In the next few chapters, we see Jesus born in a manger, escape murder by Herod while a baby, introduced by John the Baptist, His baptism, His temptation, His sermons and His healings. There is so much good stuff in every chapter but I want to share a verse about a man with leprosy that touched my heart.
"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 8:2,3
Let's try and understand as much as we can about leprosy. Leprosy is a slowly progressing bacterial infection that affects the skin, nerves in the hands and feet, and mucous membranes of the nose, throat, and eyes. Destruction of the nerve endings causes the the affected areas to lose sensation. Occasionally, because of the loss of feeling, the fingers and toes become mutilated and fall off, causing the deformities that are typically associated with the disease. Back then, it was considered highly contagious and you immediately became an outcast from society with no more human touch. Lepers were very sick and very ALONE with no hope of a cure.
This man had just finished listening to Jesus speak when he courageously made his way to get close enough to worship Him and to ask Him to heal him from this terrible disease. **Note that the man was worshiping while covered in leprosy and BEFORE God healed him. He worshiped before he knew whether Jesus would heal him. That is powerful stuff for those in the midst of suffering. It IS possible to worship God while covered in trial... before you are delivered. He just worshiped Jesus for Who He is. I think that when we worship while suffering that it is a sweet smelling incense that travels straight into the throneroom as a true sacrifice of praise.
It says that Jesus reached out His hand and touched him and he was immediately cured. Wow. In an instant this man was given a new life and freed from the bondage of leprosy.
I love this story because I believe God still performs miraculous physical healings today. But let's look at leprosy in comparison to sin and spiritual healing. There are many parallels. All of us were born with a disease called "sin". We inherited it from Adam and Eve's bad choice in the garden. From that bite of fruit in the garden, we were all cursed with a sin nature. In the same way that this man had no way out of his condition, neither did we. Until... JESUS.
He came for us.
The leper heard the truth of Jesus and immediately went to worship him and asked to be healed. Jesus reached out to him and touched him even though he was covered with disease. What an act of compassion, humility and mercy! Jesus reached out His hand to us from the cross while we were covered in our disease... to heal us, to redeem us, to save us. If you don't know Him as your savior from sin, if you are still covered and bound by sin, run to Him, worship Him, be set free by Him. He is willing to immediately set you free. He is your only hope and He loves you so much.