“While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. 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.’ Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ And immediately the leprosy left him. Then Jesus ordered him, ‘Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.’ Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:12-16
What was life like to have to do everything you could possibly do to avoid human contact? You couldn’t stay with your family or live in your house. You had to become a cave dweller. You were alone unless there were others who shared the same disease. It was called leprosy and it was a living death sentence.
You would have to shout your coming so people could get out of your way or you had to get out of theirs. No one wanted to come close enough to even let your shadow fall over them. Whatever you touched was unclean. Wherever you walked was unclean. Whenever you spoke you were seen as unclean. You wore leprosy not as a disease but as a name. It was not just what you were called. It was who you were.
He is nameless. His name didn’t matter to the crowd because he was covered with leprosy. It was his name to everyone in the city. He was the leper.
But not to Jesus, to Jesus he had a name, a face, a heart, a future.
This leper had heard that Jesus was in town. He went running. He was desperate. He fell on his face and begged. Being on your knees is one of the most powerful places to ever be. “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
And He was willing. He spoke the two words, “Be clean!”
Immediately the leprosy left him. The power of leprosy was no match for the power of Jesus’ Word.
He was no longer the leper.
He was the miracle.