Mark: According to
Leprosy and Sin
40 Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, Kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, If You are willing, You can make me Clean.”
Leprosy is a slowly developing, progressive disease caused by Mycobacterium Leprae bacteria which damages the skin and nervous system. Early symptoms begin in the cooler areas of the body, such as hands, feet, lower legs and arms. They are painless ulcers, skin lesions of flat pale areas of skin, and to make matters worse, eye damage is not unusual which results in reduced blinking. In the later stages of the disease, large ulcerations, loss of digits, skin nodules, and in most, facial disfigurement. It is a highly contagious disease that required people in Bible times to be separated from their communities and families. In the Bible it is a both a physical disease and is synonymous with sin.
Sin is like a leprosy in that over time it slowly eats away at the person. At first, that which seemed innocent, grows into a terrible condition that numbs us to the Father’s love, fills us with guilt and disfigures us until we hardly resemble the person we used to be before we became infected with sin.
The garden of Eden was a beautiful and pristine home to our first parents, Adam and Eve. Then, upon sinning, the earth slowly became transformed until today, even with all the beauty there is in nature, it hardly resembles what it was like before sin. It is the same with you and me. As sin has run its course it has transformed us from the kingly stature of Adam who was made in the likeness of God to a people subject to disease and eventual death.
“Now a leper came to Him (Jesus) imploring Him, Kneeling down to Him and saying to Him.” This acts like a person that is desperate for healing, desperate to be made whole, recreated into something that they cannot attain on their own.”
The leper had faith and knew that Jesus could heal him, but the reality is, he is just a leper, an outcast of society, even with his faith, he was willing to abide by what Jesus said or did, so he humbly asks: “If You are willing, You can make me clean.”
The leper, wherever he went had to shout “Unclean, unclean.” The people upon hearing would then make way for the leper or implore the leper to take another way. Lepers were expected to fend for themselves and very little if any compassion was shone to them.
“Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, I am willing be cleansed.”
Here, Jesus breaks with protocol, by breaking away from the traditions of man, and showed tender compassion upon this poor suffering man. There is nothing like the personal touch of a friend of Christ that goes out of his or her way to personally touch one that has been infected and crippled by the effects of sin. Nothing softens the heart more or shows our love and compassion as Christ showed than when we reach out and touch them with simple acts of love and mercy. Often all the person suffering from the effects of sin is looking for, is for someone to deal tenderly and lovingly toward them. Sin is a cruel and dangerous place. But where Christ’s true followers are, where His true disciples live, work, and worship, should all be places of healing, where the members reach out with love, mercy and kindness, helping all that are suffering under the burden of sin.
The simple touch offered with love and sympathy can do so much to heal the sin sick soul. “And as soon as He had spoken, Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed.”
If each Christian in humble service would open their hearts and souls to those that suffer from the penalty of sin, how much more the Holy Spirit could do to relieve the suffering of the one that is struggling with the addiction of sin. How much more appealing would Christianity seem if those who professed to be Christian, stretch their hand out in love to relieve the suffering of those under the burden of sin.
43 And he strictly warned 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 priests, and offer for your cleansing those things, which Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
I can understand, this poor man who had lived with a death sentence, the death sentence of Leprosy was suddenly made well. I too would want to shout from the mountain top what had been done. But Christ said, tell no one, in fact go show yourselves to the priests for only the priests could pronounce one clean of leprosy. I’m going to list two factors as to reasons why, Christ desired this former leper to keep quiet.
- If the priests in Jerusalem heard that Jesus had healed this man, there was a chance the priests would not have certified him cleansed. There was already enough animosity built up from Jesus first healing on the Sabbath, (John chapter 5) along with the cleansing of the sanctuary, which greatly affected the checking accounts of the priests that the chances were good that they would have rejected this former leper. Let us hope that all of us who call ourselves Christians do not have the same attitude as the priests had toward the wonderful works of God in the heart and lives of those who come to Christ.
- Jesus saw within this man the sincerity and faith necessary for Christ to heal him. If the many leprosy victims in the region should hear of the power of Jesus to release them from this terrible disease, they doubtless would flock to Him for healing. Not out of the conviction of who Jesus is but just to be made whole. In order for Christ to cleanse us from sin, there has to be a sincerity by the one requesting to be made whole. Thousands would flock for healing and then continue their old life style, not fully understanding the forgiveness necessary to be truly forgiven. This does not mean heaven isn’t willing or able to forgive all, but for forgiveness to be real, repentance must be sincere.
In order for Christ to cleanse us from sin, there has to be sincerity by the one requesting to be made whole. Thousands would flock for healing and then continue their old life style, not fully understanding the forgiveness necessary to be truly forgiven.
This does not mean heaven isn’t willing or able to forgive all, but for forgiveness to be real, repentance must be sincere. All though God offers forgiveness before we repent, only those that are truly sincere are truly forgiven.
If I cheat on my wife with another woman and then ask her for forgiveness only to do it again, was my repentance or confession really sincere? Probably not! My actions after forgiveness must demonstrate my sincerity. Then and only then can I really truly expect my wife to forgive me.
- Ok, let’s look at one more reason. Jesus wanted to avoid creating a reputation for Himself as a mere wonder-worker. Preaching or rather teaching the principles of heaven were more important to him then performing miracles. Studying the matter of miracles at length it would appear the miracles that took place were used to reinforce the principles he was attempting to teach.
Although forgiven and restored it does not eliminate our need to follow the law. The law of God still applies. The law will not save, but points out where we fail to measure up to the character of God.
45 “However, he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the matter, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in deserted places; and they came to Him from every direction.”
Jesus wanted more than anything to help those in need and knew that undo attention would cause the hatred of the priests, rulers, and Pharisees to only increase, which could and would put his life in danger.
There was another reason as well. All though the area of Galilee was less populated, it was still under Roman rule. And with all the constant talk of making Jesus their king, and the crowds that flocked all around Jesus, this could arouse the suspicion of the Roman authorities which could threaten both His mission and His life. Yet despite no longer being able to preach in the cities and villages, people continued to flock to Jesus, to listen to his teaching and to be healed.