Jesus Heals a Leprous Man
Matthew 8:2–4; Mark 1:40–45; Luke 5:12–16
LK — And it happened when He was in a certain city, that behold, a man who was full of leprosy saw Jesus; and he fell on his face
Luke’s emphasis suggests this was an extremely serious case of leprosy. Lepers were considered ceremonially unclean and were outcasts from society (Leviticus 13:11). While the Old Testament term for leprosy included other skin diseases (Leviticus 13:2), this man may have actually had true leprosy (Hansen’s Disease), or else his cure would not have created such a sensation.
MT — and worshiped Him,
MK — imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him,
MT — “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
“If You are willing”. He had no doubt about Christ’s power, only His will (Mark 1:40–45).
MK — moved with compassion,
Only mark records Jesus’ emotional reaction to the leper’s desperate plight. The Greek word appears only in the Synoptic Gospels and (apart from parables) is used only in reference to Jesus.
MT — put out His hand and touched him,
Unlike rabbis, who avoided lepers lest they become ceremonially defiled, Jesus expressed His compassion with a physical gesture.
MK — and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed. And He strictly warned him and sent him away at once;
One of the characteristics of Jesus’ healings was immediate and total wholeness. (Matthew 8:13; Mark 5:29; Luke 17:14; John 5:9)
LK — He charged him to tell no one
Publicity over such miracles might hinder Christ’s mission and divert public attention from His message. Mark records that this is precisely what happened. In this man’s exuberance over the miracle, he disobeyed; as a result Christ had to move His ministry away from the city and into the desert regions (Mark 1:45).
MK — and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone;
The ensuing publicity would hinder Jesus’ ability to minister (as in fact happened) and divert attention away from his message. (Mark 3:12; Mark 5:43; Mark 7:36)
but go your way, show yourself to the priest,
The “priest” was the one on duty at the temple. Jesus commanded the healed leper to observe the Old Testament regulations concerning cleansed lepers (Leviticus 14:1–32). until the required offerings had been made, the man remained ceremonially unclean.
and offer for your cleansing those things which Moses commanded,
A sacrifice of two birds, one of which was killed and the other set free (Leviticus 14:4–7).
as a testimony to them.”
i.e., the priests. The priest’s acceptance of the man’s offering would be public affirmation of his cure and cleansing.
However, he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the matter.
Only Mark records the cleansed leper’s disobedience, although Luke hints at it (Luke 5:15).
LK — The report went around concerning Him all the more
MK — so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city,
The result of the leper’s disobedience was that Jesus could no longer enter a city without being mobbed by those seeking to be cured of diseases. Jesus’ ministry of teaching in that area thus came to a halt.
but was outside in deserted places; and they came to Him from every direction.
Jesus kept to the relatively uninhabited regions to allow the excitement over His cure of the leper to die down. Luke also notes that He used His time in the wilderness for prayer (Luke 5:16).
LK — Great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.
Jesus Heals and Forgives a Paralytic
Matthew 9:1–8; Mark 2:1–12; Luke 5:17–26
MT — So
MK — after some days
MT — He got into a boat, crossed over, and came to His own city.
Capernaum (Matthew 4:13). Jesus had left there to get away from the crowds for a time (Matthew 8:18).
MK — And again He entered Capernaum.
LK — now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem.
i.e., scribes. These Jewish leaders came from as far away as Jerusalem. His reputation had spread, and already the scribes and Pharisees were watching Him critically.
MK — And it was heard that He was in the house. Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door.
This is better translated, “He was at home.” This was likely Peter’s home, where Jesus had taken up temporary residence (Matthew 4:13).
And He preached the word to them.
The good news of the gospel, that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, for the forgiveness of sins.
LK — And the power of the Lord was present to heal them.
MT — then behold,
MK — four men
LK — brought on a bed a man who was paralyzed, whom they sought to bring in and lay before Him.
Since he was lying on a bed, the man’s paralysis was severe — perhaps he was a quadriplegic.
LK — And when they could not find how they might bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the housetop and
MK — they uncovered the roof where he was.
