by Larry Baker, CVCS Superintendent
“Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man.” — Mark 1:41
As we continue our reading of Mark, examining the life of Jesus, and making applications to our own lives, occasionally we will come to passages that cause us to pause with some frustration. “Jesus was God,” we might complain, “How can we possibly do the things Jesus did?” I mean, Jesus turned water into wine. He brought Lazarus back from the dead. He cast the demons out of a mad man living in the cliffs. Today’s passage might be one of those times. But then again, maybe not.
A man with leprosy came to Jesus. This man was accustomed to being sent away, sometimes with rocks thrown at him. He knew loneliness, rejection and even hatred for being inflicted with a disease considered to be unclean, a disease that likely had disfigured him and made him look disgusting. He had not felt the touch of another human being for years. To make a long story short, Jesus felt compassion for the man and He healed him. Jesus did more than heal the man, taking away his leprosy. He touched him. Jesus could have told the man to go wash in the Jordan River. He could have told the man to take a mud bath or a cold shower. He could have healed the man while standing ten feet away. But no, he touched him. I’m certain it was an intentional gesture that Jesus wanted his disciples, and us, to notice.
That gesture of Jesus, in fact, was demonstrated to me just last week. I witnessed compassion, a touch, and healing. I was privileged to witness it by watching three little girls on a school bus.
Last Friday morning, at about 6:15, I made the rather spontaneous decision to ride along on CVC Bus Route #7, our local pick-ups. I sat in one of the front seats so I could talk with the driver. The fun thing about the front seats is that’s where the kindergarten and first grade kids sit. I find it much easier to have a conversation with little kids than with MS or HS students wearing headphones. Anyway, Wendy got on and sat in the seat across the aisle from me. She was not very talkative at first, but at least smiled and nodded when I asked her questions. Then Lucy got on and she asked if she could sit with me in my seat. Lucy seemed quite excited about the day. It was ‘100 Day’ on the elementary campus. She was anticipating a visit from the magnificent Zero the Hero. Lucy’s excitement seemed to draw Wendy into the conversation as well, so the three of us were now quite engaged and eagerly anticipating the excitement the day would definitely bring. (I honestly don’t know why bus rides aren’t a daily occurrence for me. I learn so much.)
The bus was now heading back toward school with a few more stops to make. As we pulled close to the next stop, another little girl was standing there with her grandmother. I could see that the girl was crying and Grandma was trying to console her. I asked Lucy if she knew who the girl was and she did. “That’s Nadia. She’s just a kindergartener.”
Lucy and Wendy can’t really see out of the windows that well, so I informed them, “Girls, it looks like Nadia is off to a bad start today. She’s crying about something. I think she’ll need you to cheer her up.” As we pulled away from the bus stop, I looked out the window and the grandmother looked at me with a little smile. I gave her a thumbs-up to say, “We got this.” That’s when I witnessed a six-year-old version of Christ-likeness.
Wendy and Lucy took a hint from Jesus, who, “filled with compassion, reached out and touched the man.” Still crying, Nadia plopped down in the front seat next to Wendy. Wendy, kind of awkwardly, put her arm around her friend’s shoulders. It seemed a little uncomfortable but I noticed Nadia did not push her away. Meanwhile, Lucy searched in her backpack for something. I thought she had lost interest and was moving on to something else, as first graders are prone to do. Instead, she pulled a beautiful bead necklace out of her bag, a necklace, I learned, she had made the night before. It probably had a hundred beads. She reached across me and across the aisle and handed it to Nadia. Nadia didn’t mind that either.
By the time we rolled up to school, the girls were giggling and being silly – all three of them. It was going to be a good day. In today’s short passage, we witness the compassion and healing touch of Jesus who removed the leprosy from an unclean man. On the bus, last Friday morning, I witnessed the sincere child-like compassion of a couple of little girls who wiped the tears off the face of their sad friend.
Jesus came because we needed a Savior. He also came to usher in a new kingdom where folks love Him and love their neighbor. Those kids on the bus can’t articulate that, but they get it.
Who needs your touch today?
Father and Supreme Healer, with your hands and your voice, the world was created. You rule over that world and you rule over our lives. We know that our world is not the place you envisioned at the dawn of time and it grieves you to see sin, sickness, and death. In Jesus, we see a God who healed sickness, conquered death and freed us from the penalty of sin. Lord, fill us with your Spirit and make us aware of the hurting lives around us. Use our arms and hands to provide the touch that takes away tears and helps your Kingdom to be visible here on earth, just as it is in heaven. In Jesus’ name, amen.
CVC Kindergarten is a place of love and learning, and these wonderful moments happen every day, whether we’re watching or not! To become part of the Christian community at CVC, at the Kindergarten level or in 12th grade, we invite you to apply today.