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. (Luke 5:12-14 NIV)
My name isn’t important, “Leper” is the only name you’ll ever know.
It all started one day as I was getting ready for work. I noticed a small discolored patch on my right arm. I knew the Law of Moses said any blemish like this had to be examined by the priest. If the spot were a disease, I would lose everything. He called it leprosy and judged me unclean.
Leprosy is slow torture. Feeling deserts your fingers and feet while your flesh begins to decay. Banished from the Temple, I could not worship, nor could I associate with my family and friends. I had to live in a camp outside the village where loneliness reigned like a dark overlord. Walking the streets begging, I would have to call out, Unclean, unclean to all who came near me. The humiliations of these words stuck to me like moldy syrup. Crowds disbursed as I drew near. The children mocked my cry of “unclean” and threw stones at me.
The worst part–I was untouchable. No one would dare touch me, or they would be judged unclean. Can you imagine the pain of never feeling the warmth of family–to think that no one loves you?
People said Jesus came from God, a prophet like Elijah. I learned that Christ healed the lame and cured the blind. I even heard that he cleansed lepers. I went to see him, and he taught with such authority. I knew that he was my only hope.
I ran through the crowd shouting, Unclean, unclean! I am not sure how it happened, but the crowd parted, and suddenly the Rabbi was standing in front of me.
Falling on my face in front of Jesus, I was ashamed to speak to him, but I blurted out, “Lord if you are willing, you can make me clean.” I closed my eyes as I expected him to walk away, disgusted by my rotting flesh. I could hear the jeers of the crowd and feel their loathing. Then it happened.
He touched me! He gently clutched his fingers on my arm. I looked up from the ground and met his eyes. There was no disgust or loathing–only love.
Christ softly spoke with the boom of a thunderbolt, “I am willing, be clean.” At first, I didn’t notice anything until I looked at my hands. The sores were gone—the two fingers I had lost were back. I lifted my clothes away, and instead of festering flesh, I saw he had cleansed every spot from my skin. I praised God with tears of joy.
Massive crowds followed Him after that. But controversy followed Him as closely as the crowds. Were the leaders in Jerusalem jealous of His power and popularity?
A short time later, I heard that Jesus died. They crucified in Jerusalem. He took away my disease and isolation only to die alone on a cross. I wept uncontrollably.
Later, I met His disciples, and they told incredible news. Jesus isn’t dead–God raised him to life! It was easy for me to believe–he had already raised me from virtual death.
People read about me, and many are no different than I was. Some are unclean and have an ache in their soul. They have leprosy of the heart, the heartache of a hundred different varieties is eating away at them. He wants to be the miracle worker in their life.
If people would call on Jesus today, He will wash every leprous heart clean and whole. He is willing to heal every person. Today, I follow the Living Lord. Jesus cares and wants to minister to you as he touched me.
Copyright © 2020 Dave Holland, used with permission.