Authority Over Leprosy: Matthew 8:1-4
“1) When Jesus came down from the mountain, large crowds followed Him. 2) And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” 3) Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4) And Jesus *said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go, show yourself to the priest and present the offering that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” Matthew 8:1-4
When Jesus came down from the mountain, great crowds followed His. Suddenly, the parade was interrupted by a man with leprosy.
According to Leviticus 13:45-46, a person with leprosy became a social outcast. He lived alone with his dwelling outside the camp. When in public, his clothes were torn and the hairs of his head were uncovered. As he walked about, he would cover his mustache with his hands and cry out; “Unclean, Unclean!” People would shun and avoid him like a plague.
As the crowd accompanied Jesus, a leper stood in the path blocking their way. Instead of crying out “Unclean, Unclean”, he bowed down before Jesus saying, “Lord, if you are willing, You can make me clean.” His well practiced staccato voice from crying out “Unclean, Unclean” was most likely heard by the whole crowd.
The crowd stood back and watched in astonishment as the scene unfolded. If Jesus physically touched the leper, he would become unclean. But if He was indeed God, He had the authority to heal the leper.
Initially, Jesus said nothing. Instead, He stretch out His hand and touched Him. That touch healed much more than His leprosy. Jesus was the first and only hand that had physically touched him from the day he had been pronounced a leper.
The inner healing was monumental. Jesus was ministering to his fractured inner core. He could have healed his leprosy without touching him. But with that touch Jesus was sent a message. It said; “You have value!” “You are not an untouchable!” “I accept you!”
I believe Jesus wants to touch you as well. He wants to heal your inner core. He wants to impart value, acceptance, healing and love into your life. Maybe it’s time for you to bow before and cry out; “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Then Jesus spoke; “I am willing; be cleansed.” Those words would mean nothing coming from anyone other than Jesus. Only He had the power and authority to heal leprosy. He also has the authority and power to heal whatever is broken within you and me.
As the crowd watched, the skin on the leper changed. The open soars and deformed skin were restored to normal. He was healed both inwardly and outwardly. He was a new man!
He then told him to go and be examined by the priest to confirm his healing. This involved a trip to the temple in Jerusalem. Then he was to offer the sacrifice that the Law prescribed for the healing of a leper. He was to do this as a witness to the priests. I can only imagine the conversation about Jesus that unfolded between the healed leper and the priest. God wants all of us to be a witness of what Jesus does in our lives.
But one mystery remains. Who was this leprous man. The text does not say, but Mark 14:3 says something very intriguing that often goes unnoticed. As the fateful Passover was approaching during which Jesus was crucified, He started His journey to Jerusalem. Look at what the text says; “3) And while He was in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper and reclining at table …”. Could this be the same man Jesus had healed three years earlier as He launched His public ministry? It is only speculation, but the circumstances seem to line up.
But there is a more important observation to glean from the text. This leper was no longer a social outcast. He had become a friend in the inner circle of Jesus and His disciples. This former leper hosted them and they dined with him.
Jesus wants to dine with you and me as well. Revelation 3:20 says; “20) Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” This was literally true for “Simon the leper.” It can be true for us as well. Jesus wants to be part of our inner circle.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global
Authority Over Leprosy: Matthew 8:1-4