People of Faith Series “The Leper”
When Jesus had come down from the mountain, a great multitude followed Him. And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. [Matthew 8:1-4]
The first thing in this story that leaped out at me was what the leper said to Jesus, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Notice the leper didn’t say to Jesus, “Lord, you can heal me of my leprosy, if you are willing.” No, the leper said, “Clean.” Leprosy is a disease that causes the flesh to rot and fall off the body, it was incurable, and it was highly contagious, but the leper used the word, “Clean” instead of heal because any disease Satan puts on the body of man is filth on the body and that filth needs to be cleaned away before the body becomes pure or whole again. It is clear to me this man wanted to be cleansed because he was a worshiper of God and with his condition it was impossible for him to enter the temple of his God. Today, the body of the believer is the temple God lives in and just as an unclean person was not permitted to enter the temple of God to worship back then, so God wants His bodily temple cleansed of any filth on it today. Jesus cleansed this man of his leprosy and His blood cleanses us of the disease we carry around with us. It is by our choice we hang onto our infirmities because it is God’s will to cleanse us of all of our disease. The stripes that Jesus bore was for our healing, [Matthew 8:17] and if we carry that infirmity around in our body like it is some badge of honor, the Father receives no glory from that disease because His Son died so we could be set free of them.
The second thing that leaped out at me in this story is, Jesus said to the leper, “I am willing.” Not many people today know it is God’s will to heal them. So they pray like this leper did, “Lord, if it be thy will.” That isn’t a prayer of faith, that is a prayer of doubt. The leper said to Jesus what he did because he didn’t know whether or not Jesus would heal him because he was a leper who lived in a colony with other lepers and everyone who was clean shied away from lepers because they didn’t want to be contaminated by them. To the leper, Jesus, even though He was healing people everywhere He went of all kinds of diseases, might not want to come near an unclean leper in case He, too, became contaminated. The leper soon found out, “God is no respecter of persons.” And his leprosy was not more filthy than any other disease Jesus had healed. Jesus, then made a point of touching the leper to show the people present that neither leprosy or any other unclean thing Satan can place upon mankind has an affect upon the Word of God. The Father had encased the Word of God in a human body and gave it the named Jesus, [John 1:14] and among even the vilest of things, the Word of God remains uncontamined. When Jesus told the leper, “I am willing,” it forever settled God’s will for healing. If we go to the Lord in faith; He will heal us. That is the point of the words “I am willing,” spoken by Jesus. And that is why this story of the leper is in the scriptures. If the Word of God would cleanse the vilest of diseases like leprosy, he will certainly heal our ailments.
Jesus instructed the leper to do certain things when he came to the temple. First of which was to be declared “clean” by the priest, and the last of them was to be done for a testimony to the unbelieving religious establishment he was presenting himself to. Giving our testimony in front of the unbeliever (and there are just as many unbelievers in the church as there are outside the church) concerning the good things the Lord has done for us is what creates hope in their life that God will meet their need regardless of what that need might be. Without a testimony, doubt remains. And where doubt resides, faith is lacking. God does not reward doubt, He rewards our faith in Him of which we all have a measure. [Hebrews 11:6]
This leper obeyed the Lord and went home a changed person. Is that not what all of us want? Do we not pray asking God to change our situation? People say, “God is able to do this, that, or the other.” But the truth is, “Not only is God able. God will!” And He will do it for you. DThrash