12 While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy.[a](B) When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
13 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.
14 Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone,(C) but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded(D) for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”
15 Yet the news about him spread all the more,(E) so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses.16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.(F)
A man with leprosy came to Jesus. Leprosy causes damage to the body’s nerves that can lead to a dangerous loss of feeling. In Jesus’ day, it was feared as a contagious and defiling disease. So, lepers were declared “unclean” and banished from the community. Sin is like leprosy. Sin defiles us. Sin breaks our relationships with God and others. Sin grows worse progressively, leading up to death like leprosy. Sin has no human cure, but this man came to Jesus by faith and begged Jesus to make him clean. His faith enabled him to come to Jesus and ask for Christ’s mercy. We are to come to Jesus just as we are and to ask for his mercy.
Jesus reached out his hand and touched him, showing God’s love for him. With his words, Jesus cured him and made him clean. Jesus also restored the man’s social relationships by helping him to get a certificate of recovery from the priest. Jesus’ cleansing power makes us clean from our filthy sins. We cannot make our sin-covered hearts clean. But Jesus can. We are to come to him just as we are by faith in Jesus and to be cleansed by his healing mercy.
Prayer: Lord, cleanse me of my sin and make me whole again. Help me to learn of Jesus’ love and compassion for sin-covered ones.