August 12 I Friday
“When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed Him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before Him and said, ‘Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.’” —Matthew 8:1-2
After Jesus finished the Sermon on the Mount, He was walking down a mountain and a crowd gathered around Him. Among the crowd was a man with leprosy who knelt before Jesus saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man, saying “I am willing, be clean!” Immediately, the man was cleansed of his leprosy (Matthew 8:1-3). To understand the depth of what happened, we have to recognize that in the New Testament, leprosy was like a death sentence, not just physically, but socially, emotionally and even spiritually. When a person was discovered to have leprosy in their town, the priest would announce their condition to the whole community. The person would have to tear their garments and cover their head. If anybody approached them, they would have to cry out, “Unclean! Unclean!”
It was forbidden for a leper to enter into a crowd, but this man, in a desperate condition, took a great risk to get before Jesus. Maybe this leper was filled with something that he had not felt in decades—hope. Hope that there was someone who could actually transform his life, someone who could actually bring healing to his condition. With great risk, he comes to Jesus in faith and addresses Him as “Lord.” Then, he says, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” By faith, he assumes that Jesus is able to make him well, but he does not presume to know if Jesus is willing or the will of God in the situation. He laid his request before Jesus and awaited a reply. Jesus noticed the man’s faith. The Gospel of Mark records, “Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I am willing; be cleansed’” (Mark 1:41, NKJV).
Jesus could have simply waved His hand over the man and declared him clean or spoken into his life to cleanse from the disease; but instead, He touched the man, something strictly forbidden, to heal him. The impact of Jesus’s touch and words cleansed the man immediately. He is brought back to wholeness. Then, Jesus had a task for this man. He sent him to see the priests, to both validate his cleansing and his restoration back to society in accordance with the Old Testament law. Additionally, Jesus stated that he was to go to the priest as a testimony to them.
The law is powerless to make us clean, but Jesus demonstrates His power and authority to transform our condition, to bring about real and lasting change—to make what is unclean, clean—to make us whole again.
Prayer: Lord God, thank You for Your compassion to come and make the unclean, clean, and to restore us into wholeness through You alone. Praise You!