tell of His saving miracles and blessings in your life. If you are a writer, write about it. If you are a singer, sing praises. If you are an encourager, encourage someone else that even in these times there is great reason for hope. For by His stripes we are healed.