Summary: Naaman’s story is one not only of physical healing but it is the story of salvation illustrating the spiritual healing that man finds and the transformation that takes place only in and through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Concerning the story of Naaman an illustrious English professor said, It is “The most effective short story in human literature.” It is far more than just a story of the healing of a man with a skin disease. W.A. Criswell said that this account is “One of the finest, most effective, pungent, illustrative, God’s revelation of the truth of anything you will find in the whole Word of God.” Naaman’s story is one not only of physical healing but it is the story of salvation illustrating the spiritual healing that man finds and the transformation that takes place only in and through the Lord Jesus Christ.
I. He was a Great Man
A. 2 Kings 5:1a “Now Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great and honorable man in the eyes of his master, because by him the LORD had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valor...”
B. Naaman was commander of the entire Syrian army as a result of God allowing him to be victorious in battle. He was a man of the highest bravery and valor and as such had achieved greatness and popularity. Next to the king, he was the foremost man in Syria. By the world’s standards he had was a success. “He was great in himself,great in his position, great in his possessions, great in his achievements, great in his authority: no element of greatness is lacking.”(M.G. Pearse)
C. Note that it was in the eyes of man that Naaman was great. The world measures greatness in terms of wealth and power, knowledge and achievement. The title of “great” is given to those who wield powerful influence over the lives of others – whose thought and speech impact the circles of world opinion. Charismatic individuals who can capture the attention, influence and sway the will of others are often touted as being great.
D. God, however, does not measure greatness The way that man does.
E. Man measures greatness by talents, feats, intelligence, charisma, appearance and achievements.
F. 2 Samuel 16:7 “...God does not see as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
G. No matter how great we may look to others God sees us the way we really are.
II. He was a Great Man with a Great Disease
A. 2 Kings 5:1b “but he was a leper.”
B. "But" -a three-letter conjunction. That small word changes everything.
C. Naaman in spite of his greatness was infected with the dreaded and incurable disease of leprosy.
D. Mycobacterium leprae, commonly known as leprosy has terrified humanity since ancient times and is still a major health problem throughout the world. Its symptoms start in the skin and peripheral nervous system (outside the brain and spinal cord), then spread to other parts, such as the hands, feet, face, and earlobes. Patients with leprosy experience disfigurement of the skin and bones, twisting of the limbs, and curling of the fingers to form the characteristic claw hand. Facial changes include thickening of the outer ear and collapsing of the nose. Leprosy destroys nerve endings that carry pain signals; therefore patients with advanced leprosy experience a total loss of physical pain. When these people cannot sense touch or pain, they tend to injure themselves or be unaware of injury caused by an outside agent. In fact, some leprosy patients have had their fingers eaten by rats in their sleep because they were totally unaware of it happening; the lack of pain receptors could not warn them of the danger.
E. Leprosy did not kill, but neither did it seem to end. Instead, it lingered for years, causing the tissues to degenerate and deforming the body. It spread throughout the body, until the whole person was filthy —bloated, pimpled, and scabbed. It is a vivid picture of man's ruined, utterly rained, lost condition as a result of sin. -Dr. Alan Gillen, Biblical Leprosy: Shedding Light on the Disease that Shuns, The Genesis of Germs, Master Books.
F. All of us have been contaminated with the highly infectious spiritual disease called sin which have infected all of humanity.
G. Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned”
H. Like leprosy, sin starts out small but then spreads, leading to other sins and causing great damage to our relationship with God and others. But unlike leprosy not only does sin damage our spiritual sensitivity, sin is deadly. (Romans 6:23)
III. He was a Great Man with a Great Disease needing a Great Cure.
A. Naaman needed a cure for his disease of leprosy, but there was no known cure. All the money on earth could not buy healing. All the works he could perform would not earn a moments reprieve from the ravages of leprosy. Not a single physician in all of Syria could cure the leper.