Summary: Leprosy was a dreaded disease, that led to a slow and painful death apart from divine healing. Jesus touched a leper, bringing healing and hope to his life. Leprosy pictures sin, and the saved have experienced such a touch from the Lord.
A Life Changing Touch
Mark 1: 40-45
Today we read of one of the greatest miracles Jesus performed while here on earth. Leprosy was a dreaded disease without a known cure. Apart from a divine touch of God, those who contracted the disease faced a slow and painful death. There is only one other account in the Gospels where a leper was healed, and there Jesus healed ten lepers, Luke 17:12-19. The healing of leprosy was so miraculous, it was one of the signs Jesus used to proclaim His deity as the Christ. Matthew 11:5 – The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
The physical suffering of leprosy was beyond imagination, but the psychological suffering was intense as well. Lepers were not allowed to come into contact with others, living a lonely, isolated life. They were required by law to wear a cloth over their mouths, tear their clothing so their infirmity was easily recognized, and cry “unclean” in the presence of others. The life of a leper was difficult to say the least, with little compassion from those around them.
While we are not dealing with leprosy in a literal sense, it always pictures sin. We too were once much like the man in our text. We stood in need of a touch from the Lord, living a life of loneliness and isolation due to the sin in our lives. Let’s look in on the details of the miraculous moment as we consider: A Life Changing Touch.
I. The Condition of the Leper (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. Keep in mind the loneliness and pain this man must have felt from day to day. Each day he woke to more of the same. His condition continued to deteriorate, and he likely wondered if he would be healed. This day would be different however. There was a commotion among the people. Jesus was in their midst. Notice:
A. His Eagerness – And there came a leper to him, beseeching him. This has the idea of “calling to one’s side, a summons for help.” He was in a desperate situation and he was determined to get to Jesus. He had no hope apart from a touch from the Lord. Maybe there were those who scoffed and scolded him to get in his place, but their words fell on deaf ears. He was determined to get to Jesus.
The world and Satan would have you believe there is no hope for you; that your life isn’t worth the effort and that you are beyond help, condemned to remain in your condition. This world wants to keep you bound in despair. We are not worthy to come before the Lord, but He is the only One who can help. Let me encourage you to be as the leper and come unto the Lord calling Him to your side for deliverance!
B. His Expression (40) – And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him. He somehow knew Jesus was his only hope. He came in an attitude of worship, giving honor unto the Lord. This leper had broken the law by being in a crowd of clean people, coming to within arm’s length of the Lord and bowing in His presence, but he was determined.