Luke 5:12-14 - And it came about that while He was in one of the cities, behold, there was a man full of leprosy; and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, "Lord if you are willing, You can make me clean." 13And he stretched out His hand, and touched him, saying, "I am willing; be cleansed." And immediately the leprosy left him. 14And He ordered him to tell no one, "But go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, just as Moses commanded, for a testimony to them."
The number 1 song on many Christians' "top ten" list these days is "He Touched Me." This is a beautiful song and really expresses the truth that God has made us whole people through Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, however, there are times when the emphasis of the song seems to be "He touched me." All attention is focused on the singer or speaker. Look at me! My life was once one high after another in sin. But I gave up that exciting life (Almost tempting, isn't it?). The world really lost out when it lost me. Now I'm so different. Don't you wish you could be like me? Well, maybe it's not quite that bad, but you get the point. There's so much glory given to the messenger that the message is lost. When Jesus touched and healed the leper in Luke 5:1214, the glory is placed where it belongs--on Christ. Throughout the Bible, leprosy is a picture of sin, and it is anything but exciting. God uses this horrible sickness to depict for us the ugliness of sin. Leprosy is a disease of the entire body. The man in Luke 5 was not a leper because he was covered with the ulcers and sores of leprosy. These were but external symptoms of the systemic disease. He was "full of leprosy" (v12). What a picture of mankind--you and me. The sins we commit are but surface symptoms of our true condition. We are sinners by nature--through and through! Leprosy is a loathsome disease. It starts showing with only small blotches on the skin, but slowly and surely it eats and disfigures the whole body. Fingers, toes, ears, and nose are gradually lost. During Biblical times there was no known cure for leprosy. It was only a matter of time before death. Could anything be more descriptive of sin and its result? At first, sin's ugliness may not be perceived. In fact, we can hide it under a variety of smart-looking "clothes" called facades, but before long its loathsome presence begins to show. Jealousy over a roommate's good grades or popularity; the silent treatment for a former friend; unwillingness to submit to a parent's authority; all these are symptoms of the disease called sin. Apart from God there is no cure and sin continues to eat away and make life miserable. What about the pleasures of sin? Sure there may be excitement for a time, but slowly sin takes its toll. Our lifestyle becomes selfish and sick. Our thought patterns become warped. We're disfigured. We're not whole. We have "reaped what we have sown" (Galations 6:7). And eternal death is the sure result of sin. "For the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). Let us never forget to view sin the way God sees it. Not exciting, but loathsome! Without the touch of God, man is like the dying leper. Not much of a prize! Remember all glory is on God's side of the touch! The hopeful request of the leper brought the healing touch of the Lord Jesus. The leper didn't doubt the Lord's ability, but was afraid that Jesus might not be willing. "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean" (v12). Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Many people never doubt the power and ability of God but think their cases are too far gone for God to want to help. No! The Lord Jesus will always say, "I am willing" (v13). There is no such thing as a person who is so involved in the ugliness of sin that Jesus turns away. Anyone who, like the leper, falls on his face (v12) and calls for mercy receives the healing touch of God Himself, and cleansing is immediate (v13). The fact that Jesus touched the leper is significant. Leprosy is a contagious disease and lepers had to live outside the city and call, "Unclean!" when anyone came near. The compassion of the Lord Jesus is seen as He reaches out and touches those open ulcers and sores of the poor disfigured leper. What a picture of God's love for us! Forever our song will be "HE touched me!" Verse 14 may need some explanation. The Lord was not interested in becoming a popular hero. Therefore He told the healed man to go quietly to the temple and show himself to the priest in accordance with the Law of God as given to Moses in Leviticus 14. Jesus said that this action itself would be a testimony to the priests--those unbelieving priests of the religious establishment which would not accept the Lord. What a testimony! How could they doubt that Jesus was the Christ when they saw the change in this man? There may be a lesson here for us too. Let us spend more time in quiet obedience to our Savior. We can talk a good testimony but it is the consistent action of a changed life in obedience to the Word of God that will be the most effective testimony to those skeptics around us. They don't want to hear that "He touched ME." They need to see that "HE touched me."