Gospel Message & Recording
Leprosy was a disease that no one wanted to contract. Indeed, the disease was contagious, so in the time of Christ, if someone contracted leprosy, they would be quarantined far away from civilization. The disease itself was in a way, disgusting. The smell of rotting flesh was a distinct feature of a leper. No one would want to be near a leper for the sheer fact that he or she smelled bad. Further, contact with such people would mean contracting the disease. This was in some way a preventive method for the public at large; however, despite society’s good intentions to protect the health of the public, the lepers we outcastes, uncared for, rejected, unwanted and treated worse than animals. Imagine how a leper felt. Although they had rotting flesh, sores, and warts consuming their body, they were still human beings, born in the Image and Likeness of God. It is likely that despair and depression were an integral part of a leper’s psychological makeup. This is basically the predicament of the leper that Jesus encountered in today’s Gospel Reading, taken from Luke 5:12-16.
Jesus’ “standard-operating-procedure” was to heal, teach, preach and cast out demons. When he came face-to-face with the leper, the leper fell on his face and cried out, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Then, Jesus stretched out his hands and touch him saying, “Yes, I am willing. Be cleansed.” The Gospels record the leper immediately left. A leper no more--the man who was once a leper--stands tall as a testimony of Christ’s grace, love, mercy, and healing.
It did not take much for the leper to find his healing. First, he recognized Christ for who he was—Lord. Thus, declaring that he was divine. Second, in so doing, he bowed his head and prostrated before Christ, showing reverence and humility. Third, the leper placed the responsibility of healing in Christ's hands by saying, “Lord, if you are willing.” In other words, he was saying, ‘If you want you can heal me.’ Therefore, the “ball” was in Jesus’ court. At this point, how could Christ say “no?” How could Christ not be willing to heal? Christ, who is truly God by nature, is willing to heal. If I may be bold enough to say, He can’t by nature say “no.” So, because of this, Jesus touched the leper. Touching the leper was a sign of solidarity with him. The society at large did not want to be near the leper, let alone touch him. The touch was significant because it demonstrated the tremendous compassion and fearlessness of Christ. The religious leaders of that time were, for the most part, harsh/rigid and fearful/prejudice of anything that was not Jewish and according to their lawful standards. Nevertheless, Christ defied their laws and broke through their prejudices and healed the leper.
We might, as Orthodox Christians, read this Gospel narrative and enjoy its spiritual insights. But as I have experienced in my conversations with the clergy and the people, rarely do we consider that Jesus, who touched the leper and healed him, could touch and heal us today.
Yes, like the leper, Jesus can heal you! Today, bow down at his feet and repent of your sins. Worship him as Lord and Savior. Ask him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can heal me.” Is He not willing? Will He say, “no?” On the contrary, He is willing; and He will say “yes.” Then, as real as the place you are standing, Jesus will place his hands on you, and you will receive your miracle!
For myself, these are not just words, but a real-life experience with Christ. I have experienced the healing touch of Jesus first hand. As a young man out of seminary, I was living with my parents. At the time I suffered from a prostate issue. The gland itself was over-sized and felt like a tennis ball. I was working as a teacher so I would come home in time to watch The 700 Club with Pat Robertson as they had the “word of knowledge” at the end of the program. This portion of the program was geared toward physical, mental and spiritual healing. The “word of knowledge” was a particular insight of wisdom given by God to Pat or his son Gordon for a specific person watching the show that was agreeing in prayer for healing. For almost a year I was praying that the Lord would take away the prostate issue. Then, one late afternoon, after coming back from work, I was watching The 700 Club. It was the end of the show so Gordon (Pat’s son) asked all those who were watching to close their eyes and place their hand on the area of their body that needed healing. And, so I did. I placed my hand on my prostate. After three words of knowledge (for other people), Gordon said, “There is a young man out there, who for two years has been suffering from an enlarged prostate. In the name of Jesus Christ, the prostate is shrinking now.” While he was saying this I saw the face of Christ come to my face and merge with me. Immediately, I felt the prostate shrink. It went back to its normal size in a second. When I opened my eyes the room was filled with a light that was not created by anything earthly. Now, in hindsight, I realize that was a divine light that I had experienced. I know that The 700 club is not Orthodox; nevertheless, God worked through them to heal this Orthodox Priest. Since then, my prostate was normal as can be.
The Bible says Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow. If He can heal then, He can heal now. Call out to Christ, and feel His touch, and experience His healing for your illness, disease, depression, addiction or whatever is hurting you.
- What is particular about the process that took place for the leper to receive his healing from Christ? Discuss the steps that he took to receive His healing?
- Have you ever been healed by Christ? If so, please provide your testimony.
- Sometimes healing is a process that happens over a period of time, short or long. Explain what areas of your life that you have identified as possibly sinful or outside of God’s will and through a certain period of time God’s hand of healing healed you?
- How does the leper’s story relate to our sinful condition