Smith cancer “Pray for me” “My disease is not as bad as some I have
we never feel so helpless when we see the struggles of those who have incurable
ailments and disease. They desire their health, but it is often lost
permanently. Jesus handles a hopeless case and teaches us the important of
there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying
unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 41And Jesus, moved
with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him,
I will; be thou clean. 42And as soon
as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was
cleansed. 43And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away;
44And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to
any man: but go thy way, show thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing
those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. 45But
he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the
matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was
without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter.
in Matt 8:1-4
he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. 2And,
behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou
canst make me clean. 3And Jesus put forth his hand, and
touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And
immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4And Jesus saith unto him, See
thou tell no man; but go thy way, show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift
that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.
The miracle is designed to gain a reaction among the priests.
was especially bad because:
It was repulsive to
all who saw the person –
the skin lesions are few and small, with only a few bacteria present in each.
leprosy, the more severe form of the disease, the lesions may be much more
widespread and contain many leprosy bacteria.
leprosy progresses, hard nodules and folds of skin may form on the face and the
nose may collapse, giving a person a characteristic lion like appearance –
slowly progressing and intractable disease characterized by subcutaneous nodules
scabs or cuticular crusts and white shining spots appearing to be deeper than
Other signs are (1)
that the hairs of the affected part turn white and (2) that later there is a
growth of “quick raw flesh.” This disease in an especial manner rendered its
victims unclean; even contact with a leper defiled whoever touched him, so while
the cure of other diseases is called healing, that of leprosy is called
It was incurable by human means -
the only strategy for preventing the spread of leprosy is treatment of
of a test to detect infection with the leprosy bacterium before signs and
symptoms appear would bolster this strategy.
vaccine developed to fight tuberculosis, which is caused by a bacterium closely
related to the leprosy bacterium, appears to offer some protection against
the vaccine is not very effective against tuberculosis itself, scientists hope
that improved antituberculosis vaccines currently being developed will also
offer protection against leprosy. In addition, they are continuing to search for
a vaccine directed specifically against leprosy.
It was isolating - lepers were confined outside the city limits -
many times to the city dump - probably
could find food and other things there.
It would cause you to become unclean ceremonially if you touched a
leper (even if you didn’t catch the disease).
It was the physical counterpart to the spiritual problem of sin. It
was the model disease for sin. That
is why when a leper is healed it is called a cleansing instead of a healing.
When a leper was healed he was to go to the priest and be pronounced
clean before reentering society.
Not since Elisha healed Naaman the Syrian in 2 Kings 5: had someone
been healed of leprosy.
Mark 1:38, after the disciples come to Jesus to tell Him that "Everyone is
looking for him," Jesus tells them that He came here to preach. 38And
he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I
may preach there also: for therefore came I forth. There will be
something that happens in the miracle that will relate back to this.
So, don’t forget this statement.
miracle follows the sermon on the mount in Matthew’s gospel.
In the sermon on the mount, Jesus had said in Matt 5:17,
“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come
to abolish, but to fulfill.” Then right after the sermon, a leper comes
up to Jesus and He touches him, which is a violation of the Law.
Perhaps that is significant.
Ray Stedman has some very good observations on this passage:
I think this indicates something of an awareness on the leper’s part of
a divine purpose there may have been in his affliction.
It may perhaps be difficult for some of us to handle the concept, but the
Scriptures are very clear that sometimes God wills us to be sick. Not that this
is the expression of his ultimate desire for men, but that, given the
circumstances in which we now live and the fallen nature of humanity, there are
times when God wills for his children to pass through physical affliction.
You see numerous examples of this in the Scriptures. Paul came before the
Lord and asked three times for the removal of a physical "thorn in the flesh". Finally the answer
came, "My grace is sufficient for you."
Paul understood that God wanted him to put up with it,
learn how to handle it by the grace of God. So it is clear that it is not the
teaching of Scripture that everybody must be healed.
This leper is a case in point. Evidently he sensed some purpose in this,
and when he said, "If you will, you can make me clean," he did not
mean by that, "If you’re in a good mood at present..." He meant,
rather, "If it is not out of line with the purpose of God, if it is not
violating some cosmic program God is working out, then you can make me
He does not doubt Jesus’ power, and he submits to His will. He submits to the person of God.
We need to do the same. We
are to know God can do whatever He
wants and trust Him. If He is
willing, He will. We just have to
trust in the goodness of God.
The leper models a humble approach and makes a humble request. This is
actually the language of worship - bowing down, kneeling, etc. Jesus accepts it.
Verse 41 says, “Moved
The verb means to "move the bowels."
And it came to mean, "to move with compassion."
You might say that to not have compassion equals "spiritual
Jesus says, “I am willing, be cleansed.” Going back to what Stedman
said, Jesus’ statement, “I am willing” is like a green light from God. It
says the time has come for the healing to occur. Whatever purposes the leprosy
may have served, it has been accomplished, and the time was come to set it
He reached out his hand and touched the leper.
Jesus doesn’t always lay hands on those that He is healing.
