Steve Marquez—The Touch of the Master

Steve Marquez—The Touch of the Master
Steve Marquez—The Touch of the Master

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The Touch of The Master

Devotional by Pastor Steve Marquez

Pastor Steve MarquezPeople who have been given the devastating news of their having a terminal illness are said to be in the “Stage 4” of life. Stage4 Ministries desires to serve them and their caregivers. The ministry is run by Steve and Monica Marquez. Steve, formerly pastor of Calvary Chapel Fort Smith, AR, is a Stage 4 cancer patient fighting Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC), better known as kidney cancer. Steve and Monica are available to speak at churches or other groups to encourage people that through Jesus Christ they can have hope in this world, and the next. Visit www.stage4ministries.com for more information.

It is tough living with a terminal illness. There are a lot things you were able to do in the past that are no longer an option. With the terminal illness, such as cancer, comes side-effects from treatments and, as in my case, surgeries that change the quality of life forever. There is a certain amount of mourning that must take place. I have been told by well-meaning people that I have to just “suck-it-up” and push through, to be thankful for what I do have! This is true, by the way, but along the way, we must also shed a few tears. On the path to healing, we have to cry before the Lord and lay all our burdens before him. When we get to the place where we can be strong, we realize that our strength found its emergence in Him.

And a leper came to him [Jesus], imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he [Jesus] stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” Mark 1:40–41, ESV

Leprosy is the only disease for which the Bible gives the remedy of being clean. The leper is not healed but cleansed. It was one of the most dreaded of all diseases in the ancient world because the only redress was to isolate the patient in a colony of lepers. It was a highly infectious disease that separated husband from wife and child from parent. Lepers would never be allowed back into regular society as long as they had the disease.

“The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean.’ He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp.” Leviticus 13:45-46

Today, the World Health Organization says that leprosy (Hansen’s disease), which can occur in people of all ages ranging from infants to old age, is caused by mycobacterium leprae that is spread through droplets from the nose and mouth during close and frequent contact with untreated cases. The good news is that the disease does have a treatment and is curable when caught early.

The Bible gives a hint that the disease would eventually be curable in Leviticus 14:1-32. But this would not happen until Jesus would first have pity on a poor leper who asked to be cleansed. Jesus tells the cleansed leper to present himself to the priest as a proof to them of his healing (Mark 1:42–44). I am sure the priest had to dust off the books on how to actually do this because no one in Israel had ever been cured of leprosy until that case.

The Importance of Touch

There is nothing as important as touch, according to Dacher Keltner, Ph.D.: “[Touch is] our primary language of compassion, and a primary means for spreading compassion. In recent years, a wave of studies has documented some incredible emotional and physical health benefits that come from touch. This research is suggesting that touch is truly fundamental to human communication, bonding, and health. … Research here at UC Berkely’s School of Public Health has found that getting eye contact and a pat on the back from a doctor may boost survival rates of patients with complex diseases.”

This was so true for me. When a doctor held my hand, or a physical therapist held me steady, and especially when my wife held my hand or put her fingers through my hair, I felt safe and at peace. Human interaction is such a blessing.

Lepers were NEVER touched, and yet, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him. Of course, the power to heal was in the Creator himself, but what a joy it was to be touched, something the leper had not experienced for some time. According to the law (Leviticus 22:1–6), to touch an unclean person made the person who touched him unclean. But something strange happened here. Jesus, the most ‘clean’ person ever, touched and transferred his cleanliness to the leper! The touch of the Master’s hand was perfect in healing the leper, and He is more than willing to do so for you as well.

 

All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

© 2020 Calvary Chapel Magazine. All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.

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