Encounters with Jesus
The leper experienced the good news when Jesus touched him. For so long, he had been cast out by society, but with that one touch, he was restored to the community. With the centurion’s servant, Jesus did not force Himself on the man. Instead, he healed the servant at a distance, respecting the wishes of the centurion. He did not need a touch, but merely a word in order to be healed. Yet Jesus does not merely give Himself to people on their own terms. He expects the faith of people will give their entire selves to him. He calls His followers to leave everything behind. While with his disciples in the storm-tossed boat, Jesus did not merely prevent the disciples from going through trouble. He allowed them a chance to see their plight and then demonstrated His power which seemed all the greater once they had experienced the storm they were up against. In Matthew’s telling of the Jesus story, Jesus does not passively heal everyone he encounters. He heals in response to people expecting His healing. He sits down at a table with those whom society had dismissed as sinners. He said He came for them. He is not contaminated by associating with them. He makes all things clean around Him. While talking to John the Baptist’s disciples, Jesus explains that he directly addresses the needs of all who come to Him. If someone comes blind, He makes them see. The lepers are cleansed. The poor hear good news.