The miracles of Jesus: Lepers are cleansed

Matthew 8:2-4— Luke 17:11-19

Leprosy is a contagious disease that affects the skin, mucous membranes, nerves, and is the cause of discoloration and lumps on the skin. In severe cases, it can cause disfigurement and deformities.

In the bible, it shows how Jesus Christ healed people twice during His ministry. It was so common and severe amongst the ancient people that God gave Moses instructions to deal with it. Biblically, this disease refers to several skin diseases and even some kinds of fungus, like those found in the the walls of houses and in clothing. The Leprosy that Christ healed was known to be similar to what it is called today the Hansen’s disease, which is a detestable infection that can greatly disfigure and destroy the human body.

John 21:25 records there were a great many miracles done by Jesus and only a few were recorded. There were many reasons for these miracles not the least of which was His compassion for the suffering masses. Chief among the reasons was Jesus desire to share the good news of the coming kingdom. When Jesus made a lame man walk, or a blind man see, the deed was instant & verifiable. No one could doubt the deed done. There was no doubt for the people knew who was suffering and saw the results of the miracle.

These miracles naturally would lead to Jesus sharing the news of salvation and forgiveness of sins.

From the description above one can see the cleansing of lepers was among the most obvious and the most verified by the powers that be. The priest who had to confirm the healing for the leper to become a part of society again would seal the healing.

Early on in the ministry of Jesus large numbers of the people did not know what to make of Him. Some thought He was Elijah, others Moses or some other prophet sent from God. The horrors of leprosy led many to attribute the disease on the body to the effects of sin in the soul.

Of course the majority of Scribes & Pharisees could not/would not believe Jesus was sent from God. But they could not deny the many miracles done by Him to confirm His words. Like so many who when confronted with truth must find a way to discredit the authority of the giver. All they could offer was blatant lies and false accusations, the miracles power was from Beelzebub Matthew 12:24 and not from God.

The disease was so heinous and feared Lepers, by law must keep a safe distance from society by getting out of the way and covering the mouth when speaking. Even some forms of mold and other such growth on walls was attributed to the awful disease. Even Jesus recognized the monstrous nature of the disease when asked if the was willing, immediately He healed them. He would send them to the priest to be pronounced healed.

Samaritans, as is commonly known not well tolerated by the Jews in the New Testament times. This people are only mentioned once by Matthew 10:5. Mark does not mention them at all. Luke tells us this story, including the Samaritan who returned and the parable of the Good Samaritan 10:25f. John offers the story of the Samaritan women at the well 4:1ff. Later in the book of Acts 8:25 Philip the evangelist preached to the Samaritans.

These two stories of healing the Leprosy in these people, like all Jesus did was for a reason. In the single man heal this was to be done for a testimony to the priest-hood. This proved this leper, who was doubtless well known in the land, had been thoroughly cleansed; and thus, in this private way, gave full proof to the priesthood that Jesus was the true Messiah.

The Ten lepers offers the need for appreciation of a good thing done in general and in particular by Jesus Christ our Lord. Surely, forgiveness of our sins is at least as great as these healings and worthy of our life long appreciation.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How did the leper approach Jesus when he came begging to be healed?
  2. Did the Leper say anything to indicate his faith in Jesus? What?
  3. How did Jesus demonstrate His compassion for the Leper?
  4. Where was Jesus when he contacted the 10 lepers?
  5. Where was Jesus headed after meeting the 10 lepers?
  6. What did the 10 lepers cry out to Jesus from a distance?
  7. How was leprosy in the ancient world received by the masses?
  8. What did Jesus try to accomplish by healing the lepers in each story?
  9. Who were the Samaritans People? Why did the Jews hold them in such disdain?