In "Word Focus" William Sillings writes:
Jesus touched (hapsato) the leper. Not only that, but He also stretched out His hand (ekteinas — aorist participle). The literal meaning of this word might read something like this, “When He had stretched out His hand,” signifying that this was a very intentional action. We think little about the fact that Jesus touched a leper, because we have heard it so many times. But think about what it meant to the first-century disciples. According to Leviticus 13, anyone who had leprosy was to be declared unclean, and they were to be quarantined from their families and the rest of the camp of Israel.
For Jesus to touch a leper was to transgress the traditions of Israel as well as to cause Himself to become ceremonially unclean. In the eyes of His disciples, Jesus was rewriting the tradition. He was taking drastic steps to make His point that people are more important than ceremonial cleanness.
Discussion: Who are the people our community are unwilling to touch? Who are the people our church is afraid or unwilling to touch? Who are you unwilling to touch?
Discussion: How should we change our attitudes and actions toward our "lepers"?
Source: Miracles of Jesus: Adult Teacher's Insights, page 28.