12 In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy.
When the man saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground, begging to be healed.
"Lord," he said, "if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean."
13 Jesus reached out and touched him.
"I am willing," he said.
And instantly the leprosy disappeared.
14 Then Jesus instructed him not to tell anyone what had happened.
He said, "Go to the priest and let him examine you.
Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy.
This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed."
15 But despite Jesus' instructions, the report of his power spread even faster,
and vast crowds came to hear him preach
and to be healed of their diseases.
16 But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.
Jesus did something extraordinary here – He touched a leper.
Lepers were total outcasts – they left everything & everyone they know, usually going to live with other lepers, & basically waited to die.
Jews didn't touch lepers – absolutely not.
They would become ceremonially unclean.
It was also a popular belief that is someone touched a leper, they themselves became a leper too.
They also saw illness as punishment for sins – either the leper's, or someone in their ancestry.
No matter how you slice it, Jesus did a revolutionary thing by touching a leper.
What's more, when Jesus touched the leper, the leper was instantaneously healed.
Once again, we see Jesus reaching across boundaries & convention & doing the extraordinary.
He reached across & entered a leper's life at the most basic way,
dealing with a fundamental, life threatening aspect of the leper's life,
an aspect that defined the leper's life.
Jesus still does that today.
He is ready & willing to reach into the basic areas of our life, if we're willing to let Him.
Jesus is more than ready to deal with the fundamental, life threatening aspects of our lives.
And Jesus is willing to heal the dark aspects of our lives that we think define us, that cripple us, that causes us to be treated as outcasts.
What aspects of our lives do we need healing from?
None of us have to think very hard to come up with a short list.
And how do we receive this healing?
All we have to do is let Him.