We have struggles with how to “be the church” in western Christianity. Do we invite people to come in? Do we just plunge ourselves “out there”? How much do we get “involved” in other peoples’ lives?
Sometimes it seems we have a fear of making too much contact with “the world.” Keep them at a distance. If they’re refugees, for example, I’ve heard people make the case this way: “That’s why we have missions! We send people to them!”
We struggle, to say the least.
Not Jesus. He blew away social constructs and decorum. Not because he wanted to show himself “superior” to weak religious people. He did it because he understood the concept of Kingdom power.
The rules regarding avoiding lepers came from a concept of touching what was “unclean.” If the clean touched the unclean, the unclean would infect the clean. We practice quarantine for that reason.
Jesus came reversing that rule. In the power of the Kingdom, when the clean touched the unclean, the unclean would be “infected” by the clean.
40 A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”
41 Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” 42 Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.
43 Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: 44 “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” 45 Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere. (Mark 1:40-45, NIV)
The Kingdom is power. It engages this world because the rule of the King is great. We don’t walk in fear. We walk in power.
We don’t “go out” and “touch” this world, then hastily retreat to our safe havens. We worship Jesus and go out to touch the world in power. No retreat. We are out to “infect” the world with the incredible power of Jesus.