A Leper’s Faith

When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” (Matthew 8:1-4)

A Leper’s Faith

Leprosy was a scourge in the days of Jesus. The disease is a slow process of mutilating the body, deforming the features, and leading to death. It was said the leper was a “walking tomb” and “a parable of death.” When leprosy was identified in a person, they were shunned from society to live in seclusion with others of the same sort. There were no cures. The diagnosis of leprosy was a sentence of death. Under the Law of Moses, the lepers were to remain apart from others crying out their death sentence to others lest they also become contaminated. Leprosy was a physical disease destroying the body slowly and methodically, but it was also a psychological shunning that must have been impossible to bear. Lepers were plenty in the days of Jesus.

After spending time on the mountain, Jesus is surrounded by a multitude of people anxious to hear His teachings and, if possible, find healing through the touch of His hand. Many sick people were coming to Jesus for relief. The blind, lame, mute, deaf, and maimed were healed, and the dead were raised on occasion. A blind man coming to Jesus was permitted because he was not unclean. When a leper desired to be cleansed of their disease, their faith had first to be strong enough to walk through the judgments of the nation to come to Jesus. The backstory of one leper is described in what faith he had to consider the multitudes surrounding Jesus and his desire to go directly to Jesus within arm’s length.

The life of a leper was secluded and avoiding crowds. A leper believes with all his heart Jesus has the power to do the impossible – heal leprosy. Healing leprosy was an incredible miracle visible to all who saw the immediate cleansing of the body. The leper would have felt immediate relief when healed by Jesus. First, the leper had to find his way to stand before Jesus. How can he do this with the multitudes surrounding the Lord? He could argue against approaching Jesus because of his leprosy. There were many reasons to conform to the world and not put himself in the way of Jesus. The leper that came to Jesus first overcame the strong prejudices of his disease to seek relief from the only One who could take his leprosy away.

Finding Jesus was the first evidence of his faith. The leper comes to Jesus and worships Him. He recognized the power of the man called Jesus, testifying that only God could do what Jesus had done. It is unknown how long the man had suffered leprosy, but he knew there was no cure and he would die. His approach to Jesus was not measured with doubt or fear. He boldly came to Jesus and proclaimed with complete assurance that Jesus could take away his leprosy; if Jesus was willing. He did not demand Jesus heal him. The leper pleaded with Jesus to heal him. His worship was with a humble spirit. He bowed himself before the only One who could take away his disease.

Jesus was filled with compassion. He did something bold and unheard of. Jesus put out His hand and touched the leper. Lepers were not to be touched. Others had not touched them for a long time. Jesus not only healed the body, but He also healed the soul. The leper came humbling, asking for mercy, and Jesus granted the man of faith with cleansing. His healing was immediate. There was no delay. It was not the next day or the next hour. The leper had his disease taken away by the touch of Jesus without delay. He had shown his faith by coming to Jesus surrounded by the multitudes. His belief in the power of Jesus accepted an impossible task. The man walked away cleansed and whole through faith, mercy, grace, and love.

Sin is the spiritual shadow of leprosy. As leprosy slowly destroys the body without any means of cure, sin destroys the soul, and there is no cure in the medicine cabinet of human wisdom. There is nothing man can do about sin. The multitudes of human wisdom stand in the way of the sinner and Jesus. Walking through the world’s prejudices takes faith to seek healing in Jesus Christ. Coming to Jesus requires worship. Trying to demand forgiveness will bring judgment. Like the leper, salvation will only be found when the heart is humbled by the severity of sin and the acceptance of the touch of Jesus. The Lord demanded obedience from the leper. That same obedience is required of men today. The power of Christ took away leprosy. Sin can be taken away by the power of Christ’s blood in the waters of baptism. There will be no other cleansing of the spiritual disease all men possess. Have faith like the leper. Come to Jesus for healing.

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