Reading: “And behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”—Matthew 8:2–3
Can we not see our own circumstances in this story? What he was in body we were in soul. As his leprosy made him loathsome and offensive before men, so our polluted soul made us odious in the sight of God. He would not have sought a cure, had he not been conscious of his need of it. Neither would you ever have looked to Jesus, had He not convinced you of your helplessness and misery without Him. Furthermore, he would not, though convinced how much he needed healing, have sought that mercy from Jesus, had he not been made sensible of Jesus’ ability to cure. Neither would you ever have come to Jesus, had you not been taught who Jesus is and how competent He is to deliver you.
The poor leper did not doubt whether Jesus was able though he feared that ability might not be exercised towards him. His prayer was, not if thou art able, but, “Lord, if ·thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” Now, dear Christian, I hope, your faith through grace, exceeds the Jewish leper. Surely you both know Jesus’ power and also His disposition to save you. Unworthy and undeserving as you are, yet His grace is not restrained by your undeserving, no more than it was first constrained by your merit. His love, His free love, is the sole rule of His mercy towards His children, and not their claims, for they have none.
But that is not all; the most delightful part still remains in the contemplation of Jesus’ mercy to the poor petitioner and the very gracious manner the Son of God manifested in the bestowing of it. He not only healed him, and did it immediately, but with that tenderness which distinguished His character and His love to poor sinners. Jesus put out His hand and touched him, touched a leper! Even so, precious Lord, deal by me. Though polluted and unclean, yet He condescended to touch me also.