Luke 5:12
And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
Jump to: AlfordBarnesBengelBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctExp GrkGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsICCJFBKellyKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWMeyerParkerPNTPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBVWSWESTSK
(12-16) A man full of leprosy.—See Notes on Matthew 8:2-4. The precise description is peculiar to, and characteristic of, St. Luke, as is also the man’s “falling on his face.” The latter is interesting as explaining the more general “worshipping” of St. Mark.

Luke 5:12-16. Behold a man full of leprosy — Of this miracle, see the notes on Matthew 8:2-4, and Mark 1:45. And he withdrew himself into the wilderness and prayed — The original expression, ην υποχωρων εν ταις ερημοις, και προσευχομενος, implies that he frequently did this. Though no one was ever more busily employed than he was, or did so much good in public as he did, yet he found time for pious and devout retirement: not that he needed to avoid either distraction or ostentation; but he meant to set us an example, who have need so to order the circumstances of our devotion as to guard against both. It is likewise our wisdom so to order our affairs, that our public work and our secret devotions may not intrench upon, or interfere with each other. Observe, reader, private prayer must be performed secretly; and how much soever we have to do in the best business in this world, we ought to have stated times for it, and steadily to attend to them.

5:12-16 This man is said to be full of leprosy; he had that distemper in a high degree, which represents our natural pollution by sin; we are full of that leprosy; from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot there is no soundness in us. Strong confidence and deep humility are united in the words of this leper. And if any sinner, from a deep sense of vileness, says, I know the Lord can cleanse, but will he look upon such a one as me? will he apply his own precious blood for my cleansing and healing? Yes, he will. Speak not as doubting, but as humbly referring the matter to Christ. And being saved from the guilt and power of our sins, let us spread abroad Christ's fame, and bring others to hear him and to be healed.See the notes at Matthew 8:2-4. Lu 5:12-16. Leper Healed.

(See on [1573]Mt 8:2-4.)

Ver. 12-15. See Poole on "Matthew 8:2", and verses following to Matthew 8:5. See Poole on "Mark 1:40", and verses following to Mark 1:45. Matthew reports this miracle done when Christ came down from the mountain, and immediately after saith, that he entered into Capernaum, Matthew 8:5. Mark also, concluding the first chapter with this piece of history, he begins the second with telling us, that he entered into Capernaum after some days. So that some think he was near Capernaum, within the bounds of it, when he wrought this miracle, but there is no certainty of that.

