Summary: Jesus redeems the unlovable, untouchable and unreachable in our society. He loves sinners but He does not want them to remain unclean like the leprous man.
Now a leper came to Him, imploring (ðáñáêáëÝù - continually calling for help) Him, kneeling down ( falling down on knees continually) to Him and saying to Him, "If You are willing, You can make me clean. (êáèáñßîù to make clean)"
Then Jesus, moved with compassion, (óðëáã÷íßîïìáé to be moved with compassion) stretched out (Ýêôåßíáò to stretch out) His hand and touched (ἄðôïìáé to touch) him, and said to him, "I am willing; be cleansed. (êáèáñßîù APM Be clean!)" As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed. (Not healed but cleansed)
And He strictly warned (ÝìâñéìÜïìáé to scold, censure, warn sternly) him and sent him away at once, and said to him, "See that you say nothing to anyone; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing those things which Moses commanded, as a testimony to them." However, he went out and began to proclaim (êáèáñßîù to make clean) it freely, and to spread the matter (äéáϕçìßæù to make known by mouth, to spread), so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in deserted places; and they came to Him from every direction.
A Redeeming Ministry
Introduction – A Heavy Price for Sin
The price Jesus paid for our redemption was terrible indeed. When we think of the extreme suffering He endured to purchase our freedom from sin’s penalty, our hearts should overflow with love for Him.
An orphaned boy was living with his grandmother when their house caught fire. The grandmother, trying to get upstairs to rescue the boy, perished in the flames. The boy’s cries for help were finally answered by a man who climbed an iron drainpipe and came back down with the boy hanging tightly to his neck.
Several weeks later, a public hearing was held to determine who would receive custody of the child. A farmer, a teacher, and the town’s wealthiest citizen all gave the reasons they felt they should be chosen to give the boy a home. But as they talked, the lad’s eyes remained focused on the floor. Then a stranger walked to the front and slowly took his hands from his pockets, revealing severe scars on them. As the crowd gasped, the boy cried out in recognition. This was the man who had saved his life. His hands had been burned when he climbed the hot pipe. With a leap the boy threw his arms around the man’s neck and held on for dear life. The other men silently walked away, leaving the boy and his rescuer alone. Those marred hands had settled the issue.
Many voices are calling for our attention. Among them is the One whose nail-pierced hands remind us that He has rescued us from sin and its deadly consequences. To Him belongs our love and devotion.
There are cries everywhere for help. When we finally realize the depths of our depravity and desperation, we will cry out to God.
A PERSONAL DESPERATION 40
The leprous man knew he had a problem. He was unable to fix it himself. No doctor could cure him. He was a desperate man!
Notice four things regarding his personal desperation:
There was the danger of his disease. No one wanted to be around him. He was untouchable, unlovable and unforgettable. Leprosy was a picture of sin. We are infected by it. It is a dangerous disease.
We see the disgrace of his disease. Standing away from people, lepers were commanded to cry out concerning their uncleanness. It was a family and permanent disgrace. One was forsaken and expected to live in communities of lepers. Sin is a disgrace to the image of God.
Notice the disgust of his disease. Again, no one wanted to be around him. He stunk and was repulsive. If we saw ourselves the way God sees us we would understand how repulsive we are to God. We are disgustingly sinful.
I have heard it said that beauty is only skin deep but ugliness goes all the way through. Well, this is true of leprosy. It is here we see the depth of his disease. Leprosy was beyond skin deep. Digits, noses and toes were often lost by this dreaded disease. For us, sin is worse than leprosy. It costs us eternity unless we experience the Great Physician.
In his book, Homesick for God, Joel Gregory described a horrible pit from which Tony Chain was rescued.
Tony and J. R. Hounchell went hunting the first day of duck season in 1981. They were in an area called Duck Flats, northeast of Anchorage, Alaska. Hours before, 10 feet of tidal water had covered the gully where they anchored their boat. As they made their way through the thick mud, Tony’s left wader stuck fast. He struggled to free himself, but both feet became stuck. Every effort to free himself only caused him to sink deeper.