Jesus has some good news for me. I want Jesus to make me clean. Jesus wants to make me clean. Jesus makes me a new creation. I am, in Jesus, clean, whole and restored. That makes me want to shout!
Jesus is both willing and able. Some people are willing but not able. Our Master Jesus both wants to make us clean, is able to do it and in fact does. This is amazing at its core. When we come to Jesus, immediately, and with no delay, He makes us clean.
Jesus is in the miracle business. Jesus wants to heal us. That is His greatest desire. God is great and God is in a good mood.
When he came down from the mountain, large crowds followed him. Right away a man with leprosy came up and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Reaching out his hand, Jesus touched him, saying, “I am willing; be made clean.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. Then Jesus told him, “See that you don’t tell anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” | Matthew 8:1-4 (Christian Standard Bible)
There were a number of afflictions that our Bible categorizes as leprosy. This dreaded infection forced the victim to live apart from others and to cry, “Unclean! Unclean!” when others approached, so they would not be defiled. That the leper ran up to Jesus and violated the code is evidence of his great faith that Jesus would heal him.
Leprosy is an illustration of sin. The instructions given to the priests in Leviticus 13 help us understand the nature of missing God’s goal (aka sin): Sin is deeper than the skin; it spreads; it defiles and isolates; and it is fit only for the fire.
When Jesus touched the leper, He contracted the leper’s defilement; but He also conveyed His health! Is this not what He did for us on the cross when He was made sin for us? The leper did not question His ability to heal; he only wondered if He were willing. Certainly God is willing to save! He is “God our Savior, who will have all men to be saved”. God is “not willing that any should perish” .
Jesus commanded the man not to tell others but to go to the priests and have them declare him restored and fit for society. This ceremony is described in Leviticus 14 and is another beautiful picture of the Messiah’s work for us who have missed God’s goal. The bird slain pictures the death of Jesus; the bird released pictures His resurrection. Putting the bird into the jar pictures the Incarnation, when the Messiah took a human body that He might die for us. The application of the blood to the ear, thumb, and toe illustrates the need for personal faith in His death. The oil on the blood reminds us of the Spirit of God, who enters the person when he trusts Jesus.
The man did not obey Jesus; he told everybody what the Master had done! (Jesus tells us to tell everybody, and we keep quiet) The healed leper’s witness forced Jesus to avoid the city; and yet the crowds came to Him, He didn’t have to go to them.
- Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Mt 8:1–34). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
- Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 33). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.