Here in the UK we are now in an enforced lockdown as a measure against the spread of the coronavirus.
We are not permitted to leave our homes except for essential purposes such as buying food or accessing medical care.
It’s now impossible for us to have physical contact with anyone outside of our immediate household.
As difficult as it is to be separated from friends or family or colleagues or clients, we have no choice. The risk of infection is simply too great.
Of course, the need to isolate oneself to avoid the spread of infection or disease is nothing new. In both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible this was a serious concern.
In Jesus’ time there were people the Bible describes as suffering from “leprosy”. This probably wasn’t precisely the disease we call by that name today, but it would have been some sort of contagious skin condition that required social isolation on the part of the sufferers.
They were required to live outside of human settlements and could not take part in the normal daily interactions of their society.
Nobody would welcome them or go near them. They were unclean and contact with them risked making oneself unclean in turn.
Just as today, when someone that is infected or in some way unclean touches someone that is not, the infection or uncleanness spreads.
It doesn’t work the other way round. A person who has not been infected by coronavirus cannot transmit their ‘uninfectedness’ to an infected person in order to cure them.
Even a person who has recovered from coronavirus and has antibodies cannot transmit those to an infected person by touch.
The one exception to this was Jesus.
According to the Bible, Jesus could touch people who were suffering from contagious or infectious diseases and heal them:
While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came to him who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he bowed down with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” So he stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing. Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him. (Luke 5:12-13)
For Jesus it did work the other way round. Instead of becoming infected by touching this man he was able to transmit his own ‘cleanness’ and cure him.
How does that help us today? Jesus isn’t here on Earth to touch people and cure them of the coronavirus.
According to the Bible, Jesus is now in heaven where God lives, and he can provide us with healing from something that is even more dangerous and deadly than the coronavirus.
We’ll explore what that is next time.