Willie Hucks II Assistant Editor, Ministry Magazine

The day was spectacular: blue sky, fresh breeze. Everyone was in good spirits because Jesus was coming to town. I had heard about Him but had never seen Him. People would say, "No one teaches like He does. He makes the truth about God so plain. He delivers good news to the poor and the oppressed. He heals the sick and cures the demon-possessed."

I was primed for a blessing, but little did I know how blessed I would be! I didn't know He would change my view about everything and eve/yone.

Let me tell you about myself. I was like any other Jew: I kept the Sabbath day holy wouldn't do anything that I shouldn't, went to the synagogue every Sabbath, returned my tithe, and gave a liberal offering. But I also had my shortcomings (which I thought were my strengths). I hated the Romans (oppressors who taxed us left and right). I hated the publicans (Jews who collected taxes for the Romans actually, they overtaxed us and kept the excess for themselves). I hated the Samaritans (half-Jews with mixed blood). Divine light was for us faithful Jews, and not for those lost heathens Jewish or otherwise.

One Sabbath, as Jesus was speaking, I heard a commotion behind me. I thought a fight was about to break out. Oh yeah, there was another group I hated: lepers. You see, we all were convinced that leprosy was a curse from God. Lepers were contagious, so they couldn't come to the synagogue (but being cursed, God wouldn't want them there anyway).

Some were saying that this Jesus was the Messiah, sent from God. Some claimed He was even God Himself! I was not quite sure how God could be on earth and in heaven, too. But as I was saying, there was a commotion.

Honestly, I had never seen a leper up close. Grotesque. Gruesome. Oozing sores with draining pus. Honestly, I had never smelled anything quite like that either. Well, I certainly wasn't about to get in the way. I stepped back, almost wanting to throw up at the sight and smell. And now he was standing right in front of Jesus. He said, "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean."

How can he call Him "Lord"? Lord equals master. How dare he think that this great Man would be willing to heal such an outcast! Jesus could make him clean. But why?

I was watching for Jesus to ignore this man, to send him back to where he came from and get back to more important things. But without hesitation, Jesus said something that caught me off guard: "I am willing. Be clean!" Then He really shocked me. I figured He'd speak words of healing. Perhaps He would wave His hand to bless the leper (and fan away the odor at the same time). What He did was something I did not expect, lesus touched him! Who would do such a thing?

Two articulate people nearby were conversing, and I overheard them. I realized that (1) this Messiah was God, and (2) this Man was showing us the love of God for even the most down and out. He healed the leper in the most intimate fashion possible by touching him.

I saw that man's skin become more soft and supple than my own. I don't know how old he was, but he who looked so old before now looked baby-skin young. I saw a physical metamorphosis right before my eyes! And I also saw a psychological transformation. The leper had low self-esteem, but with a touch from Jesus, he walked like a child of royalty! The leper wasn't the only one touched that day, not the only one to experience a metamorphosis. He was changed physically on the outside. I was changed spiritually on the inside! I saw that this leper was actually better off than I was. He was a leper on the outside, but I was a leper on the inside! My hatred, anger, and bitterness were destroying me!

I decided to keep following Jesus. I didn't feel worthy to ask if I could become one of His disciples I preferred to follow Him from a distance. I was drawn to Him, yet I didn't want anyone to know that I was associated with Him.

  • I learned so many lessons even at a distance:
  • To love your enemies (Luke 6: 27-36).
  • To be like the Good Samaritan (Luke 10 Everyone is my neighbor).
  • The story of the Prodigal Sons (Luke 15 It was as though He was talking about me, that I was both sons, sometimes the wandering one and sometimes the loyal, jealous bitter one).
  • To treat others as He treated Zacchaeus (Luke 19).
  • That it is possible to respect a corrupt government (Luke 20:20-25).

Later I witnessed some of the events surrounding His final Passover. The five court appearances before religious and civil rulers. The mad crowds, the torture, the insults, His carrying that cross, the nails driven through His wrists and behind His ankles. I can still hear those agonizing groans as He wrestled for every breath.

Then I was touched again! He looked at me, and the look in His eyes said, "I am doing this for you."

Just a few days later I heard, "He is not dead. He is alive." I didn't see Him anymore, but I heard that it was promised to those who did see Him that He would return just as they had seen Him go into heaven (Acts 1:11).

I made up in my mind to see Him again. Now I have only one more desire: to have Him to touch me in glory! 

Willie Hucks II
Assistant Editor, Ministry Magazine