And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” (Mark 1:40-41)
Mark’s story of Jesus’ encounter with a leper is a powerful one. To be a leper was a life of solitude having to always cry out “unclean, unclean” to all who might come near. This leper, however, broke these legal demands of his station to approach Jesus with all hope that he might be healed. Jesus shows him the greatest of all compassion by reaching out and touching him. We don’t think much of it, our human contact with one another, but for this man it would have been shocking, not to mention the crowds would have also been troubled by Jesus’ touch. For the leper Jesus used the compassion of a touch to heal him, but there is a greater picture here. For us, Jesus came to heal us of our greatest infirmity. We were dead in trespasses and sins, enslaved to sin and under the wrath of God’s judgment. Jesus, God, came in human flesh to be touched by all our infirmities, all our weaknesses, all are sin and rebellion on the cross so that we might have the healing work of his hand upon us in the forgiveness of our sins, in giving us life, eternal life, and rescuing us from God’s condemnation. We are the leper full of spiritual sin, Christ is our healer.