The Leprous Man Healed

Matthew 8:2-4 - And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 3 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4 And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. 


Mark 1:40-45 - And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 41 And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. 42 And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed. 43 And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away; 44 And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. 45 But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter. 


Luke 5:12-16 - And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 13 And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him. 14 And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. 15 But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities. 16 And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed. 


I.    Introduction.

A.     There are two parts to this message. 

1.       The healing of the leprous man. 

2.       The command to the healed man to tell no man that Jesus is the Christ. 

B.     Some facts about leprosy. 

1.       Leprosy could be anything from psoriasis to leprosy. 

a.      It could be a running sore, or as small a thing as a skin disorder. 

b.      Leviticus 13 and 14 gives instructions to the priesthood to determine where a person was afflicted with leprosy, or some other disease. 

c.      It is very clear that this man had leprosy, not some other skin disorder. 

d.      The Bible says he was “full of leprosy”. 

e.      There was no mistaking what this disease was.

2.       Leprosy is a type of sin in the Bible. 

a.      It is a type of a person being condemned to a slow, agonizing death, as their body decays while they are living in it. 

b.      Sin slowly takes our life, destroying our body while we live in it. 

3.       Luke 5:12 – The leper was full of leprosy. 

a.      He knew he was condemned to the death of a leper, did not deny it, but came to Christ, asking for cleansing. 

1.)    The leper had to see for himself and know for himself that he was full of leprosy. 

2.)    Others could and should (it was the job of the priest) tell him of his leprosy, but “external” knowledge is not the same as “internal” knowledge. 

3.)    Feelings are not associated with leprosy or repentance/faith/salvation – knowledge only. 

a.)    Leprosy destroys physical feelings, therefore a person cannot feel that which is destroying him. 

b.)    Sin destroys feelings, therefore a person is apt to excuse his actions/thoughts/motives, and not realize his feelings is destroying him. 

c.)    Knowledge of sin (which is initiated by the Holy Spirit of God) will bring repentance and faith. 

b.      He understood he was not partially filled with leprosy, but completely filled. 

1.)    A lost person must come to Christ, realizing they are completely a sinner, not a partial sinner, and ask Christ for forgiveness and eternal salvation. 

2.)    Every lost person must understand they are condemned to a sinners death and an eternity in the Lake of Fire, where they will be tormented forever and ever. 

3.)    Every lost person must understand they do not deserve the healing or forgiveness of Christ, but stand guilty before a most holy, just God. 


II.    The leper came to Christ. 

A.     The leper came to Christ even though Leviticus 13:3 declared he was supposed to stay away from healthy people. 

1.       Leviticus 13:3 states, And the priest shall look on the plague in the skin of the flesh: and when the hair in the plague is turned white, and the plague in sight be deeper than the skin of his flesh, it is a plague of leprosy: and the priest shall look on him, and pronounce him unclean. 

2.       Leviticus 13:45 clarifies, And the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, and shall cry, Unclean, unclean. 

3.       When the leper is looked upon by the priest and it is determined that the disease is indeed leprosy, the person is pronounced unclean and is commanded to stay away from all public places and to announce “leper, leper” as he travels so “clean” (healthy) people would stay away from him. 

B.     It is necessary for those in trouble to come to Christ. 

1.       The leper came to Christ with a specific request: make me clean. 

a.      He did not ask for salvation or eternal cleansing. 

b.      The leper received what he asked for: nothing more, nothing less. 

c.      Jesus is well aware of what we are going through and has the solution for our difficulties with him. 

2.       It is a shame this man asked only for temporal (temporary) blessings. 

a.      He asked for the thing that was foremost on his mind, the healing of his leprous body, not the healing of his sin sick soul. 

1.)    Often people will ask for the things that foremost in front of them, failing to see there are more important things than the temporary. 

a.)    Many sick people only ask for God to heal them, to get out of their current distress, not for eternal healing. 

b.)    The healing of his body is important, but the body will one day get another sickness and the eternal soul will pass into eternity. 

c.)    The man’s soul will remain alive somewhere, either in hell or heaven. 

2.)    The same is true for each of us. 

b.      We often strive for temporary gain, yet many times leave eternal things for tomorrow, and tomorrow never comes.

