Touching a leper

Early in his preaching ministry Jesus cleansed a leper.

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. And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”
Mark 1:40-44

Do you realize the significance of this statement, “he stretched out his hand and touched him”?  Under the Mosaic Law lepers were unclean.

And the priest shall look, and if the eruption has spread in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean; it is a leprous disease.
Leviticus 13:8

A person who was unclean transmitted his uncleanness to whatever he touched.

The word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, “Thus says the LORD of hosts: Ask the priests about the law: ‘If someone carries holy meat in the fold of his garment and touches with his fold bread or stew or wine or oil or any kind of food, does it become holy?’”

The priests answered and said, “No.”

Then Haggai said, “If someone who is unclean by contact with a dead body touches any of these, does it become unclean?”

The priests answered and said, “It does become unclean.”
Haggai 2:10-13

For this reason lepers were required to warn other that they were unclean so no one would accidentally touch them.

The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, “Unclean, unclean.” He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp.
Leviticus 13:45-46

Yet when Jesus touched the leper the result was just the opposite of what would normally happen.  Instead of becoming unclean Jesus made the leper clean.  Because he was God as well as man Jesus wasn’t subject to the laws of cleanliness as other were, but he had the power to cleanse that which was unclean.

Jesus cleansed the leper; he didn’t heal him.  Today the term “leprosy” is applied to Hansen’s disease, a disease that not only affects the skin but also the nerves.  This is not the same as Biblical leprosy, which only affects the skin.

Here is an article that explains the significance of leprosy in the Bible:

Why is leprosy talked about so much in the Bible?

Posted on March 2, 2016, in Bible study and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. What an amazing Savior


  2. What a beautiful exposition! Thank you so much, Clyde.



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