Matthew 8:1, 4
Leprosy during Jesus’ time appeared to have been regarded as unalterable. The scripture only reveals two instances of the cure of this terrible disease. First, in the case of Miriam in (Num. 12:11,12); secondly, Naaman in (II. King 5:1). Both people was made whole by the power of God Almighty. In this sitting we see a man who was diseased and in need of being delivered from leprosy (“…there came a leper”) coming out to meet Jesus. Jesus stated in (Matt.7,7) “Ask, and it shall be given you, seek and ye shall find, knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
No doubt this man had heard that Jesus could heal all manners of sickness. We have learned over the years what Jesus has done for others He will do for us. Christ did not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it. We notice that although Jesus spoke to great multitudes, yet He also cares for the individual. Jesus is not so taken up with the crowd as to have no time for special needs, and we should never forget that all of us have our special needs.
The gospel repeatedly records Jesus speaking to the multitudes and speaking to the individuals as well. We may rest assured that when Jesus speaks it is not the word of experiment (II. King 4:31,35) nor the word of an appeal (I. Kings 17:20) nor the word of dependence on the name of another (Acts 3:6), but the word of direct authority. All Jesus needs to do is just speak the word and it happens. “I will, be thou clean.”
Notice the condition of this man, he was a leper. His disease was one of misfortune. His state of life was deplorable in the extreme. He was a outcast from society. He was shunned as an unclean person and an object of perfect misery. A leper had always been regarded as a type of the sinner in his uncleanness, shame and misery. Let us look at his action. He came to Jesus, doubtless he had heard of previous cures and the very look of Jesus would be enough to draw him to the feet of the friend of the miserable. This man had never seen such love and kindness, this kindness drew him near to our Lord. When a person perceives the grace of our Lord, he must come to Him if he would have eternal life.
We cannot suppose that this man could perceive the full Divinity shining through the array of simple humanity. The apostle Paul declared “God with in Christ reconciling the world unto himself” (I. Cor. 5: 17). The eternal Father was manifest in and through the person of Jesus Christ; Jesus was God manifest in the flesh according to (St. John 1:14) Jesus was the great “I am” in an earthly temple. This leper asked for cleansing, not for money. The apostle Peter said in Acts 3:6 “…silver and gold have we none, but such as I have give I thee in the name of Jesus of Nazareth rise up and walk.”
The leper knew his need, and he sought for the one thing most essential in his life. Yes, the most essential thing in our life is salvation and not healing. “Now, when they heard this, they were pricked in their hearts, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, men and brethren, What shall we do?” (Acts 2: 37, 38) The leper revealed his faith in the power of Jesus Christ; his plea was for Jesus’ to make him whole.
This setting reveals a brotherly touch. This is one of those single actions that send a flash of light into the nature of Christ. No one else would defile himself by touching this leper. Jesus had to “stretch forth” his hand in order to touch this sick man. Jesus touch the polluted and was not polluted himself. James 5:14,15 declared “Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”
Notice Jesus added these words “Be thou made clean”. Jesus’ language to the leper is typical. Jesus saves by cleansing us from all our sins (I. John 1:9). There is no delay, no slow process, but immediately the cure is complete. He is perfectly successful, his works prove his authority, and he is able to save to the highest degree, both leper and sinner.