And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying to him, If you will, you can make me clean.…
I. Whatever Diviner and sacreder aspect there may be in these incidents, the first thing, and, in some senses, the most precious thing in them is that THEY ARE THE NATURAL EXPRESSION OF A TRULY HUMAN TENDERNESS AND COMPASSION. It is the love of Christ Himself — spontaneous, instinctive — without the thought of anything but the suffering it sees — which gushes out and leads Him to put forth His hand to the outcast beggars and lepers. True pity instinctively leads us to seek to come near those who are its objects. Christ's pity is shown by His touch to have this true characteristic of true pity, that it overcomes disgust; He is not turned away by the shining whiteness of the leprosy. Christ loves us, and will not be turned from His compassion by our most loathsome foulness.
II. We may regard the touch AS THE MEDIUM OF HIS MIRACULOUS POWER. There is a royal variety in the method of our Lord's miracles; some are wrought at a distance, some by a word or touch. The true cause in every case is His own bare will. But this use of Christ's touch, as apparent means for conveying His miraculous power, illustrates a principle which is exemplified in all His revelation, namely, the employment, in condescension to men's weakness, of outward means as the apparent vehicles of His spiritual power. Sacraments, outward ceremonies, forms of worship, are vehicles which the Divine Spirit uses in order to bring His gifts to the hearts and the minds of men. They are like the touch of Christ which heals, not by any virtue in itself, apart from His will which chooses to make it the apparent medium of healing. All these externals are nothing, as the pipes of an organ are nothing, until His breath is breathed through them, and then the flood of sweet sound pours out. Do not despise the material vehicles and the outward helps which Christ uses for the communication of His healing and His life, but remember that the help that is done upon earth, He does it all Himself.
III. Consider Christ's touch AS A SHADOW AND SYMBOL OF THE VERY HEART OF HIS WORK. Christ's touch was a Priest's touch. He lays His hand on corruption and is not tainted. It becomes purity. This was His work in the world — laying hold of the outcast — His sympathy leading to His identification of Himself with us in our misery. That sympathetic life-long touch is put forth once for all in His incarnation and death. Let our touch answer to His; let the hand of faith grasp Him.
IV. We may look upon these incidents as being A PATTERN FOR US. We must be content to take lepers by the hand, to let the outcast feel the warmth of our loving grasp if we would draw them into the Father's house.
(A. McLaren, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.