Faithful Leper is Cleansed (Matthew #40)

Text: Matthew 8:1-4

Matthew recorded the Lord’s authority in teaching in the Sermon on the Mount (7:29), then recorded the Lord’s authority over the curse in this chapter.  Notice there is leprosy, palsy, fever, and those possessed of devils that the Lord Jesus Christ has authority over.

The account of this leprous man is found here in Matthew 8:1-4 and in Mark 1:40-45 and Luke 5:12-15.

Man cursed with leprosy (vs 2)

  • Matthew 8:2 …there came a leper…
  • Leprosy is a horrible disease of open wounds, paralysis, if it gets into the nerves and muscles, as it slowly eats away at the body.
  • There are two chapters in Leviticus (13-14) describing how to diagnose and potentially treat leprosy.
    • If it’s a scab or bright spot on the skin that goes beneath the surface of the skin or the hair follicles are discolored then it is leprosy.
    • If someone has a bright spot or scab that doesn’t go beneath the skin and there is no discoloration then they are quarantined for 7 days to make sure it is not the beginning of leprosy.
  • The curse of leprosy afflicted three presumptuous souls
    • The first leper was Miriam when she spoke against Moses (Numbers 12). Deuteronomy 24:8-9 Take heed in the plague of leprosy, that thou observe diligently, and do according to all that the priests the Levites shall teach you: as I commanded them, so ye shall observe to do. 9 Remember what the LORD thy God did unto Miriam by the way, after that ye were come forth out of Egypt.
    • Uzziah became a leper (2 Chronicles 26:16-23).
    • Naaman was a leper (2 Kings 5).
  • Luke 5:12 …full of leprosy…
    • Full of leprosy means he’s been dealing with this for a long time.
    • This man was isolated and outcast from society.

Cry for help (vs 2)

  • Self abandonment
  • Matthew 8:2 …worshipped him…
  • Mark 1:40 …kneeling down to him…
  • Luke 5:12 …fell on his face…
    • At this point not really worried about his own dignity. This is a man truly seeking a reward from God and does not care what others think about him. What he needs is between him and the Lord. He isn’t going to let what others think about him get in the way.
  • Trust in the Lord
    • Matthew 8:2 …Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
    • Mark 1:40 …If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
    • Luke 5:12 …Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

Compassion of the Lord on the leper (vs 3)

  • Compassionate touch
    • Matthew 8:3 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him
    • Mark 1:41 And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him,
    • Luke 5:13 And he put forth his hand, and touched him,
    • Jesus looked on him with compassion and touched him. The touch is not necessary, but the Lord does it. All three accounts mention the touch so it had an impact on those watching.
  • Touch showing acceptance
    • Acceptance is perhaps the greatest need of a human being.

Cleansing of the leper by the word of God (vs 3)

  • Look at Matthew 10:8. Leprosy requires cleansing. Sickness requires healing but leprosy requires cleansing. It’s a small distinction, but a difference nonetheless. You’ll find it everywhere in the Bible that leprosy shows up it is called an uncleanness.
  • Clean by the word of God
    • Matthew 8:3 I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 
    • Mark 1:41 …I will; be thou clean. 42 And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed.
    • Luke 5:13 …I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him.
    • Can you imagine the joy and excitement in this man?! Years of isolation, no cure, pain, shame, and in a moment the words of the Lord Jesus Christ cleaned him.
  • Ephesians 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
  • Psalm 119:9 BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

Charge to be a testimony as prescribed by Moses (vs 4)

  • Prohibition
    • Matthew 8:4 And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man;
    • Mark 1:43 And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away; 44 And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: and the reason why is also given in Mark. Mark 1:45 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 5:14 And he charged him to tell no man: Luke explains the repercussions of this as well.  Luke 5:15 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.
  • Priests will acknowledge the work of the Lord
    • Matthew 8:4 …shew thyself to the priest,
    • Mark 1:44 …but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest,
    • Luke 5:14 …but go, and shew thyself to the priest, 
    • Leviticus 14
    • The priests would have to testify to the cleanness of the person.
  • Personal testimony
    • Matthew 8:4 …and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. (the priests)
    • Mark 1:44 …and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.
    • Luke 5:14 …and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. 
    • When the Lord does a wonderful work, He prescribes a testimony to communicate what He’s done. The testimony is what the Lord prescribed for the personal work He’s done in your life. An offering for a testimony like Romans 12:1.