C.     The leper apparently came alone. 

1.       It is not bad to come to Christ alone – all must come alone (individually) regardless of what anybody else does. 

2.       Those who believe they are healthy (righteous) do not come to Christ. 

a.      There were many sick people in Israel who did not come to Christ. 

1.)    There was no doubt many sick people in Israel who were “enduring their illness” or “toughing it out”, who did not come to Christ for healing. 

2.)    There were probably those who were sick and did not know they were sick, who, of course, did not come to Christ for healing. 

3.)    A person would not come for healing if they thought they were not sick. 

b.      Many people will die and go to hell, who do not believe they are lost. 

c.      Matthew 7:21-23 emphasizes, Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 

3.       There is no doubt many lepers in Israel, but the Bible only records this one leper coming to Christ for cleansing. 

a.      Lepers lived in a leper colony, where they did not spread the disease to others. 

b.      Speculation: I wonder if the leper told other lepers he was going to come to Christ for healing. 

1.)    If he did tell them, it appears no other leper came with him for cleansing. 

2.)    If he did not tell the other lepers, I wonder if the other lepers heard about Christ, considered he could heal them, as he had healed others, but still refused to come to Christ. 

4.       It is not wrong to ask God for those things we desire. 

a.      If we don’t ask, he certainly won’t give. 

1.)    Jesus relates in Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 

2.)    This leper could have seen Jesus pass by, and kept his mouth shut, and remained a leper. 

b.      Lost people can know about salvation, yet remain lost.

1.)    Lost people can know Jesus saves, yet not come to him for salvation. 

2.)    Lost people can know how to be saved, yet fail to repent and believe. 

3.)    Lost people can even come to the place of almost asking Jesus to forgiven them and save them, but if they do not come to Christ, they will remain lost. 

D.     The leper  “fell on his face” (Luke 5:12), kneeled, (Mark 1:40), and worshipped Christ, (Matthew 8:2). 

1.       A leper (and a sinner) can worship God. 

a.      We worship when we realize and acknowledge the superiority of Christ over us and we submit ourselves to his decisions. 

b.      Cornelius, of Acts 10:2, was a lost person, yet worshipped God. 

c.      Acts 10:1,2 states, There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, 2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. 

2.       This shows his complete lack of pride and his total dependence upon Christ for healing. 

a.      Luke 18:9-14 – The publican who would not draw near to the temple, but stood afar off. 

b.      He would not so much as lift his eyes to heaven, but bowed his head; showing his complete lack of pride and total dependence upon Christ for salvation. 

c.      It was not the prayer of the publican that saved him, rather the total surrender of himself to God and his will that allowed him to come to the place of accepting the free gift of eternal redemption.

3.       How does a sinner come to Christ? 

a.      Jesus is everywhere, so you do not have to “make a trip” to find him. 

b.      All you have to do is pray (talk) to Christ. 

1.)    Praying is not the same as talking to yourself or speaking into the air. 

2.)    Don’t worry about being formal, or saying certain words. 

3.)    Tell God what is on your heart and mind. 

4.)    God is ever-present and always hears your prayer. 

c.      He will hear your earnest prayer of repentance and asking for forgiveness. 

d.      If you believe you do not need forgiveness, you will never pray to Christ and ask him for forgiveness. 


III.    Jesus touched the leper. 

A.     Mark 1:41 – Jesus had compassion.

1.       Compassion was shown only after the leper came to him. 

2.       Jesus showed his compassion by putting forth his hand and healing the leper. 

a.      It was not necessary for Jesus to touch the leper as is proven by the 10 lepers in Luke 17:11-19, where Christ healed all ten lepers without touching any of them, but instructed them to show themselves to the priest. 

b.      They were all healed as they obeyed. 

B.     The leper knew his cleansing is at the discretion of Christ. 

1.       Matthew 8:2 declares, …Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 

2.       He came asking (beseeching), not demanding, or forcing Christ to do anything. 

C.     When Jesus touched the leper, he is showing that it is not outward wickedness that separates a person from God, but inward sin. 

1.       Some might complain that Jesus went against the law by touching the leper, but it must be understood that Jesus came to fulfill the law, and he fulfilled the law by overcoming it. 

