Skin in the Game
And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.
Mark 1:41 KJV
Years ago, Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey co-authored a book titled, Fearfully and Wonderfully Made. Filled with amazing facts about the human body, and skillfully written to apply those discoveries to the spiritual body of Christ, the book stands as a classic that should be read by every Christian. In his chapter regarding visibility, Doctor Brand writes concerning human skin… “There is no organ like the skin. Averaging a mere nine pounds, it flexes and folds and crinkles around joints, facial crags, gnarled toes, and fleshy buttocks. It is smooth as a baby’s stomach here and rough like a crocodile there. A bricklayer’s hands may be rough, taut, and layered with sandpaper, but flaccid, pliable folds shroud his abdomen. Intricate spot-welds fasten a leg’s wrap, holding it tautly to the muscle layer; an elbow droops loosely, like the skin of a cat that can be tossed by the scruff of his neck.”
As amazing as skin is we normally don’t think about it until a rash appears, or a blade slices into it. Looking in the mirror, we watch our skin age with little hope of recovering our youthful glow, even with the miracles of modern medicine. You can only fool Mother Nature so long. It is also a universal fact that women spend more time pampering their skin than men, but regardless, we all fuss a little with our outside covering. However, it is the aspect of visibility that I would like us to consider regarding the body of Christ. Our skin is the most visible organ in our quest with connection to our fellow man. God’s visible connection with mankind is through the skin of the church.
In the gospel of Mark, Jesus is confronted with a man who was a leper. Leprosy is a skin disease which produces nasty, open sores and rotting flesh. The inability to feel any sensation is part of the disease. This man was numb to touch, as the world is numb to the gospel. Besides the actual disease itself, one of the worst things about leprosy is the isolation and lack of human connection that it inevitably brings to the sufferer. The man implored Jesus to heal him, but the last thing he expected, or wanted, was the touch of the Rabbi. Jesus could have easily healed him with the spoken word, but he chose instead to physically touch the man. He had not been touched in many years. The healing that Jesus performed that day was deeper than simply the man’s leprosy. This man underwent a radical restoration down to his core.
We are the skin that makes up the church. The body of Christ is made up of believers who breath, live and move about with actual bodies within the confines of the church building. Others need our personal touch. A little girl was having trouble sleeping in the darkness of her bedroom. Her mother cracked the door and reminded her that Jesus was with her. She called back that she wanted a Jesus with skin. We who know Christ are the skin of his body. So, let me ask you, do you have skin in the game?