When He does, we ought to ask if it has significance. What is the
Were you supposed to touch a leper? No. That would make you unclean.
Haggai 2: If one
bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread,
or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests
answered and said, No. 13Then said Haggai, If one that is
unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests
answered and said, It shall be unclean
talks about becoming unclean by touching something unclean.
If a doctor scrubs down, puts on his gown and gloves and then shakes
hands with someone on the way to the operating room, does he make the other
person sterile? Of course not.
The only way you can touch someone or something unclean and not become
unclean yourself is if you make the other person or thing clean. You can’t both stay the same.
There is only one person who can transfer cleanness. God. When Jesus
touched the leper and healed the leper, he was making another claim to deity.
Jesus told the former leper to "tell
no man and show himself to the priest."
He wanted the man to keep his healing a secret. Scholars often talk about
something called the “Messianic Secret” in the Gospel of Mark. The liberal German scholars said Jesus didn’t want people
he healed to tell others that He was the Messiah, because Jesus knew He really
wasn’t the Messiah. That is
But if that is not the reason, then why does He often tell people not to
I think there are a couple reasons:
from the context (cf vs. 38) we know that Jesus’ primary purpose was to
preach. He didn’t want the crowds clamoring to Him to be healed. He wanted
them to come to hear His words. If word got out about the healing of a leper, it
would distract from his main purpose.
A second reason that Jesus
didn’t want them to go around proclaiming that He was the Messiah was because
their expectation of the Messiah was that the Messiah was a political deliverer.
The Jews wanted someone who would free them from the Roman rule and set
up a political kingdom. During this advent Jesus’ role was as a Suffering
Messiah who came to serve and to die. He
was going to set up a spiritual kingdom.
So, Jesus didn’t want to use the misunderstood title and substituted
other titles for Himself such as “Son of Man.” As a matter of fact, He’ll
use that title in our next miracle.
It is hard to believe that that someone who benefits from a miraculous
healing by Jesus would turn right around and disobey Him.
But this man did just that. We
don’t know for sure if the man told the priests because the text doesn’t say
that he did or didn’t. I think that he probably did obey the first half of the
command (to show himself to the priest).
We have to remember that he
had been an outcast. If he wanted to re-enter society, he would have had to go
to the priests to be pronounced clean so he could re-enter the community. We do
know for sure that he doesn’t remain silent. Perhaps he was too excited. You
might call it “impulsive proclamation.”
The disobedience is deplorable because it hindered the ministry of the
Lord. So many people were coming to Him to be healed that He couldn’t do what
He really wanted to do, which was to preach (cf. vs 38).
He knew that this would happen. That’s
why He told the leper to be silent.
This is the stated purpose for the miracle in Mark 1:44.
Leprosy was incurable by human ability, so the priests should have
recognized the healing of the leper as a sign that Messiah was present.
This is an announcement to the priests that the Messiah is here. Does
this contradict what we talked about earlier concerning the people looking for a
political Messiah? No. The priests should have been looking for a Savior Messiah,
that is why Jesus didn’t mind them knowing about the cleansing of the leper.
In Matt 11:5 John’s disciples are questioning Jesus to see if He is the
Messiah. Jesus quotes from Isa 35.
Jesus’ response to John the Baptist is look at my works.
They fulfill the prophecies. Healing lepers was one of the signs. Also
cf. Luke 7:22.
They were to do likewise.
1 John 3:16-18
16Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid
down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the
brethren. 17But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother
have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how
dwelleth the love of God in him? 18My little children, let us not
love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 19And
hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
the ex-leper to the priests was as much for the man’s benefit as it was a sign
for the priests.
responded to the man’s faith and healed him.
If there were any doubts in the man as to the identity of Jesus, they
in Mark 1:38 that Jesus said He came here to preach. That was His primary purpose at that point in His ministry.
When the man disobeyed, He forced Jesus to go to a different place to
preach where He was not so well known.
Genuine compassion has no limits. True compassion reaches even to the
lowest level. Compassion is always
necessary when working with people because we all fail.
We make terrible mistakes, commit terrible sins, etc.
It is our natural inclination and the easiest to move toward contempt of
the down and outers (like the Pharisees did).
But we need to move toward compassion, like Jesus did.
When we don’t have compassion, it is because we think that we are
better than others.
We think that they are in
their situation because of some fault of their own and we wouldn’t have done
whatever it was that got them in that position.
So, if we don’t have compassion, the reason may be pride.
The leper said, "If you are willing … " We need to recognize
that God has the ability to heal (or do whatever), but we also need to recognize
that He has the right not to do anything. We need to recognize that we don’t know what is best.
He does. Some people in the Charismatic movement claim that God always
wants to heal us. But Jesus does
not correct the leper when he says, "If you are willing …"
Jesus not only has the ability to save, He has the authority to command.
Therefore, we learn about Jesus’ power as well as his authority.
Faith needs to be followed by obedience.
It is not enough to be just cured or cleansed. The spiritual parallel is
that it is not enough to be saved.
· Obedience is preferred over impulse. Disobedience hinders God’s work.