Jesus Cleanses a Leper

Almost every age has had its social outcasts, people barred from normal society whether through physical illness or national origin. One person who stepped across these barriers in India was pioneer missionary Mary Reed. Already working in India, Mary visited a leper colony a … More

Leprosy

A man came to Jesus who was covered with leprosy (v. 12). Leprosy was a feared disease because there was no known cure for it. It had a similar emotional impact and terror associated with it that AIDS does today. The symptoms ranged from white patches on the skin, to running sores, to the loss of fingers and the toes. Some forms of it were highly contagious. Because of this, the priests monitored the disease, banishing lepers who were in a contagious stage to prevent the spread of infection and readmitting those whose disease was in remission. This man with leprosy had an advanced case, so he undoubtedly had lost much bodily tissue but he believed that Jesus could heal every trace of the disease.

Lepers were considered untouchable because people feared contracting their disease. They were kept separate from the wider community. This was very harsh for the individual, but necessary for the protection of the community. However Jesus knew that the big need was on the inside and not on the outside. Because of this, He did not hesitate in touching the lepers he came in contact with. Jesus reached out and touched the leper to heal him (v. 13). Immediately the leprosy left the man (v. 14).

Then Jesus instructed him to go through the eight-day ritual of cleansing commanded by the Law of Moses (Lev. 14). We may consider certain people who are diseased or disabled to be untouchable or repulsive. We must not be afraid to reach out and touch them with God’s love. People were flocking to hear Jesus preach and to have their diseases healed (v. 15), but He made sure He had time to withdraw to a quiet place to pray (v. 16). We also need to make sure we have time with Him.

Application

What is being said about Jesus because of my life? Is my life a channel through which the love and power of Jesus is reaching and helping other people?

Luke 5:12-16 (English Standard Version)

While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean." And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, "I will; be clean." And immediately the leprosy left him. And he charged him to tell no one, but "go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to them." But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.

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