Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed. (Mark 1:40-42)
Faith Like A Leper
Leprosy was one of the most dreaded diseases of Bible times. It was a death sentence that came with a horribly slow death. The disease rendered men untouchable and in many societies lepers were cast out of society and shunned. There were strict regulations under the Law of Moses for the treatment of the disease and conditions for those who found themselves suffering from leprosy. During the ministry of Jesus there were many lepers that came to the Lord to be healed and the apostles were commissioned to heal men of leprosy. On one occasion a leper came to Jesus begging for compassion and to be healed of his malady. The leper who came to Jesus is a remarkable individual unlike many in the stories of lepers. In the Old Testament a Syrian named Naaman was told about a prophet in Israel that could heal him and he became clean when he obeyed the word of the prophet. Jesus entered a certain village when ten lepers asked for mercy from the Lord and He healed them. What makes the story of the leper that came to Jesus so remarkable was the faith he had in Jesus to do the impossible. Leprosy was a death sentence without pardon. There were no cures for the disease. The man who came to Jesus was full of leprosy. This was not a case of mistaken identity or a slight case of psoriasis that would clear up in time. What the leper had was a full case of certain death and no one could cure him. Faith moved the man to do something marvelous as an example of incredible trust in the power and love of Jesus.
The leper knew he had to be cleansed. Leprosy was a debilitating disease that rendered the body a horrible figure of decaying flesh. There was no doubt in his mind about his condition and he could clearly see the power of leprosy to kill him. No one had to convince the man he was in dire straits. His circumstance was defined by the place he found himself and nothing any man could do had changed that and nothing any man would do brought relief. The disease this man had was a death sentence and the only way he could find relief was to be cleansed. Leprosy was a filthy disease with death written all over it. The leper believed in the impossible. When a man contracted leprosy there was no cure yet this man believed in the unheard of and unlikely possibility that a cure was possible. There were many doctors who through a study of the sciences helped many find relief from various diseases. This was not the case with leprosy. There was no cure. Relief would not come from the hand of man. A certain death sentence hung over the head of a man with leprosy. Coming to Jesus shows the man believed in the impossible. He came to Jesus and said that if the Lord was willing to do the impossible then the impossible could be done. His faith in the power of God led him to believe that leprosy could be healed. Finally the leper believed Jesus could cleanse him. He had not sought help from any other man because he knew no man could heal him but he did believe the miracle worker Jesus could take away a disease that had a certain death to it. Jesus was the man who could do the impossible. He told Jesus that if the Lord was willing, He (Jesus) could do the impossible and take away his leprosy. Moved with compassion, Jesus touched the leper and healed him. The man was correct on three accounts: he knew the vile nature of leprosy, he believed in the impossible and he believed Jesus could heal him.
There is a greater disease than leprosy that afflicts every soul on earth – all six billion souls that have the breath of life. It is not a disease of the flesh but the eternal disease of sin that will destroy most souls in the darkness of perdition. There is no cure for sin that men have found in their own wisdom. Generations have multiplied where men have tried to answer the plight of sin but to no avail. Even the Law of Moses failed to justify the sinful nature of man. Salvation from sin can only come from Jesus Christ and like the leper that came to Jesus; there are some conditions that must be met. Until a man comes to know what sin is, he will never see the need to change. The leper knew he was a leper. A sinner must see himself for what he really is – a sinful creature in need of healing. Without this knowledge of man’s condition, there can be no cleansing. When a man comes to know his sinful nature, he has to believe in the impossible. There is no cure for sin in the annals of man’s wisdom. Nothing he has ever done could answer the question of sin. The reality of sin is that nothing man can do will change the nature of sin making it an impossible condition to remedy. Like the leper, all men must see themselves for what they are (sinners) and believe in the impossible that through the blood of Jesus Christ they can be cleansed of their sins. Without believing in the word of Christ and the authority given to Him by the Father, salvation cannot come to the sinful heart. Obedience to the will of the Father is where sins are washed away in the waters of baptism doing what men could not do and accomplishing the impossible. If the leper did not see his condition for what it was, believe in the impossible and come to Jesus; he would have died a leper. When a man fails to see his sinful condition, refuses to believe in the power of God to cleanse him and denies the word of Jesus Christ, he will die in his sin. There were many lepers in the days of Naaman but only one was cleansed because he believed. How many souls die today because they do not accept the word of God and like the leper, come to Jesus?