Jesus Heals A Man With Leprosy


‘When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “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!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” Matthew 8:1-4

After His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus comes down and is followed by a large crowd. Within the crowd, there is a man with leprosy. Painful open sores caused everyone to dread leprosy.

Those who contracted it were quarantined because the disease was highly contagious. The term ‘leprosy’ which includes the words leper, lepers, leprosy, and leprous occurs 68 times in the Bible, 55 times in the Old Testament, ‘tsara’ath’ and 13 times in the New Testament, ‘lepros’, ‘lepra’.

In the Old Testament, the instances of leprosy most likely meant a variety of infectious skin diseases, and even mould and mildew on clothing and walls.

In the New Testament, it seems to mean an infectious skin disease. The disease itself was considered by some as some kind of sin but not necessarily a specific sin relating to the leper themselves.


We can’t begin to imagine what life would have been like for a leper as they lived in their own colonies, separated from society. Their food and clothing needs would have been provided by their families and close friends.

Living in isolation can never be easy, not being able to shake someone’s hand or hug your husband or wife or even your children. This explains why they stood at a distance.

Imagine never being able to go to the temple to worship God, imagine not being able to work, imagine the itchiness and daily struggles they would have had!

This was through no fault of their own, but because they were lepers they couldn’t associate with society because they were classed as unclean by the law, Leviticus 13:45-46 / Numbers 5:2.

The man’s faith in Jesus is obvious as he requests Jesus to heal him if He was willing. He is in great need but he knows who can heal him. Jesus’ response is far more than a momentary pang of conscience, a tug at the heartstrings that lasts a few moments and is then forgotten.

Compassion speaks of sympathy that desires to remove the cause of the suffering. This provides us with an insight into the heart of God. He is a compassionate God.

Jesus reaches out and touches him. Touching is an effective way of communicating. When He did so, the man was healed immediately. Jesus didn’t have to do this, a spoken word would have sufficed, but so much is said by a touch. Jesus was coming into contact with the untouchable, he was entering into his world.

Jesus did what no one else dared do, He touched a leper. Jesus’ touching the leper tells us something about the ministry of Jesus, alienation is being removed and reinstatement is taking place.

Jesus doesn’t rebuke him for the uncertainty in his words. Jesus didn’t say, ‘what do you mean, if? What kind of faith is that?’ Compassion doesn’t respond in that way.

Jesus was more than willing and with the words, ‘be clean’, the man was healed. Notice he was healed from his leprosy immediately. The healing is instant, there’s no need for a medical examination. His sores were instantly transformed into smooth skin.

No need to place him on a period of probation just to make sure that the leprosy has really gone. Jesus made no deal with the leper, no money changed hands, and no performance was given, only love from the compassionate Christ.

Jesus said to the leper, ‘Don’t tell anyone’ simply because, at this point in His ministry, He didn’t want to be bombarded with other people coming to be healed.

He still had a lot of work to be done at this stage, Matthew 9:30 / Matthew 12:16 / Matthew 17:9 / Mark 1:44 / Mark 3:12 / Mark 5:43 / Luke 4:41 / Luke 9:21.

Jesus tells him to show himself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them. After any leper was cleansed of his disease, the law said they were to present themselves to a priest in order to receive confirmation that he was clean, Deuteronomy 24:8 / Leviticus 13:1-6 / Leviticus 13:45- 49 / Leviticus 14:1-32 / Luke 5:14.

The man, however, went out and told everyone, the exact opposite of what Jesus had said, Mark 1:40-45. Luke 5:16 implies that Jesus wanted to go somewhere to spend time with His Father in prayer, as He often did, Luke 4:42-44 / Luke 4:9:10.

Undoubtedly, he was thrilled that he had been healed and probably imagined that spreading the news about Jesus would honour Him. But the fact remains that he did just what Jesus had said not to do.

As a result, the Lord was thronged by such large crowds that He could no longer publicly enter into cities but had to remain in unpopulated areas.


Imagine how his life would have been changed after his healing, imagine them hugging their wife or husband and children for the first time in whatever amount of time they’ve had this disease.

Imagine being able to go to the priests to show themselves and to be able to socialise again and worship God in the temple again. To get a mainstream job and walk through the marketplace places in Jerusalem.

This healing was life-changing on all kinds of levels, physically, socially, mentally, and spiritually.