7618 - Leper Healed

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Jesus was never one to avoid interacting with the outcasts of society.

In the fifth chapter of Luke we see the authority Jesus had over illness and disease clearly demonstrated. Two different miracles of this nature are given there.

Today we will investigate how a leper was healed by the power of God as expressed through Jesus Christ. Let me read Luke 5:12-16:

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."

Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" And immediately the leprosy left him.

Then Jesus ordered him, "Don't tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them."

Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

The kind of leprosy existing in Jesus’ day began as white blotches on the skin with distinctive red markings. This was a feared disease because no known cure existed, and some forms of leprosy were contagious.

According to the Law, when a person contracted the disease they went before the priests in the Temple who examined him; and if considered contagious the infected person was pronounced unclean. They were exiled from society and forbidden to have social contacts, including religious services. They went to live in a separate community with other lepers.

The stigma and emotional impact of being banished from society was a great burden to these people. If a well person approached them, the leper was required to cry out “unclean” so that no person should come close enough to be infected.

The disease slowly deadened the nerve endings so many of these people had missing fingers or toes, and other body tissue.

Leprosy today is not so contagious and often can be treated, but in ancient days no cure existed.

When a person had contact with a leper they became unclean as well, so they were excluded from religious services until time and corrective cleansing ceremonies could be performed.

The opening sentence stated that this man was covered with leprosy so he probably had been infected for a long time. When a leper became totally white, he was considered to be clean, and could enter the Temple. This record does not give that information about this man.

The plea of this leper to Jesus indicates faith. Jesus heard the sure statement, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”

The compassionate, loving Lord Jesus reached out with his hand and touched the man.

I’m impressed with the brevity of this encounter. Jesus simply touched the man and said, “I am willing. Be clean!”

We grasp a view of the awesome Godly power flowing through Jesus. There was no extended waiting period. Scripture says that immediately the leprosy left him.

Jesus told the man to present himself to the priest and fulfill the Mosaic law regarding being cleansed. Jesus had in mind that this man’s testimony to the priests could have a great impact upon the faith of the priest. The religious leaders faced persecution, rejection and loss of position if they confessed faith in Jesus (John 12:42-43), yet many believed and kept quiet. Jesus exhibited a love for these spiritual leaders and knew that this man’s testimony would add positive strength for their struggle.

Events like this one struck the hearts of people hungry for true faith, peace and purpose – for a real relationship with God. Crowds of people came from far and near to see Jesus, to hear him speak; and many came to be healed.