Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainside. 2 Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”
3 Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. 4 Then Jesus said to him, “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.”
Leprosy was and is a horrible disease. For this and many other reasons, it was an O.T. type for sin. Think about it:
- Leprosy starts small and on the surface, a spot on the skin but it spreads uncontrollably.
- Leprosy separates people from people: it creates a barrier. Lepers were quarantined or sometimes outcast.
- Leprosy is destructive in nature. Begins with skin but eventually destroys tissue, nerves, bones and limbs. Eventually, it kills.
- Leprosy, like sin has no human cure.
I love reading the stories of Jesus miracles and I love this one. In this story I see all the necessary characteristics of a Savior.
I. THE CONDESCENSION
I realize that it is a play on words but notice 8:1…. The NASB reads, “When Jesus came down from the mountain“. If you look up the word condescension this is what you will fine– a voluntary descent from one’s rank or dignity in relations with an inferior. I love most holidays but Christmas has always been my favorite. I’ve had several people tell me that Easter should be my favorites and I love the celebration of the resurrection and I do realize how important the resurrection is but it all began with Jesus willingness to come to where we are, to condescend to our low estate. I like what Paul said in Philippians two:
Though Jesus was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, Jesus gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Are you not glad that Jesus came down, amen!
II. JESUS IS WILLING TO SAVE US
The leper said, “LORD, if You are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” Folks I rejoice tonight that Christ is willing. This man knew that Jesus had the power to heal him. He had no doubt heard many stories about Jesus healing power. He does not question Jesus power, the ERV reads… “Lord, you have the power to heal me if you want.” He believed in Jesus power but he was not sure about His will. Did Jesus want this man healed? Of course He did. Does Jesus want us to live in the bondage of sin. Does He want us to be terrorized by sin? No
III. JESUS IS ABLE TO SAVE US
I love the story of Ruth. Boaz is Naomi’s ga’al, her kinsman redeemer. In other words, he was her nearest kinsman and was in line to legally redeem or avenge Naomi. Actually, there was one man who was closer kin than Boaz but he was not willing. The ga’al had to be two things:  He had to be willing and  He had to be able. Jesus is both willing a able.
Note what the Leper said to Jesus, “Lord, if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” You will note that the man knew that Jesus had the power… “Lord, you have the power to heal me if you want.” That is the gospel, the good news, Jesus has the power and He is willing. Hallelujah, what a Savior.
I want to wrap this message up with some wonderful truths that you can see in this beautiful story…
- Our sin condition is incurable. Like the Leper, Jesus is our only hope.
- We are always at Christ mercy. Like the Leper, we approach humbly, “Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him.” Then we plead for mercy!
- Jesus didn’t just cure his leprosy, He changed his life. The man was transformed into a new creature.
- Jesus was not afraid to touch him. Jesus can touch sin but sin cannot touch Him. It did once at Calvary but that was because he became our sin bearing sacrifice. Jesus is holy, sin cannot touch him and neither can death. He was not afraid to touch the leper.
In October of 1962, we were out for the fall break and were picking cotton. I had a good day and picked the most I’d ever picked in one day. I was very tired and after supper, I got my bath and went to bed and went to sleep but I woke up around mid-night. My feet and legs had gone to sleep so I moved them but they would not wake up. I got mother out of bed and she fixed a foot tub of hot water and told me to soak my feet be they would not wake up and I had no feeling. She continued to poor boiling water in the tub until she realized what was happening and she jerked my feet out of the tub. She comforted me as only a mother could do and got me back in bed. We meet Dr. Crutcher at his office at 8:00 am. I was a worrier and mother had not said much. He tapped on my knees a couple of times and them said, “Naola, walk him over to the hospital” which she did and that was the last walking I did for a while. They tapped my spine for next three days and put me in quarantine. No one came in or out without a mask and gloves. Mother refused to wear hers. The only two people I saw for the next few days other than doctors and nurses was my mother and daddy. Very few came into the room and no one touched me without gloves. They treated me for spinal meningitis but they never knew for sure what it was. Perhaps I was never contagious but it would not have mattered: my mother would have touched me even if it meant her life and so would my daddy who gave her a couple of breaks during the week. Jesus touched the leper and it did cost Him His life. For Jesus to condescend to our estate, for Him to become a sacrifice for our sins, He had to die. He healed the leper with a touch but He cleansed our sin with His blood. Hallelujah, what a Savior.