12 While He was in one of the cities, behold, there was a man covered with leprosy; and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” 13 And He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately the leprosy left him. 14 And He ordered him to tell no one, “But go and show yourself to the priest and make an offering for your cleansing, just as Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” 15 But the news about Him was spreading even farther, and large crowds were gathering to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.
We’ve all experienced the feelings of guilt that comes from comparing our righteousness to God’s.
We instinctively know that we are not worthy of His love, His mercy, or His grace.
We know that we are guilty sinners and we instinctively understand that we should be punished for the wrongs that we have done.
Everybody feels the weight of sin upon their conscience.
Christians know what it’s like to receive God’s forgiveness, but that doesn’t stop us from feeling that weight of guilt return when we commit sin after salvation.
Sin affects every part of us.
We are corrupt from the inside out.
We can’t help ourselves.
So, why reach out to God?
Why seek His help knowing that we deserve every punishment that’s coming to us?
We sin everyday and can’t stop.
We know we’re guilty and deserve every punishment that God might see fit to administer; so why reach out to Him?
Why ask for His help and mercy?
JC Ryle said
It affects every part of the constitution at once. It brings sores and decay on the skin, corruption into the blood, and rottenness into the bones. It is a living death which no medicine can check or stay.
Leprosy was incurable.
It was highly contagious, and they weren’t sure of all the ways it could be spread.
It was believed that physical contact with a leper was a certain way to catch the disease.
The lepers had to cover themselves, so that they could not be accidently touched by a healthy person.
The person who caught leprosy was an outcast.
They had to separate themselves from the general population.
If they did go into public places, they had to wear coverings and shout as they moved, “Unclean. Unclean.”
The mass of humanity in market places parted like the Red Sea at the cry of the leper.
Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.
This man recognized that Christ could help Him when there was no other way.
He recognized that the only help for the rottenness in his flesh was a touch from the Master’s hand.
He’s like blind Bartemaeus crying out, “Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy upon me.”
This may be his only chance to be cured of this dread disease.
If he lets Christ pass him by, he may never get another chance.
He’s going to die a horrible death, and there’s nothing that he or anybody else can do to stop it.
Jesus said, “I am willing.”
Then he did the unthinkable.
He touched the man.
To touch a leper was not only to risk becoming leprous yourself, but it also brought upon you the stigma of being unclean in the public eye until it was proven that you had not contracted the rot in your own flesh.
Our Lord was unafraid of the most dreaded disease of His day.
Not only did He not fear contracting it, but He cured the man of his own leprosy.