Jesus Cleanses a Leper
MacArthur compares leprosy with AIDS to give us a glimpse of what it was to people of that time:
There are many diseases today. Perhaps we know of more of them, pathologically and clinically, certainly than any time in human history. But of all the diseases that we face in our modern world, none is more dreaded, none is more feared and none is more stigmatized than AIDS, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Its closest parallel in the ancient world was leprosy. In its severest form it was the most feared disease. It was contagious, incurable, for the most part, fatal. It devastated people. I had immense social implications and even religious implications.
MacArthur explains why miracles such as healing are so important to show who Jesus was:
Isn't it true that healing from sin is what each of us desperately needs? Couldn't this story from Luke read like this?
12 While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of SIN And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” 13 And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the SIN left him. 14 And he charged him to tell no one, but “go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”15 But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their SIN. 16 But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
It is a miracle to be healed from an illness but it is insane that God's grace and forgiveness of sin can heal us from the power of sin. It is beyond a miracle and God gives it freely to those who ask, just like the leper did. He asked, "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean" and Jesus does.
For us too, it is as easy (or as hard) as asking for forgiveness. It is through our forgiveness that we act in a new way, and we don't even have to say anything with our words and people still notice something different about us...word gets around....people start asking questions and want that kind of healing for themselves too.
MacArthur reminds us that sinners need healing:
May we humbly bow before the Great Healer and receive healing that we need.
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Luke 5:17-20