Summary: This is a first person sermon - through the eyes of the leper that Jesus made whole.
I The Leper
My name isn’t important - no one used it anyway. Leper- That was the only name they knew. This is my story- a lepers story
It all started one day as I was getting ready for work. I noticed a small discolored patch on my right arm. I didn’t think much of it at first but a couple of days later I noticed it was bigger. I knew the stories and I knew the Law- any blemish like this had to be examined by the priest- If it was leprosy- it meant I would loose everything. I remember I was so scared. I hid it for a while but I knew I was breaking the Mosaic Law. So I went to the priest- My worst nightmare came true- It was leprosy- I was cast out, unclean.
Leprosy you see is worse than death. It was torture. I could not go to worship in the Temple. I could not associate with my friends and family. I could not even live in the village. I had to make camp outside the village. When I walked the streets I had to call out Unclean, Unclean to all who were near me. How humiliating those words would become. Shouting out to everyone that I was cursed and unclean. Crowds parted as I drew near. Children laughed at me and threw stones, they mocked my cry of unclean.
Thats not the worst part- I was untouchable- no one would touch me or they would be unclean as well.
Can you imagine the pain of going untouched by human hands. Never feeling the warmth of anothers love or touch. Never clasping the strong hands of friends.
I longed to be wanted and needed. I longed to have friends and children of my own.
I longed to simply have a name - You see why no one cared about my name-
I was simply the Leper.
Until Jesus Came-
I had heard about this man from God. A great prophet like Elijah of old. He went all around this area healing people and teaching them new things. I heard that He had healed the lame and cured the blind. I had even heard that Lepers were cleansed like me. I went to see Him once as He taught - His name was Jesus - a Nazarene. But His teaching was more powerful than you can imagine. When I first saw Him I knew that He had the answer to all my problems but I couldn’t get to Him. He stepped down among the crowd and He was gone.
Then came the day - I heard a the noise of a crowd in the streets ahead of me. Then someone cried out the name Jesus. Jesus was coming. He was here in our own little town. I ran in the direction of the crowd- Unclean I cried as I ran, Unclean. I am not sure really how it happened but the next thing I knew He was standing right in front of me.
I did the only thing I knew to do. I fell on my face in front of Him. I was ashamed to even speak to Him. I was dirty and disfigured a grotesque parody of a man. I could hardly find the voice to speak but I cried out
Lord, If you are willing, you can make me well. I closed my eyes. I guess I expected Him to treat me like everyone else did and walk away disgusted. I knew He could heal me I just couldn’t dare hope that He would. I could hear the jeers of the crowd and the disgust of the people standing near. I listened for his footsteps to pass me by. But I will never ever forget what He did.
He touched Me- I couldn’t believe it as first- He touched me. I had been years since anyone had touched me- But Jesus touched me.
I can still remember the warmth of His hand- the gentle embrace of His fingers on my arm. I looked up from the ground and my eyes met His and there was no disgust, no loathing, no fear- He loved me- I could see it there in His eyes - He loved me.
Then He spoke- I am willing- he said- be cleansed- At first I didn’t notice anything then I looked at my hands- the sores were gone- the two fingers I had lost were back on my hand. Slowly I took the cloths away from my arms and instead of tattered flesh I saw my arms as they had been before the leprosy. Jesus had healed me- He had cleansed every spot from my skin. I fell on my face again before Him and thanked Him and praised Him. But He pulled me to my feat.