Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.”
In Luke 5, a leper came to Jesus. Now, lepers weren’t supposed to have any contact with non-lepers, but this man didn’t care about the rules. He approached Jesus because he was desperate for healing. Look at verse 12: “When he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, ‘Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.’” This leper knew that Jesus had the ability to heal him. The question was not about Jesus’s power; the leper’s question was about His willingness. Did Jesus have the compassion to heal him?
Jesus answered that question by what He did next. “He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’ And immediately the leprosy left him” (v. 13). Mark’s account says that Jesus was “moved with compassion” (1:41). Aren’t you glad we serve a Savior who can be moved with compassion? Something welled up inside of Jesus, and He wanted to meet that leper’s need. He said, “I am willing.” Then He reached out and healed him.
Now understand what Jesus was doing when He healed this leper. He risked becoming infected too. If it were me, I’d be grabbing for the hand sanitizer before interacting with somebody who had leprosy. I wouldn’t want to contaminate myself. But Jesus not only risked physical infection, He was also willing to become ceremonially unclean. As soon as Jesus touched this diseased man, according to the Law He would be unclean too. Anybody who touched a leper was unclean.
This is a great picture of what Jesus does for us. Even though Jesus was the sinless, perfect Son of God, He was willing to become contaminated for us. He was willing to reach out and take our sin and bear it upon Himself so He could provide us with the righteousness of God.
What Jesus did next was strange. “He ordered him [the leper] to tell no one” (v. 14). Obviously, Jesus didn’t know anything about public relations. I mean, if you heal somebody aren’t you supposed to tell everyone about it so you will get a big following? Jesus knew that miracles in and of themselves don’t convert anybody, so He ordered the man to tell no one.
Notice what Jesus said next to the man: “Go and show yourself to the priest and make an offering for your cleansing, just as Moses commanded, as a testimony to them” (v. 14). Leviticus 14 said if somebody is healed from leprosy, he needs to tell the priest so the priest can verify the healing. So the former leper went to see the priest. Remember, nobody had been healed from leprosy for hundreds of years. Imagine the priest looking at the scars that proved the man had been a leper but was now completely free from the disease. This healing was Jesus’s way of announcing to the priest that the Messiah had arrived.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Jesus, the Perfect Healer” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2016.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.