Luke 5:12, 13
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 sought him…
Three points suggest themselves to our thoughts.
I. THE WAVERING OF A STRONG HUMAN HOPE. Outside the outer circumference of that congregation was a man to whom pity would have drawn us, but from whom an instinctive repugnance would have repelled us. He was one in whom were not only signs and spots of that dire plague of leprosy, but in whom it was seen in its most virulent form - he was "full of leprosy." Suffering in body, and afflicted far worse in mind by the terrible isolation which that disease imposed, there suddenly enters his heart a new and bounding hope; in the dense darkness of his night there rises that morning star. A new Prophet has come to the people of God. He hears of his Name and fame (Luke 4:37); he comes to see; he witnesses the wonderful works which are wrought (Luke 4:40). Will not this great Healer have mercy upon him? Will not he who casts out the devil cure the leper? If the poor paralytic, at his bidding, could rise and walk away with his friends, why should not he, at the command of that strong Voice, be healed of his foul disease, and go home to his family again? So he comes where Jesus is, and listens as he speaks, and when he hears him say, "Ask, and it shall be given you," he resolves that he will ask that a new life may be given him; he will seek: what if he should find? We have never made to man any request on which so much has hung as that which was now hanging on the answer he should receive at the lips of Jesus Christ. To him it was not success or failure merely; it was life or death that was at stake. How must the most eager expectation have wrestled in his heart with tremulous and agonizing fear! with what faltering voice must he have uttered those prayerful words, "Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean"!
II. THE TOUCH OF THE DIVINE HAND. "Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him." All three evangelists record this significant fact. There were three reasons why he should not do this.
1. Strong instinctive human aversion.
2. The risk he ran in so doing.
3. The prohibition of the Law combined with social usage disallowing it.
But our Lord set aside all these objections. Why? Was it not to show by instant action the kindness and compassion of his heart, to place himself practically by his side as One who felt deeply for and with him, and to teach us that, if we wish to heal the worst disorders, we must do that, not standing afar off, but, coming into close personal contact with the men we are seeking to save, by "laying our hand upon them"? We, too, must be ready, like our Lord, to do that which is distasteful, to run some risks, to disregard conventional proprieties, if we would remove from the land the leprosies which still afflict it.
III. THE RESPONSE OF DIVINE LOVE. That leper must have known, when Jesus laid his hand kindly upon him, that he meant to heal him; yet sweeter to his ear than are the most melting strains of music to the lover of melody and song were these words of the Lord when he said, "I will: be thou clean;" and then he who "speaks, and it is done," spoke the unheard word, and forces of nature came into play, and the life-blood leapt in the leper's veins, "and immediately his leprosy departed." Sin is the leprosy of the soul.
1. It is loathsome.
2. It is diffusive, spreading from faculty to faculty over the whole nature.
3. It exiles; it separates man from God, and man from man also.
4. It is deathful; it is death in life.
When the sinful soul, though he be far gone in sin, "full of leprosy," makes his application to the great Physician, he has nothing to fear as to the result of his appeal..
(1) Be not troubled, far less hindered, because hope is streaked with fear; there may be an "if" in the heart, as there was in that of this leper; the very intensity of the hope arising out of the magnitude of the issue at stake will perfectly account for that - such fear is only the shadow of a prevailing hope.
(2) Be assured that you have no need to fear. Christ's readiness to save is beyond the shadow of a doubt; if we are only in real earnest to be saved from the leprosy of sin, it is certain that the hand of Divine love will be laid upon us, and that the voice of Divine mercy will address us, saying, "I will: be thou clean." - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.
WEB: It happened, while he was in one of the cities, behold, there was a man full of leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell on his face, and begged him, saying, "Lord, if you want to, you can make me clean."