We read in Mark 1 where Jesus had been preaching throughout all of Galilee, healing “all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.” There was a leper who heard of the great and various cures done by the Lord. This leper knew if he could get within reach of such a physician, he would be healed. This leper had the same needs then that we have today; let us look at what his needs were and what ours are now.
Mark 1:40 says, “There came a leper to him.” The word “leper” was a terrible word to be said of you. Lepers were shut out of the holy place. They were separated from fellowship with those who were pure. They could only fellowship with their own kind. He knew he was a leper; he made no attempt to justify himself or conceal the truth about himself.
When a sinner is convicted of his sins, it is such a shock to himself, it becomes a revelation.
We see that no human help could meet his need. He had to walk around crying “unclean”; with this, he felt his prospects were very dark and hopeless. He knew his disease was incurable.
Sin is a plague in the heart that cannot be touched for healing by man. Psalm 60:11 reads, “Vain is the help of man.”
His need drove him to Jesus. Verse 40 says the leper came “beseeching him.” His need was great, and his cry came from within, out through his mouth, for the Almighty Deliverer to hear. When the need is great, it is easy to be earnest; it is deeply felt.
He came with humility and belief. He had a guilt, uncleanness and a helplessness, and with his stiffened knees he was gladly kneeling down at the feet of the Lord. He didn’t have to ask the Lord to overlook anything; he knew that Jesus already knew.
“If thou wilt thou canst make me clean” (verse 40). This leper was quite confident that the Lord could save him. Genesis 18:4 points out that “He willeth not the death of any.”
The heart of Jesus was “moved with compassion” (verse 40). The earnest, humble, believing cry from the leper of his need moved the living water that flows out of Jesus.
The love from Jesus for us took him from heaven to earth, and from a manger to the tree at Calvary. Hebrews 4:15 describes Jesus as a “high priest touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” Because of this Jesus wept as he did in John 11:35.
“He put forth his hand and touched him” (verse 41). This was the first kindly touch the man had felt since the day he became a leper. The sinner today can be touched if he will come and kneel before the Lord.
There is no one or nothing that can touch the aching heart or soothe the sorrowing soul like Jesus can. Jesus has touched humanity by his incarnation that we might through faith be a part of his divine nature. The heart of Jesus is tender; come to him. His hand is mighty; trust in him. His arm is not too short that it cannot save you.
The result for the leper, that he was made free, will be the same for us. In verse 41 Jesus says, ‘I will, be thou clean’ … The leprosy departed from him.” No earthly surgeon’s knife can separate you from your sins. There is only one physician who can heal our spirit; he is our heavenly physician (John 3:18).
The man was cleansed (verse 42). We are clean from the dominion of sin, which removed the polluting power of Satan. The word of Christ the man heard and believed was the means of his full and perfect recovery. Has Jesus “spoke and it was done” in your life? He told the disciples, “Now are ye clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” 1 Peter 1:22 reads, “Ye have purified your soul in obeying the truth.”
Mark 1:42 notes that “as soon as he had spoken, he (the man) was made clean.” We are justified the moment we believe. So are you still walking around crying “unclean,” or are you walking around praising the Lord for love and saving grace?
Joseph Merriman is pastor of First Baptist Church in Greenfield.