(1) When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. (2) And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thought canst make me clean. (3) And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him saying, I will; be though clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. (Matthew 8:1-3 KJV)
A couple of things stand out to me in these three short verses. First, let us take a look at this leper. Back in these times if you had leprosy you had to sit outside of the city gates, and if anyone was to come near you had to yell out Unclean, Unclean!! The scriptures say that Jesus had just come down from the mountain and that a great crowd or multitude of people followed him. What stands out to me the most about this leprous man was his faith. You must understand that if you had leprosy you were not only considered unclean, but you were also considered an outcast. Not only did you have to announce what you were. You also lived a life of isolation and rejection. So for this leprous man just the fact that he was willing to face ridicule and scorn from those around him shows that he had faith that Jesus could heal him. It’s not easy going to the Lord when we’re spotted and unclean, especially when we have to make our way through a throng of people just to reach him. This leper could of had the thought of why even try. Or he could of had the mindset of this is how it will always be. How many of us have shied away from Jesus because we felt like this leper unclean and perhaps maybe even a little unworthy. There was so many people vying for Jesus’s attention and each and every one of them had there own set of issues and needed their own miracle. How easy would it have been to just give up. No, instead the scripture says that he did one thing that I believe caught the attention of Jesus. He worshipped him right where he was! Meaning, he worshipped him in spite of the fact that he was unclean, in spite of the fact that there was probably some around him who may have felt that he had no right to bother Jesus because he wasn’t clean enough to even approach him in the first place. What I love the most about him worshiping Jesus was that he didn’t wait until after he was healed. In other words he gave Jesus his praise before any healing ever took place, and guess what. He caught the attention of Jesus! All because he was willing to worship at the place where he was. It’s not easy to worship when everyone around you can see your dirt. It’s easy to worship God when our flaws aren’t so noticeable, but what about when your the town drunk, or the biggest drug dealer around. What about the pedophile or the man who beats on women? What about the mentally ill. The reason I brought these examples up because sometimes we can fool ourselves and be like I know that I’m not perfect but at least I’m not like that leper. Unclean is unclean no matter how you disguise it. Another thing about this leper is that he asked for what he wanted. He worshipped and then he asked! In the asking he was acknowledging the fact that Jesus can do it. We generally don’t tend to ask for anything if we don’t believe that the person we’re asking can deliver.
This also gives me a characteristic of Jesus that I never noticed before. In verse 3 it says that Jesus put forth his hand and touched him!!!! That might not mean much to some, but for others who has been where this leper was it means a lot. Imagine living a life where no one wanted to touch you because your HIV positive, or your a bipolar schizophrenic, or your autistic. The fact that Jesus touched him not only shows Jesus compassion towards us. It also shows that he’s not afraid of touching that thing in our lives that other people shy away from. The unclean things in our lives does not make us unapproachable to him. In fact Jesus welcomes the chance to touch you right now. Right where you are!!!