“And behold, a leper came and worshiped him, saying, Lord, if You will, You can make me clean. And Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, I will; be clean! And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” – Matthew 8:2, 3 (MKJV)
Leprosy was considered the curse of God. All who had leprosy were believed to have committed some great sin for which God was punishing them, and they were banished from contact with their families, friends, and all who did not have leprosy. The stigma associated with the disease must have had a dejecting influence on any person who contracted it.
The Bible doesn’t tell us how long this man who Jesus healed had leprosy, but no matter how long he had suffered from it, certainly he was tormented night and day by thoughts of the sins of his past just as he was tormented by the pain of the disease that ate his life away. Then he heard of Jesus. Many said that not only could Jesus heal the sick, but He could forgive sins. Oh, the struggle that raged in this leper’s mind. He knew that he could receive healing for his body and forgiveness for his sin, but he wavered.
For so long he had felt the revilement of people who looked at him, judging him a sinner and shunning him from their presence with shouts and stones as if he were some kind of rabid animal. Would Jesus be the same way? Jesus was so holy, so righteous, and so pure. Would Jesus even have anything to do with him? When finally he determined to let nothing stop him, he at once sought Jesus. So determined he was that the insults, curses, and stones hurled at him by the crowds did not stop him as he hastened to the place where Jesus was. He stopped wavering, went directly to Jesus, and knelt, begging for forgiveness, cleansing, and purity.
Many, today, waver in the same way. They think that their sins are too great or that their conditions are too revolting. They see Jesus, the pure, holy, righteous one, and they hear of how he changes lives, making wrongs right and forgiving the past. But having dealt so long with unforgiving, judgmental people, they question whether or not the love of Jesus will be extended to them—especially if they have already been forgiven and have fallen back into sin. If these poor souls will only determine to bring themselves to Jesus, to fall to their knees in prayer, and worship Him, saying, “Lord, if You will, You can make me clean.” They will hear the voice of Jesus say, “I will. Be clean!”