It is an often debated topic among Christians as to whether or not we should go into dark places. I’m not sure why it is such a difficult question honestly. Jesus never hesitated to go to sinful places. Many are genuinely concerned though that they will be influenced the wrong way. It is alarming to many Christians when they hear of other Christians going into strip clubs, bars, and drug infested areas because they fear that their brothers will stumble when confronted with sin.
As I mentioned in my previous post, Love Bonnaroo, I was recently apart of a team of 400+ volunteers that went into the Bonnaroo Music Festival, a place filled with immorality of all kinds, to minster to those in attendance. A friend of mine shared with me that as he was telling a friend of his from a different ministry what we were doing, the friend replied, “I don’t know why you would want anything to do with that festival of filth.” I thought of this often as we were there.
That phrase was particularly fresh on my mind as my friend and I stood in line to enter the festival. They had the lines staggered in an “S” shape to allow more people to wait in line at once. As they opened the gates and the thousands of people flooded to the entrance, I noticed something happening. As each person passed through the line, they would reach over the “S” shaped rows and high five the people in the second line. At first I was hesitant to participate because I didn’t know what might be in each persons hand. In that moment, I felt an unction of the Holy Spirit to touch as many hands as I could as I prayed for each person that I passed. In a matter of minutes, we laid hands and prayed over hundreds of people. I remember as we finished the final row, I looked at my friend and said, “I don’t know what all I just touched, but I believe that what is on me is more contagious than what’s on them.” This became a focal point for me the rest of the weekend as I interacted with the different people that gathered around our tent.
Jesus demonstrated this idea often in His ministry but there is one example in particular that I want to highlight. It’s found in Luke 5:12-13:
12 While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
13 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.
Leprosy is one of the most contagious diseases known to man. Just one touch from a leper could infect you for the rest of your life. It was actually part of the Jewish Law that if anyone began to approach a leper, the leper was required to yell “Unclean!” three times to notify everyone around them of their disease. Due to the severity of the disease, no one was allowed to touch a leper. Ever. They were often cast out of cities for fear of the disease spreading and were forced to live a secluded life away from friends and family.
Knowing this, it is even more incredible that Jesus even allowed the man to approach Him like this, let alone touch Him. Here’s the thing though – Jesus loves to touch the untouchables. The ones that no one else is willing to touch, Jesus will touch. The ones that everyone else is afraid to approach, Jesus will walk right into their situation and bring deliverance. He is not afraid or offended at even the dirtiest of sinners. When it is even unlawful to engage the situation, Jesus transcends the laws of men and delivers those who are in desperate need of an encounter.
Here is the main point that I want to make in this story. Before Jesus walked the earth, if you touched a leper, you got leprosy. After Jesus walks the earth, you touch the leper and the leper gets healed. Why? Because what Jesus carried was far more contagious than the leprosy that the man carried. So why would we go into a “festival of filth”? Because what is on our lives is far more contagious than what is on theirs.