Mark 1:40-42 A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” 41Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” 42Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.
Continue to imagine that you are this man – whom we have assumed is a farmer, a husband and father. You had to leave everything because of your leprosy. The pain of separation, and the pain of life’s hopes and dreams being dashed had become a given in your life – until that day Jesus healed you.
Although he warned you not to tell anyone and to show yourself to the priest, your excitement and joy caused you to tell everyone about this amazing miracle. On your knees you begged him, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” He responded, “I am willing. – Be clean!” How can you ever forget the compassion in his eyes! And his touch – the very fact that he touched you, an unclean leper! No one had touched you in such a long time.
Now you are approaching your home, grateful for the bath you took and the clean clothes you now have on. Your wife and daughter do not know yet of this miracle – but they are about to find out. Approaching your home you experience the joy of walking across your fields. When you are near the door to your home, your young daughter comes out but she doesn’t see you. You stand there a moment watching her – how she’s grown. And then you call her name – your voice cracking with emotion. She turns and you see the stunned look on her face. That is quickly replaced with a smile and a squeal of joy you will never forget as she runs to you and leaps into your arms. Never, in your wildest dreams did you think this could ever happen again.
After holding her close, you tell her to go get her mother, your wife, but she’s not to tell her that you are there. In a moment, she comes out of the door pulling your wife who was busy working inside. Your wife is fussing with her, wondering why she had to come out. Then your daughter slowly lifts her arm and points in your direction. Your wife turns and sees you standing there – smiling. You have never seen her look so stunned and so speechless. You can no longer hold back the tears. As you open your arms, she runs to you and is enfolded in your embrace.
For the longest time you just stand there holding each other and then your daughter comes to join the hug. Finally, the questions burst forth from their lips. They want to know what happened. How can you be healed of your leprosy? You take them inside, sit down and take a breath. Looking into their faces you begin, “There is this man named Jesus…”
Note: Max Lucado has a wonderful story of the leper Jesus touched. We have had the joy of seeing our son Andrew act out the above story in performances where the audiences wept because the story came so alive.
Note: The movie “Risen” is one of the very best! It is told from the perspective of the Romans, specifically the Roman Tribune who is assigned the task of finding the body of Jesus. One of the very last scenes after the resurrection is Jesus in Galilee rescuing, embracing and healing a highly deformed leper – who we then see become a fully healed man. I don’t recall ever seeing a scene to compare to it, that so reveals the leper’s deformity – and such a loving response by our Savior!