2.       The leper did not have to wait for cleansing, but was cleansed immediately. 

D.     The sinner who comes to Christ as a sinner does not have to wait to be saved, but can be saved immediately. 

1.       Are you lost? 

2.       Have you heard that Jesus has saved others? 

3.       Do you believe Jesus can also save you? 

4.       Will you come to Christ, or will you refuse to come to Christ, confess your sins and seek the healing of Jesus for your spiritual soul?  [1]


IV.    Why did Jesus tell the leper to tell no man what had happened, but to show himself to the priest first? 

A.     Jesus gave instructions to not tell who he was on at least five occasions.

1.       The healing of Jairus’ daughter - Luke 8:56 – This miracle has nothing at all to do with leprosy – whether they told or not is not recorded, only Matthew 9:26 records, And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land. 

2.       The healing of the deaf man – Mark 7:32-37 – Jesus told them not to tell, but they did not obey. 

3.       When the leper was healed – our text – the leper did not obey. 

4.       The Mount of Transfiguration – Mark 9:9 – the disciples obeyed. 

5.       When Christ stated he would organize his kind of church – Matthew 16:20, Luke 9:21,22 – the disciples obeyed. 

B.     It seems pretty strange that Jesus would tell this man to not tell any person he had been healed, yet there was a vast multitude present. 

1.       In Matthew 8:1 Jesus had just come down from the mountain, where he preached to the multitude, which followed him. 

a.      The multitude was evidently present when the leper was healed. 

b.      All the people present would have seen the skin tone of the leper change from pure white to flesh colored, and would know healing had taken place.

2.       Luke 5:12 declares that Jesus healed the leper in a city, which, no doubt, was full of people. 

3.       Mark 1:45 declares the leper did not obey Christ, therefore Jesus could not longer minister openly, but was in desert places, and people came to him to those desert places. 

4.       Jesus told only certain people to not tell they had received healing, or who he was. 

a.      The healing of Jairus’ daughter.

b.      The healing of the deaf man.

c.      The Mount of Transfiguration.

d.      When Christ stated he would organize his kind of church.

5.       It would be very difficult for any person to receive such healing and not tell anybody, especially those present. 

C.     The main reason is one of authority. 

1.       The nation of Israel still had the oracles of God when Jesus spoke to the leprous man. 

a.      The transfer of the keys of the kingdom had not yet been given to the church, but remained with the Jews. 

b.      When that transfer is complete, then all glory is to be given to the church, then it would not be necessary to show the priests anything, or go through the Jewish nation for anything. 

c.      It would then be necessary to show the church, and to go through the church to properly give honor and glory to God. 

2.       Another reason for people to not tell who Christ is would be safety. 

a.      John 18:8,9 states, Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way: 9 That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none. 

b.      It was not time yet for the disciples of Christ to be taken captive, or to be killed. 

c.      When that time, they will willingly die for the cause of Christ.

d.      Stephen is one such martyr. 

e.      Acts 12:1-5 reveals that after Herod killed James the brother of John, Peter was kept in prison waiting his death. 

3.       A third reason for people to not tell who Christ is would be that Christ wants true followers. 

a.      John 6:26-27 records that after Christ fed the 5,000 with five barley loaves and two small fish, people followed him because they desired another meal. 

b.      Christ explains they did not follow him because he did miracles – because they knew he was the Messiah. 

c.      Christ performed miracles to prove to people he was the Son of God, so they would follow him because he was the Saviour and King. 

4.       The command forbidding disciples to tell who Christ is, is repealed. 

a.      Matthew 28:18-20 states, And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 

b.      Acts 1:8 declares, But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 

D.     It is approximately 40 - 50 miles to Jerusalem, where the man is to appear before the priests. 

1.       He is to tell no man as he travels to Jerusalem, but after he tells the priest, there is no hindrance to him declaring to all what has happened to him. 

2.       Jesus knows the Jewish religious leaders will use the healing of the leprous man against him unless all the commandments of the law are rigorously followed. 

E.      An unclean person (and this included the leper) was considered unfit for worship. 

1.       Therefore, when Christ instructed this man to show himself to the priest, he was giving him permission to present himself before God in the temple, from which he was previously banned because of his leprosy. 

