And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.
Comment: Leprosy has been a curse and a horrifying problem for years. These days we have treatments for it and reconstructive operations for the disabling deformities. None of that was available in Jesus’ time. Horrified by its nature and its spread, those with the diagnosis once made were cast out of society and managed a meagre unsatisfying existence on the outer edge of society. Relatives used to bring food and scuttle away quickly with no contact. It is not surprising that this leper, maybe having seen Jesus healing others at a distance, or possibly having heard from loving relatives, came for healing. Think about the following points.
- Jesus let the man come close and actually touched him!
- He touched and spoke and the man was healed. And it reads as if signs of the disease were healed at the touch. Important, because it allowed the man to go and seek priestly proof of the ‘miracle’.
- I guess the man did go to the priest, but against Jesus’ request he became a ‘blabber-mouth’ to the extent that Jesus had to flee from the masses of people. We’ll have to see how He dealt with that problem.
Comment: Please help me to make my compassion practical!