And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city,.... Or near it, hard by it, very probably Capernaum; Matthew 8:1 Behold a man full of leprosy; a disease to which the Jews were very incident, and concerning which, many laws and rules are given, in Leviticus 13:1. The symptoms of the ancient "lepra", as laid down by Galen, Aretaeus, Pontanus, Aegineta, Cardan, Varanda, Gordon, Pharaeus, and others, are as follow. The patient's voice is hoarse, and comes rather through the nose than the mouth; the blood full of little white shining bodies, like groins of millet, which upon filtration, separate themselves from it; the serum is scabious, and destitute of its natural humidity, insomuch that salt applied to it, does not dissolve; it is so dry, that vinegar poured on it boils; and is so strongly bound together by little imperceptible threads, that calcined lead thrown into it swims. The face resembles a coal half extinct, unctuous, shining, and bloated, with frequent hard knobs, green at bottom, and white at top. The hair is short, stiff, and brinded; and not to be torn off, without bringing away, some of the rotten flesh, to which it adheres; if it grows again, either on the head or chin, it is always white: athwart the forehead, run large wrinkles or furrows, from one temple to the other; the eyes red and inflamed, and shine like those of a cat; the ears swollen and red, eaten with ulcers towards the bottom, and encompassed with little glands; the nose sunk, because of the rotting of the cartilage; the tongue dry and black, swollen, ulcerated, divided with furrows, and spotted with grains of white; the skin covered with ulcers, that die and revive on each other, or with white spots, or scales like a fish; it is rough and insensible, and when cut, instead of blood, yields a sanious liquor: it arrives in time to such a degree of insensibility, that the wrist, feet, or even the large tendon, may be pierced with a needle, without the patient's feeling any pain; at last the nose, fingers, toes, and even privy members, fall off entire; and by a death peculiar to each of them, anticipate that of the patient: it is added, that the body is so hot, that a fresh apple held in the hand an hour, will be dried and wrinkled, as if exposed to the sun for a week (e). Think now what a miserable deplorable object this man was, said to be full of it. Between this disease and sin, there is a very great likeness. This disease is a very filthy one, and of a defiling nature, by the ceremonial law; under which it was considered rather as an uncleanness, than as a disease; the person attended with it was pronounced unclean by the priest, and was put out of the camp, and out of the cities and walled towns, that he might not defile others; and was obliged to put a covering on his upper lip, and cry Unclean, Unclean, to acknowledge his pollution, and that others might shun him: all mankind, by reason of sin, are by the Lord pronounced filthy; and by their evil actions, not only defile themselves, but others; evil communications corrupt good manners; and when they are made sensible, freely own that their righteousnesses are as filthy rags, and they themselves as an unclean thing: it is a very nauseous and loathsome disease, as is sin; it is abominable to God, and renders men abominable in his sight; it causes the sinner himself, when convinced of it, to loath and abhor himself: David calls his sin a loathsome disease, Psalm 38:7 it is of a spreading nature: this was a sign of it, if it did not spread, it was only a, scab; if it spread, it was a leprosy, Leviticus 13:5. Sin has spread itself over all mankind, and over all the powers and faculties of the soul, and members of the body; there is no place free of it: and as the leprosy is of consuming nature, it eats and wastes the flesh, see Numbers 12:10 2 Kings 5:10 so sin eats like a canker, and brings ruin and destruction upon men, both soul and body. This disease was incurable by medicine; persons that had it were never sent to a physician, but to a priest; and what he did was only this, he looked upon it, and if it was a clear case, he declared the person unclean; and if it was doubtful, shut him up for seven days, and then inspected him again; and after all he could not cure him; this was the work of God, 2 Kings 5:7. All which shows the nature and use of the law, which shuts men up, concludes them under sin, and by which they have knowledge of it, but no healing: the law heals none, it is the killing letter, the ministration of condemnation and death; Christ only, by his blood and stripes, heals the disease of sin, and cleanses from it. There is one thing in the law of the leprosy very surprising, and that is, that if there was any quick raw flesh, or any sound flesh in the place where the leprosy was, the man was pronounced unclean; but if the leprosy covered his skin, and all his flesh, then he was pronounced clean: this intimates, that he that thinks he has some good thing in him, and fancies himself sound and well, and trusts to his own works of righteousness, he is not justified in the sight of God; but if a man acknowledges that there is no soundness in his flesh, that in him, that is, in his flesh, dwells no good thing, but that his salvation is alone, by the grace and mercy of God, such a man is justified by faith in Christ Jesus: the parable of the Pharisee and publican will illustrate this, Luke 18:10. "Who, seeing Jesus, fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean"; See Gill on Matthew 8:2. Christ could cure lepers, and did; and which was a proof of his Messiahship, and is given among the signs of it, to John's disciples, Matthew 11:5 and as there is a likeness between the leprosy and sin, so between the cleansing of a leper under the law, and the healing of a sinner by Christ: for the cleansing of a leper, two birds were to be taken clean and alive, which were both typical of Christ, and pointed at the meekness of his human nature, his innocence, harmlessness, and purity, and that he had a life to lay down; one of these was to be killed, in an earthen vessel over running water, showing that Christ must be killed, his blood must be shed for the cleansing of leprous sinners; the earthen vessel denoted his human nature, his flesh, in which he was put to death; and the running water signified the purifying nature of his blood, and the continued virtue of it, to cleanse from all sin; and the blood and the water being mixed together, may put us in mind of the blood and water which flowed from the side of Christ, when pierced with the spear; which was an emblem of our justification and sanctification being both from him, on account of which, he is said to come both by water and by blood, 1 John 5:6. The other bird, after it was dipped with the cedar wood, scarlet and hyssop in the blood of the slain bird, was let go alive; which typified the resurrection of Christ, who was put to death in the flesh, and quickened in the Spirit; and who rose again, for the justification of his people from all sin: the cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop, which were used in the cleansing of the leper, may either relate to the sufferings, and death, and blood of Christ; the scarlet wool may denote the bloody sufferings of Christ, through which he was red in his apparel; the cedar wood may signify the incorruptibleness and preciousness of the blood of Christ, and the hyssop the purging virtue of it; or else these three may have regard to the three principal graces of the Spirit of God, which have to do with, and are in influenced by the sin cleansing blood of Christ: the cedar wood may signify the incorruptible and precious grace of faith; the green hyssop, the lively grace of hope; and the scarlet, the flaming grace of love, when it is in its full exercise: or else the grace of faith, by which dealing with the blood of Christ, the heart is purified, is only meant; signified by cedar wood, for its permanency; by scarlet, for its concern with the crimson blood of Christ; by which sins, though as scarlet, are made white as wool; and by hyssop, for its being an humble and lowly grace: now the cedar stick, with the scarlet wool, and bunch of hyssop bound unto it, was used to sprinkle the blood of the bird upon the leper seven times, when he was pronounced clean; and expresses the instrumentality of faith, in the application of the blood of Christ for cleansing: though after this, the leper was to shave off all his hair, and wash himself and clothes in water; suggesting to us, that holiness of life and conversation which should follow, upon cleansing through faith in the blood of Christ.

