As we continue to look at examples of Jesus’ power over sickness, let’s look at him healing leprosy. The term leprosy in the context of the Bible labels a spectrum of infectious skin diseases. Because of the contagious potential, a person with leprosy was deemed “unclean” under Old Testament ceremonial laws and was disqualified from participating in worship in the Tabernacle or the Temple. Lepers had to live away from other people outside the camp, and whenever people would come near, they had to cry out, “Unclean! Unclean!” (Leviticus 13:1-46).
So in this miracle, Jesus reaches out to someone literally on the margins of society. And not only that, but actually touches him! Everyone understood that touching a leper would transfer the uncleanness to themselves. It was to be avoided at all costs. Instead, by Jesus’ power, cleanness was transferred from Jesus to the leper.
Luke, a doctor, had seen and likely treated many similar patients over the years. Can you imagine what he thought as he was writing down the story of this miracle? No doubt he had a big grin on his face at Jesus’ ability to heal in an instant with just a touch.
By interacting with the leper, Jesus showed that He had compassion for those who are despised due to our suffering. He reached out to physically touch him but He also reached out to heal him. Both aspects show that Jesus gives blessings to people who do not deserve it. The meaning of God’s grace. Salvation is a gift from God through Jesus, not a reward for good behavior or something we can do.
Through this healing “procedure” Jesus was also restoring the man to his community. Jesus tells the cleansed leper to show himself to the priest so that he could be officially pronounced clean. This would allow him to reintegrate into society and regain access to the temple.
Each of us, by nature, is a kind of spiritual leper. Sin disqualifies us from communion both with God and with man. Our sin disease is way more than skin deep. Through this miracle, God shows us that each of us can be made clean through faith in Christ. It's a glorious picture of redemption that God has made available to anyone.
In what ways have you experienced your own sin damaging your relationship with God and others? How does this miracle confirm that Jesus’ salvation is for the outcast and the needy?