2.       This ought to be the very first thing the leper (or anybody else who was healed) would want to do. 

3.       It should be the “natural” spiritual thing to do. 

4.       To do any other wise would be to show contempt to the authority of the Jews in this miraculous healing. 

F.      Leviticus chapter 13 and 14 give instruction for Israel to deal with Leprosy. 

1.       Leviticus 14:4 gives the special sacrifices the healed leper is to offer to God. 

2.       Leviticus 14:11 declares that the priest shall present the man before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle, therefore the priest would be forced to recognize that a healing from God had taken place. 

3.       I think it is very interesting that allowance is made in the law given to Moses for the healing of leprosy, a fatal disease!

G.     Why did the leper disobey? 

1.       He was very thankful he was cleansed and desired to tell everybody. 

2.       It would be a very natural thing to do, yet it was in direct violation to the command of Christ. 

3.       It would also be natural for all who knew the leper to know he had been healed, because the healing would be evident in his body. 

4.       The salvation of a sinner is also evident in his body, as his entire countenance changes. 

H.     It is evident the man didn't obey the commands of God. 

1.       It is difficult for us to blame the man for any wrongdoing, even though it is due. 

a.      He had leprosy: a condemnation of slow, agonizing, painless, rotting death was upon him. 

b.      He was banished from all healthy society, friends, and family. 

c.      But now he is healed. 

d.      He sees his rotting flesh cleansed of the vile disease, healed perfectly whole, without any spot or blemish or any such thing. 

e.      This is very excellent news. 

f.       He cannot wait to tell everybody. 

g.      Probably, he scarcely hears the commandment, being so excited about his new found health. 

h.      He wants to shout to the highest hills, his joy is unbounded, his heart extremely light. 

i.        He cannot wait to return to friends and family, telling of his healing. 

j.        He longs to return to society and enjoy the pleasures so long refused.

2.       Sometimes I think it would be good to see this kind of joy in believers. 

a.      Sometimes I wonder if some who say they believe really believe when I do not see heart joy and heart work in them. 

b.      I do understand, that sometimes Baptist people stifle joy because we do not want to be called Pentecostal. 

3.       Even as we think of the great joy the man experiences, we also realize this is no excuse for disobedience. 

a.      There is no excuse for disobedience. 

b.      All will be judged for obedience to the commands of God, regardless of the joy or sorrow of heart.

4.       It should also be remembered that God will receive glory and honor for the disobedience of this man. 

a.      He would receive glory and honor if he had obeyed, but just because he doesn't obey is no signal that God will not receive glory and honor. 

b.      Psalm 76:10 declares that there is no evil that God can't receive praise from. 

c.      This is so in this case. 

d.      God's will be will be done. 

5.       The only variation is who receives praise from God for obedience. 

a.      God's eternal will is not thwarted, or hindered in any way at all. 

b.      God will mingle this disobedience into circumstances of obedience to cause His eternal will to be accomplished.


V.    Luke 5:16 states, And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed. 

A.     It seems strange to us for Jesus to withdraw himself because this is not the way of man. 

1.       A man would enjoy his new fame and seek to increase it, just as the brothers of Christ thought as recorded in John 7:1-6. 

2.       Jesus withdraws because he doesn't want man to look at "him", but at God who sent him into the world. 

3.       Jesus withdraws because He doesn't want "his" fame spread abroad, but desires that people see the strength of God in Him. 

4.       The message of healing will go to all the people, but it will go through the proper channel, the priesthood, and not through some "free-lance" evangelism, who lacks the proper authority to preach the gospel. 

B.     It should be noted that the effect of the gospel of healing went forth even though it went through the wrong source. 

1.       The same is true today. 

2.       Christ has given to His kind of churches the authority to preach the gospel and baptize the believers. 

3.       There are those who have no authority from God to preach or baptize, yet they do. 

4.       God blesses His Word today just like He blessed it in all ages. 

5.       Regardless of who preaches the truth, the Holy Spirit will use that truth in the convicting of souls and the accomplishing of God's will. 

C.     The work of God will not be stopped, but it can be hindered by disobedience. 

1.       Jesus withdrew into the wilderness, but people still came to him. 

2.       Today, the gospel is still being spread throughout this world, but often it is not spread through local churches, rather through radio preachers, T. V. preachers, so forth. 

3.       Because there is a lack of understanding about the local church, there is also much perversion in the gospel message.    [2]

[1] Preached to here 05/27/2007 IBC Sunday Evening

[2] Preached to here 06/03/2007 IBC Sunday Morning