leprosy, salvation No Comments

Jesus was pursuing His earthly ministry in Galilee.  Luke records the miraculous drought of fishes in the first few verses of Luke 5.  Then, he relates an incident in which Jesus heals a leper (Luke 5:12-15).  Leprosy was greatly feared by the Israelites.  There are two reasons for this.  First, leprosy caused severe physical damage.  Second, leprosy resulted in isolation from the community.  The disease stigmatized lepers and made them “untouchables.”
The Disease.
There are basically two types of leprosy, i.e. lepromatous and tuberculoid.  Of the two, lepromatous leprosy was the most severe.  Both types start with discoloration of a patch of skin. This patch may be white or pink.  It is most likely to appear on the brow, nose, ear, cheek or chin.  In the lepromatous type of leprosy, the patch may spreak widely in all directions.  Portions of the eyebrows may disappear.  Spongy, tumor like swellings grow on the face and body.  In advanced stages, the growths multily and nearly cover the face.  The disease becomes systemic andinvolves the internal organs as well as the skin.  Marked deformity of hands and feet occur when the tissues between the bones deteriorate and disappear.  Oftne the senory nerve endings no longer respond to heat or injury and the unwary patient may be suject to further destruction of his limbs before he realizes his danger.  Leprosy is a long-lasting disease.  In untreated cases, the person may be sick from ten to twenty years.  Death occurs from the disease itself or from an intercurrent invasion of the weakened body by tuberculosis or someother disease.  What a wonderful feeling it must have been to be pronounced “clean” of this dreaded disease (see Baker Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, II, 138-139).
The Leper.
Jesus creates interest and sparks curiosity wherever He goes.  When the leper sees Jesus, he fell on his face and said, “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.”  The leper manifests several admirable qualities.  First, he was humble.  He does not demand anything of Jesus, but rather he requests Jesus’ help.  He knows it is up to Jesus to decide whether or not to bestow the blessings he seeks.  The leper is willing, if Jesus so decides, to remain in his living death.  Second, he is full of faith.  His knowledge of Jesus’ power was the basis of his faith in Jesus.  He is willing to put his life into Jesus’ hands.  This is the nature of trust.  Third, he is hopeful.  The leper sees Jesus as his hope for a complete cure.  His leprosy was advanced.  He had suffered for many years.  Jesus’ appearance in his city gives him hope.
The Miracle.
Jesus put forth His hand and touched him and said, “I will: be thou clean.”  Jesus exercised His divine perogative regarding a temporal blessing.  He executes His divine power to perform the miracle.  The divine will and the power of His divine words come together to create the miracle.  The miracle was instantaneous and complete.  Imagine the moment.  Before, this man was suffering from a horribly debilitating disease.  After, he was cleansed, healed and whole.  Before, he was hideous to behold.  After, he was beautiful.  Jesus’ power never fails!  Jesus told this man not to tell anyone about the miracle.  Why?  Jesus wanted him to go to the priest at Jerusalem and have the priest declare him clean as the Law of Moses required.  The religious leaders among the Jews would learn of this miracle at that time and they would have to realize that Jesus was a great miracle worker.  Jesus wanted this man to testify before these religious leaders so that they would know who He is and what works He had accomplished.
Temporal Blessings Vs. Spiritual Blessings.
If you could receive a miracle and be healed of some dreaded disease, or you could be forgiven of your sins and become a child of God, which would you choose?  As great as a physical blessing might be, the spiritual is greater!  Jesus touches this man on purpose.  He touches the untouchable.  Jesus can touch your life in an even more significant way.  He can save you from your past sins and transform your life.  He can give you spiritual and eternal life.  Because of sin in our lives, we might consider ourselves to be “untouchable,” “unlovable,” or “unworthy.”  Yet, the Lord Jesus Christ has compassion for us and in His love desires to save us.  Jesus wills to give us this blessing. We must be willing to receive it.