Leprosy is to the body what sin is to the soul...
Mar 1:39-42 And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons. And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, "If you will, you can make me clean." Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, "I will; be clean." And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. (esv)
Back in the times of Jesus leprosy was one of the most dreaded conditions known to humankind. It is a progressive disease that causes permanent damage to the skin, nerves, limbs and eyes. Leprosy doesn't cause body parts to fall off, but due to its numbing nature it is possible and quite probable that bodies decayed and lepers lost limbs due to the fact that they couldn't feel the pain of injuries sustained to themselves.
Leprosy is to the human body what sin is to the human soul. Due to the numbing nature of leprosy, lepers find themselves unable to feel the pain in their life which consequently causes many other problems. Eventually the leprosy is so bad that they end up dying from this disease. Sin works in our life in a similar fashion. The more we get involved in the sins of the flesh the more numb we become to the things of God... leading ultimately to our eternal death. But there is a cure. If we look at the story here in the Gospel according to Mark, we not only see the grace of our Savior to an outcast leper, but we see the path to our own eternal salvation.
The life of this leper was a life filled with hopelessness. His body was full of decay, his family and friends shunned him and his entire existence was filled with humiliation and difficulty. As a leper, one must announce to the world, "unclean, unclean, unclean!" Knowing the condition of this mans life, Jesus was willing to heal him. Although it was unlawful to touch a leper, Jesus placed his hand on this man and healed him of his morbid disease.
This man could have been no different than you and me. He may have come from a good home, lived a devout life, and maybe even been highly educated. The story here doesn't tell us much about him, but we do understand much about his condition. He was unclean, he was in need of healing, and he understood that Jesus was the only way he could be healed.
The lepers first step toward being healed was humility. He knelt down before Jesus and pleaded to Him, "If you will, you can make me clean." He understood his condition and knew that Jesus was the cure. Jesus, moved with pity, stretched out his hand and touched the man and said to him, "I will, be clean." The touch of Jesus makes the unclean sinner clean. I am sure there were those in the crowd who were concerned about Jesus touching a leper thinking to themselves, "who is this man to break the law and touch the unclean?" But Jesus didn't come to live under the law, He came to abolish it and blow the minds of those who thought they could be righteous by keeping the laws.
The touch of Jesus is a powerful thing in the life of the sinner. Just as Jesus touched one leper's life, He too can come and touch your life and mine. He can heal our heart from the disease of sin that corrupts our soul and numbs us from experiencing His mighty touch. So I implore you today, if you haven't experienced the touch of Jesus in your life then kneel before Him and ask Him to make you clean. If you are a Christian but are caught up in sin, it is never too big, too sinful, or too late to reconnect with Jesus and ask Him to touch your life again and cleanse you from your sinful ways.
Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
Today in America we don't have a leprosy problem, we have sin problem. Even in the Christian community there are many who are so numb to the sin in their life that the things of the world become so attractive it is as if the things of God never even existed. When we are deceived by our heart into thinking that our time can be spent watching hours of television, our money can be wasted on luxuries beyond our means, our pursuits can be for our own human achievements and pride, and our prayers can be for our own personal comfort, it is as if we are walking up to God and spitting in His face.
We express our life in Christ by giving Jesus all of our devotion not just a few moments each day. The Christian walk is not about taking our heathen lives to church one hour a week, offering sinful prayer and devotion, and then living and looking like the man next door who knows not of the Savior. Jesus reached down and touched us in our uncleanliness and saved our souls from the depths of hell. Just as the leper did after the miraculous healing in his life, let us also shout to the world "I am clean, I am clean!"
Jesus, I know that you came to this earth to save your people. I ask for forgiveness for not living my life each moment of the day for you. I know that you have changed my heart, but I need now to give all my devotion and life to you. Please give me the strength today to do just that. I don't want the praise of men, the security of riches, and the triviality of the things of this world. I want you and you alone. If following you means that I suffer then let me suffer. If it means that I shall be humiliated, then humble me. If it means that I will have to sacrifice, then show me your provision. Lord, it is you alone that I want to serve... In your name I pray, Amen!