When you hear the word “contagious,” what comes to your mind most naturally? We generally think of a cold, flu, or covid. We think of stopping the spread of something infectious. We sanitize our hands, cover our mouths with masks, give elbow or fist bumps, and whatever else is necessary to avoid catching something that can make us sick.

When I read the Gospel accounts of Jesus, however, there is something else that strikes me as contagious. It’s not sin or sickness. It’s holiness. Just consider Jesus – he touches lepers (Mark 1:40-45). The Old Testament law forbade such a practice lest uncleanness spread (Lev. 13). Instead of becoming unclean, the holiness of Jesus spreads and brings wholeness, newness, and life (Mark 1:42). This practice is consistent through the life of Jesus.

We limit this contagious holiness to Jesus, thinking it must be unique to him because he is God. Yet might it be possible for holiness to be contagious – not merely from the touch of Jesus, but from the touch of Jesus’s followers?

Recently I spent several hours with our elders discussing and praying through several care concerns and pastoral needs. We shared several heavy situations together and prayed. Hearts were heavy. Groans were heard.

But we took time to hear the Scriptures and pray together. We talked strategy, partnerships, and made plans.  But we reminded each other about how the gospel rebuilds hope and trust and restores that which is broken.

A strange and glorious thing happened.  As I left that room that evening, sorrow had turned to joy. Weeping had given way to dancing. Gloom had broken by light. Nothing had changed circumstantially. But something had changed: we had tasted and seen the goodness of God (Ps. 34:8). Holiness had touched us. In prayer, God’s power was palpable. It was something I have only experienced a few times in my ministry, but I walked out of that elder meeting wanting to be more like Jesus. It wasn’t the strategies, the plans, or the future that excited me. It was how we collectively wanted to be more like Christ.

Brothers and sisters, we need the power of God. I need it. You need it. We need the contagious touch of the holiness of Jesus again. And again. And again.

In a gospel culture, our aim should be clear: as we rub shoulders, as we seek the face of God, as we spur one another on to love and good deeds, as we encourage one another to be zealous for good works, let us ask for his holy touch. Holiness is contagious for those who have been touched by holiness!

Won’t you seek the Lord with me? Join in prayer? Cry out to our Father for a fresh wind to blow in our midst?

Seeking His holy touch,
~Pastor Andrew

Prepare your heart for Sunday by reading the passage and listening to the songs we’ll sing.