(e) Chambers's Cyclopaedia in the word "Leprosy".

{2} And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

(2) Christ, by healing the leper with only his touch and sending him to the priest, witnesses that it is he, through whom and by whom, apprehended by faith, all we who are unclean according to the law are pronounced to be pure and clean by the witness of God himself.

Luke 5:12-14. See on Matthew 8:1-4; Mark 1:40-44. According to Matthew, immediately after the Sermon on the Mount; in Luke (comp. Mark), without any definite statement of place or time, as a fragment of the evangelic tradition.

ἐγένετοκαί] as Luke 2:15; Matthew 9:10. Καί is not nempe (Fritzsche, ad Matth. p. 341), but, in accordance with Hebraic simplicity, the and, which, after the preparatory and yet indefinite ἐγένετο, leads the narrative farther on. The narrator, by means of ἐγένετο together with a note of time, first calls attention to the introduction of a fact, and then, in violation of ordinary syntax, he brings in afterwards what occurred by the word καί.

ἐν μιᾷ τ. πόλ.] according to Mark: in a house.

πλήρης] a high degree of the sickness.

Luke 5:14. καὶ αὐτός] and He, on His part.

ἀπελθὼν κ.τ.λ.] a transition to the oratio directa. See on Mark 6:8.

Luke 5:12-16. The leper (Matthew 8:1-4, Mark 1:40-45).

12–16. The Healing of a Leper

12. a certain city] Probably the village of Hattîn, for we learn from St Matthew’s definite notice that this incident took place on descending from the Mount of Beatitudes (Kurn Hattîn), see Matthew 8:1-4; Mark 1:40-45. Hence chronologically the call of Matthew, the choosing of the Twelve, and the Sermon on the Mount probably intervene between this incident and the last.

a man full of leprosy] The hideous and hopeless nature of this disease—which is nothing short of a foul decay, arising from the total corruption of the blood—has been too often described to need further notice. See Leviticus 13, 14. It was a living death, as indicated by bare head, rent clothes, and covered lip. In the middle ages, a man seized with leprosy was “clothed in a shroud, and the masses of the dead sung over him.” In its horrible repulsiveness it is the Gospel type of Sin. The expression “full of” implies the rapid development and horror of the disease; when the man’s whole body was covered with the whiteness, he was allowed to mingle with others as clean (Leviticus 13:13).

fell on his face] We get the full picture by combining the three Evangelists. We then see that he came with passionate entreaties, flinging himself on his knees, and worshipping, and finally in his agony prostrating himself on his face.

thou canst make me clean] The faith of this poor leper must have been intense, for hitherto there had been but one instance of a leper cleansed by miracle (Luke 4:27; 2 Kings 5).

