Jesus heals a Leper
“And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, "If you will, you can make me clean." Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, "I will; be clean." And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.”
Jesus! Goodness the beauty of Jesus! How this short story tells us so much about our precious Savior and how wonderful He is! Think for just a moment about this leper.
One commentary put it this way “Back then, they thought two things about a leper: you are the walking dead and you deserve this because this is the punishment of God against you. Jewish custom said that you should not even greet a leper. Custom said you had to stay six feet from a leper. One Rabbi bragged that he would not even buy an egg on a street where he saw a leper, and another boasted that he threw rocks at lepers to keep them far from him. Rabbis didn’t even allow a leper to wash his face.”
So here comes a leper to Jesus who has been hated and despised for a long time. It is said that this leper’s disease was in the advanced stages (Luke 5:12) Leprosy in the advanced staged would have looked like a zombie walking towards you! When leprosy is in the advanced stages the body is decayed greatly! This man would have most likely looked like the following. Bald with sores all over his face, no eyebrows, his nose decayed off and possibly even his eyes rotted out. This man’s joints of his fingers and toes would have been rotten and at this point (advanced) probably fallen off. His gums would have started shrinking, and wouldn’t have been able to hold his own teeth anymore, so he would have lost each of them. He would be wrapped in filthy garments and smelled of unbearable decaying flesh. He essentially was wasting away until death.
So now try to picture this. This zombie looking man coming to Jesus who all of society had rejected and wanted nothing to do with. This man must have known nothing but rejection! Nothing but being viewed as disgust and YET Jesus saw Him and had compassion! No one had compassion on this man! No one was willing to help this man until Jesus came along! Think about this man his leprosy is in the advanced stages meaning he had been living with this disease for a long time. I wonder how long it had been since anyone showed him love or compassion? YET Jesus did! it says Jesus was moved with compassion/pity for this man! When was the last time he had received any physical touch at all?!?!?!!!
AND yet Jesus touched Him! Why was a touch so important? Because people were forbidden to touch this man on account of his leprosy. This man wasn’t suppose to be touched and yet Jesus did! He did what no one else would do! He touched the unclean to make him clean! It was against Jewish ceremonial law to touch a leper. Yet Jesus did not break that law, because as soon as He touched the man, he was no longer a leper!
Jesus not only touched this man but HE reached for the man! He reached for the one no one wanted to reach!
So I read this story and I see a few things
1. How Good, merciful and loving is Jesus! How amazing is Jesus! Jesus reached for a man who was unclean much like He did for me a sinner. Leprosy may decay the body physically but the wages of sin is death a spiritual decay. I was lost in sin decaying building wages that led only to death and yet He came and touched me! I can only image how disgusting my sin would have made me appear (spiritually) and yet He took it upon Himself so I could be healed and have life! He reached for when He came to earth from heaven! He touched me and cleansed me from sin the sin that was slowly destroying my life and leading me to death and damnation! Oh He came! Jesus the one who loved the unlovable and still does today! Oh how He deserves my worship and praise!
2. Secondly I see the example that Christ set before me. How He loved even those who society rejected and those who’s image and state drove everyone away! He truly loved the most miserable of all men! He loved! I see how Jesus was moved with compassion for someone who it would appear impossible to have compassion for. Jesus Christ the example for me! What an example what a picture of true love! And yet the Word of God tells me that it is the will of God to conform and make me into the image of his Son! That I too would be a man who loves the despised, rejected, and unloveable like my Savior! Oh lord help me!