We are continuing our series of short meditations on the supernatural acts of Jesus. Today we come to the healing of a man with leprosy:
12While 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." 13Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" And immediately the leprosy left him. 14Then 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." 15Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed (Luke 5:12-16).
This leper is an example to us of one with faith in God. Luke writes, “While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy” (v. 12). This leper was so desperate to be cleansed by the Lord that he entered the town, knowing that he risked death by stoning. For him, it was all or nothing. It was evident by his torn clothes, face, and skin that he was a leper because Luke comments that he "was covered with leprosy.” There seems to be courage born of desperation in seeking Jesus.
We see humility in the leper. He threw himself on the ground and, with his face in the dirt, proclaimed his words of faith, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” He didn’t say, “Lord, if you are willing, you can heal me.” This man was aware of his need for cleansing of his leprosy. The Lord doesn’t come to the self-sufficient, but He comes to those who readily admit their guilt and need for inner cleansing. Too many people rest their weight on trying to be good enough; whereas, this man comes to Christ, admitting he cannot make it on his own. He knew that his cleansing and healing were in Jesus’ hands. The man was totally dependent upon what God would do for him out of mercy.
Some people do not realize their need for the Savior's cleansing of sin; they are not convinced of the sinfulness of sin. It's like the man who complained to his friends about the exorbitant cost of his sports car insurance. "How can it be so expensive when I have a clean license," he said. When his friends challenged him as to his clean license, he replied, "Well, it's nearly clean, just a few spots on my record." How can a person have a nearly clean license? His record is clean, or it's not! The only way to receive a clean record before God is to come to Him, admit you have sinned and that your life is marred and stained by the leprosy of sin. Come to Jesus and be cleansed!
Few people even believed that God would heal leprosy because those afflicted were seen as unclean and under God's disfavor. I can imagine the crowd near Jesus recoiling with horror when they saw a leper in their midst. Instantly, mothers would reach for their children before quickly backing away from him. Was Jesus angry at the boldness and audacity of the man? With gasps from the people, Jesus stooped and came down to his level, and put His hand on the man’s head, saying, "I am willing, Be clean!" Christ touched him! As He did so, the knobs on his hands grew fingers, his ears instantly healed, the feet grew out before them, and his eyebrows and eyelashes grew out, and hair immediately grew on his head. Those who watched stared in amazement at what God did right before their eyes. There was no hesitation in Jesus. He is willing to heal those who come to Him in faith. Would to God that each of us would approach Jesus with an unconquerable faith such as this! Today we have many around us who some say are “untouchable,” but Jesus reached out to them and touched them with His love. Can we not do the same? Keith Thomas