Mark 1:40-45 Matthew 8:1-4, Luke 5:12-16 JESUS CLEANSES A LEPER
In Matthew, we read Jesus came down from the mountain. A leper kneels before Jesus and begs to be cleansed. The leper is desperate. Coming to Jesus, kneeling before Jesus, talking to Him, and calling Him "Lord," is worshiping Him. Jesus was moved with pity. That brings me comfort to think that Jesus would be moved with pity [compassion] towards me as well. The Leper asks Jesus, "if you will" and Jesus answer, "I will." This is such a beautiful conversation of a respectful petition and a loving granting of that petition. I find myself most often in my prayers saying, "if it is in Your Will, Lord, please. . . ," so I find this conversation touching my heart, especially as I hear Jesus [in red print] say to me, "I will."
Jesus used words and touch to cleanse the leper. It was forbidden to touch Lepers, but Jesus was not afraid of getting the disease because of his power and authority. Why is the word "clean" used rather than "heal?"
Jesus gave the leper a command not to tell anyone, and go to the priest for further cleansing as Moses commanded. Jesus commanded the healed leper to follow the law of God in a Levitical (Leviticus 14:4-22) ceremony. Since leprosy was incurable, the priest would have not routinely done this ceremony and it would have made a big statement and the testimony would have been understood loud and clear by the priests.
The leper did not obey Jesus and talked freely to spread the news. Scripture does not say if the leper was punished for his disobedience. However, Jesus suffered for what the leper did because He could no longer walk openly in the towns and stayed in desolate places. I fully understand that my disobedience often hurts others, but I rarely think of it as also hurting Jesus. The last thing I would want to do would be to hurt Jesus, but I can imagine that I unknowingly do it all the time. The leper's story makes me feel guilty and full of sin.
Yet people from every quarter came to Him in the desolate places. Jesus used the lepers disobedience as He can always turn anything we do into good. It seems to me that Jesus could not get away from the people coming to Him wanting to be healed. I can see this as the same today. I often forget Jesus until I need something from Him or need His help. Jesus is bombarded with prayers for healing. Jesus wants us to come to Him in time of need, but during the time of the story, Jesus must have been fearful for His life as a man to stay away from crowded places. Yet, the crowds still came to Him. Ah! Jesus is my wilderness preacher!
We read he was "full of leprosy" indicating it was all over his body in advanced stages.
Leprosy was such a horrible, highly contagious disease that even in the Old Testament (Leviticus 13-14), lepers were considered unclean, had to live away from the people, and had to be examined. Rabbis thought they were being punished by God and, therefore, deserved no pity (quite different than Jesus). Lepers had to warn people wherever they went as "unclean!" There was no cure for leprosy other than Jesus Christ; there is also no cure for sin other than Jesus Christ.