Luke 5:12. [Ἐν μιᾷ τῶν πόλεων, in one of the cities) See Gnom. on ch. Luke 1:1, Obs. 2, Not. marg. E. B. To wit, the particle ἐν, in, is not in this passage to be too closely pressed, as if it would not admit of the meeting with the leper having occurred in the neighbourhood of the city; comp. Matthew 8:1-2. This seems to be the very reason of the Transposition, that Mark, whom Luke follows, chose to tell first the miracles wrought within the city, ch. Luke 1:21, etc.—Harm., p. 253.—πλήρης λέπρας, full of leprosy) Among those who hold that the leper mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew is a different one, there are not wanting some who unduly wrest this phrase, which is used by Luke alone, and not by Mark also, as if it implied that the leper mentioned by Mark and Luke was clean according to the law (where the leprosy covered all the flesh), Leviticus 13:13; Leviticus 13:17, and therefore had the power of entering the city. But still he is sent away to the priest: therefore he had not before this shown himself to the priest; wherefore he must have been separate, as one accounted impure, even though the leprosy was very full upon him.—Harm., p. 253.—ἐπὶ πρόσωπον, on his face) No common humiliation.—V. g.

Verses 12-16. - The leper is healed in a certain city. Verse 12. - When he was in a certain city. From the scene in the boat on the lake with the fishermen, Luke abruptly passes to another memorable incident which took place probably soon after - memorable because it is the first recorded instance of Jesus' contact with that most terrible of earthly maladies, leprosy. The certain city was probably the town of Hattim, for we read in St. Matthew that the famous cure took place as the Lord was coming down from the mount of Beatitudes. (This will be spoken of in its place in ch. 6.) Behold a man full of leprosy. The expression "behold" reproduces exactly the scene as the eye-witness remembered it. There were many apparently with the Master on that occasion; but following him, suddenly, as he went on before the crowd, one of those ghastly victims of the frightful disease stood before him, apparently having eluded observation, for they were not allowed to appear in the ordinary haunts of men. The unhappy man fell down and knelt before the great Physician, of whom he may have heard so much, and asks him to exercise his mighty power on the dread malady which was eating away his life. The leper evidently had no doubt whatever of the power of Jesus; he was only anxious as to whether he had the will to cure him. The whole question respecting the exact nature of the disease is a vexed one. The word has been used with varying extent of meaning. As far as we can gather, the disease in its worst form seems to have been a progressive decay arising from the poisoning of the blood. The face and different members of the body were attacked and gradually destroyed, till the sufferer became a hideous spectacle, and literally fell to pieces. It is much disputed whether or not the malady in any of its varied developments and stages was contagious. The strict separation which in well-nigh all forms of the disease was rigidly insisted on would seem at all events to point to the conclusion that, in the popular estimation, it certainly was so; some phases of the malady, however, appear to have been considered as perfectly free from contagious effect - for instance, Naaman, the captain of the host of Syria, was a leper. It is hot conceivable that one who was infected with so grave a malady, considered incurable, would, if contagious, have been permitted to have exercised a function which would have brought him into constant contact with masses of his fellow-countrymen. These cases, however, were apparently few in number, and those afflicted with what was usually called leprosy were rigidly separated from their fellows, not only to dwell apart, but positively forbidden to approach the dwellings of men. In the Egyptian legends of the Exodus, the Israelites were said to have been expelled because they were lepers. Luke 5:12Full of leprosy

Matthew and Mark have simply a leper. The expression, full of leprosy, seems to be used here with professional accuracy. Leprosy was known among physicians under three forms: the dull white, the clear white, and the black. Luke means to describe an aggravated case. The word full in this connection is often used by medical writers, as, full of disease; the veins full of blood; the ears full of roaring.

Make me clean (καθαρίσαι)

All three evangelists say cleanse instead of heal, because of the notion of uncleanness which specially attached to this malady.

Luke 5:12 Interlinear
Luke 5:12 Parallel Texts

Luke 5:12 NIV
Luke 5:12 NLT
Luke 5:12 ESV
Luke 5:12 NASB
Luke 5:12 KJV

Luke 5:12 Bible Apps
Luke 5:12 Parallel
Luke 5:12 Biblia Paralela
Luke 5:12 Chinese Bible
Luke 5:12 French Bible
Luke 5:12 German Bible

Bible Hub

Luke 5:11
Top of Page
Top of Page