September 17 - Luke 5:12-16

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Luke 5:12-16 – Healing a Leper

Luke picks back up from the words of Luke 4:43 when Jesus says “I must preach … to the other towns also.

“While Jesus was in one of the towns …” (Luke 5:12), he writes, and then begins the story. Jesus’ ministry is expanding and more and more people know who he is and are aware of his travels.

One of the greatest issues for a leper is that their disease separates them from not only the temple and anything that has to do with worshiping God, but the person is separated from everyone else. They live alone and must wear special clothing that alerts everyone to their disease and must also call out that they are a leper and others are to beware. Most skin diseases (all of which were termed leprosy in the New Testament) were passed by touch, so people stayed far from them. In fact, there were special rites performed which essentially banished the person from his former life. From the moment they are termed a leper by the priest, they are as good as dead.

The man recognized Jesus. He had heard of this man and threw himself on the ground in front of Jesus, pleading for his life. Jesus made a choice in that moment – exercising his own will. He reached out and did what no one else in the community dared to do. He touched the leper.

With a single touch, the man was cleansed of all signs of the sickness. He was healed. Jesus commands him to be quiet, and sends him to the priest. Until the former leper goes through the cleansing ceremony and the priest approves him as healed, he will remain dead to the community. For him to come alive again, the message of the priest will be required.

News spread about Jesus and more people came to be healed and to hear his message. When it became too much, Jesus returned to the wilderness. It was where God spoke to John the Baptist and where Jesus met and conquered temptation and it is now where Jesus communicates with God and renews and restores the relationship that gives him strength to continue.