THE HEALING OF A LEPER
Mark 1:40-2:1 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. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth His hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. And as soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed. And He straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away; and saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, show thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to Him from every quarter. (Also See Matt. 8:1-4; Luke 5:12-16)
At this time in biblical history, leprosy was a dreadful and hopeless disease that begins infecting the skin of an individual, and defied any preventive and healing medical skills at that time. A person having leprosy may generally live twenty to forty years after the infection sets in. The disease usually worsened and progressively spread until the whole body was consumed, but almost always resulted in an excruciatingly painful death. Luke introduces this incident by saying that when He (Jesus) was in a certain city, a leper came to Him seeking a cure for his disease (See Luke 5:12). This indicates that Jesus and His followers had left Capernaum and came into another city in that area. The city could have been either Chorazin or Bethsaida, both of which were situated on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee.
With this introduction, the lesson text says that there came a leper to Him, knelt down to Him (Matt. 8:2 says he worshipped Him), and, realizing His healing power, said to Him, Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean. Again, referring to Luke's account, we see that the man was full of leprosy (Luke 5:12), indicating that the disease had progressed to a very critical stage. The fact that the man used the phrase, if thou wilt, does not indicate any doubt in his mind, but rather a plea for compassion, fully recognizing that Jesus was, without any reservations, able to perform such a miracle. By the humble, reverent, and assuring manner in which the man approached Jesus, the strong, sure faith he placed in Him as a healer, guided by the hand of God, can easily be recognized. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. Although Jesus could have "moved mountains" to demonstrate His miraculous power, He chose to confirm that He was the promised Messiah through compassionate healing of those suffering sickness, disease, and demon possession. Although Jesus performed miracles in many ways, here He merely touched the man. And in answer to the leper's plea, Jesus told him, I will; be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed. Lest others praise Him for these miracles instead of God, Jesus sent the cleansed leper away with this admonition: say nothing to any man about your miraculous healing. Here Christ leaves another wonderful example for all Christians to follow: seek no praise for any righteous deeds you may perform; rather give God all the glory.
Still under the Jewish Law of Moses, Jesus rightly told the cleansed leper to go thy way, show thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things, which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. This is exactly what the Mosaic Law required of all lepers that had been healed (See the law of the lepers in Lev. 14:2-32). Scriptures fail to tell usassuredly whetheror not this man went to the priest to make an offering for his cleansing. Assuming that he did, he first disobeyed Jesus' admonition to nottell anyone about this incident, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter. Have you ever been so elated about good things that happen to you that you had to tell everyone around you about it? If so, then you can imagine how this man felt about the healing of such a debilitating, life-consuming disease as leprosy. He not only told others about it, but he "blazed" the matter, as if he were starting a fire that rapidly spread. And that is exactly what happened, to such an extent that great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities (Luke 5:15). The serge of people coming to Him was so great that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city; ...they came to Him from every quarter. The incurable had been cured!