Summary: Lepers, Gentiles, and women were considered outcasts by many Jewish people, especially the Pharisees. Many Pharisees would pray each morning, “I give thanks that I am a man and not a woman, a Jew and not a Gentile, a free-man and not a slave
A CURE FOR THE UNCLEAN
Taken from “Handfuls on Purpose”
Vol I, pg 246 in Seed Thoughts
SONG: “He Touched Me”
Bill Gaither wrote a wonderful song in 1963 entitled, "He Touched Me." Listen to the words:
Shackled by a heavy burden
neath a load of guilt and shame
then the hand of Jesus touched me
And now I am no longer the same.
Since I met this blessed Savior
Since he cleansed and made me whole
I will never cease to praise him
I'll shout it while eternity rolls.
He touched me, O, he touched me,
And, O, the joy that floods my soul!
Something happened and now I know
He touched me and made me whole.
(v. 1) “When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him.”
(v. 2) “And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.”
(v. 3) “And Jesus put forth [his] hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”
(v. 40) “And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.”
(v. 41) “And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth [his] hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.”
(v. 42) “And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed.”
(v. 12) “And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on [his] face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.”
(v. 13) “And he put forth [his] hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him.”
Lepers, Gentiles, and women were considered outcasts by many Jewish people, especially the Pharisees. Many Pharisees would pray each morning, “I give thanks that I am a man and not a woman, a Jew and not a Gentile, a free-man and not a slave.” W.W.W.
Notice the acts of Jesus in Matthew 8. There is the cleansing of a leper, the healing of the centurion’s servant [Gentile], and the healing Peter’s mother-in-law.
This is fitly recorded with the first of Christ’s miracles, 1. Because the leprosy was looked upon, among the Jews, as a particular mark of God’s displeasure: hence we find Miriam, Gehazi, and Uzziah, smitten with leprosy for some one particular sin; and therefore Christ, to show that he came to turn away the wrath of God, by taking away sin, began with the cure of a leper. 2. Because this disease, as it was supposed to come immediately from the hand of God, so also it was supposed to be removed immediately by his hand, and therefore it was not attempted to be cured by physicians, but was put under the inspection of the priests, the Lord’s ministers, who waited to see what God would do. M. H.
I. WHO HE WAS --> “A leper”
A. Diseased, not sound
1. William Barclay describes what a leper looks like:
The whole appearance of the face is changed, till the man loses his human appearance and looks, as the ancients said, "like a lion or a satyr". The nodules grow larger and larger. They ulcerate. become staring. The voice becomes hoarse, and the breath wheezes because of the ulceration of the vocal chords. The hands and the feet always ulcerate. Slowly the sufferer becomes a mass of ulcerated growths. The average course of the disease is nine years, and it ends in mental decay, coma, and ultimately death. The sufferer becomes utterly repulsive -- both to himself and to others.
2. Ron Ritchie (Peninsula Bible Church) describes leprosy thus:
"The disease which we today call leprosy generally begins with pain in certain areas of the body. Numbness follows. Soon the skin in such spots loses its original color. It gets to be thick, glossy, and scaly. It fact, the affliction is called leprosy because it makes the skin scaly (the Greek word lepos, meaning scale). As the sickness progresses, the thickened spots become dirty sores and ulcers due to poor blood supply. The skin, especially around the eyes and ears, begins to bunch, with deep furrows between the swellings, so that the face of the afflicted individual begins to resemble that of a lion. Fingers drop off or are absorbed. Toes are affected similarly. Eyebrows and eyelashes drop off. By this time one can see that the person in this pitiable condition is a leper."
3. Leprosy in its advanced stages is not a pretty sight. Nodules in a leper’s skin swell & ulcerate. And from those ulcers come a foul-smelling odor. Nerve deterioration often results in loss of fingers & toes, even ears & noses. All of the hair falls off around the eyes, leaving the leper with a perpetual stare. Various parts of the body can swell so much that the leper looks malformed.