Most homes in Israel had flat roofs used for relaxation in the cool of the day and for sleeping on hot nights. And there was usually an external stairway that extended to the roof. Often, as here, the roof was made of slabs of burnt or dried clay that were placed on supporting beams, which stretched from wall to wall. The builder then spread a uniform coat of fresh, wet clay over those slabs. The hardened clay served as a seal against the rain. The paralytic’s friends took him up to the top of such a house and dug out the top coat of clay, removing several of the slabs until they made enough room to lower him down into Jesus’ presence.
So when they had broken through, they
LK — let him down with his bed through the tiling into the midst before Jesus.
This appears to have been a home with roof tiles that, when removed, gave access to lower the man between the roof beams. The extreme measures they took to lay this man before Jesus indicate that the crowds following him were very large. With the press of people around Jesus, it would have been impossible for men carrying a paralytic to get close enough to him, even if they waited until He left the house.
MT When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer…”
The aggressive, persistent effort of the paralytic’s friends was visible evidence of their faith in Christ to heal.
“…your sins are forgiven you.” And at once
Many Jews in that day believed that all disease and affliction was a direct result of one’s sins. This paralytic may have believed that as well; thus he would have welcomed forgiveness of his sins before healing. The Greek verb for “are forgiven” refers to sending or driving away (Psalm 103:12; Jeremiah 31:34; Micah 7:19). Thus Jesus dismissed the man’s sin and freed him from the guilt of it (Matthew 9:2). Christ ignored the paralysis and addressed the man’s greater need first. In doing so He asserted a prerogative that was God’s alone (Luke 7:49). His subsequent healing of the man’s paralysis was proof that He had the authority to forgive sins as well.
MK — some of the scribes
LK — and the Pharisees
MK — were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
This would be a true judgment about anyone but God incarnate, for only the One who has been sinned against has the prerogative to forgive. Jesus’ words to the man were therefore an unequivocal claim of divine authority. The scribes were correct in saying that only God can forgive sins (Isaiah 43:25), but incorrect in saying Jesus blasphemed. They refused to recognize Jesus’ power as coming from God, much less that He Himself was God.
LK — But when Jesus,
MT — knowing their thoughts,
Matthew 12:25; Mark 13:32; Luke 2:52; John 2:24. Though the Lord Jesus humbled Himself (Philippians 2:4–8) and set aside the independent use of His divine prerogatives in incarnation (John 5:30), He was still fully God and, therefore, omniscient.
MK — perceived in His spirit that
This can also be translated, “by His spirit.” This is not the Holy Spirit, but the omniscient mind of the Savior.
they reasoned thus within themselves,
LK — He answered and said to them,
MT — “Why do you think evil,
LK — reasoning
MK — about these things
MT — in your hearts? For which is easier, to say
It is certainly easier to claim the power to pronounce absolution from sin than to demonstrate the power to heal. Christ actually proved His power to forgive by instantly healing the man of his paralysis. If He could do the apparently-harder, He could also do what seemed easier. The actual forgiving of the sins was in reality the more difficult task because it ultimately required Him to sacrifice His life.
MK — to the paralytic,
MT — ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise,
MK — take up your bed
MT — and walk’? But that you may know
Jesus’ power to heal the paralytic’s physical infirmities proved the veracity of His claim and power to forgive sins. His ability to heal anyone and everyone at will — totally and immediately — was incontrovertible proof of His deity. As God, He had all authority to forgive sins. This was a decisive moment and should have ended once and for all the Pharisees’ opposition. Instead, they began to try to discredit Him by charging Him with violating their Sabbath rules.
that the Son of Man
Jesus used this term for Himself to emphasize His humiliation (Matthew 8:20; Mark 14:62). It appears fourteen times in Mark’s gospel (Mark 2:10, Mark 2:28; Mark 8:31, Mark 8:38; Mark 9:9, Mark 9:12, Mark 9:31; Mark 10:33, Mark 10:45; Mark 13:26; Mark 14:21, Mark 14:41, Mark 14:62).
has power on earth to forgive sins” — then He said to the paralytic,
LK — “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” Immediately he rose up before them,
MK — took up the bed
LK — he had been lying on, and departed
MK — in the presence of them all
LK — to his own house, glorifying God.
MT — Now when the multitudes saw it,
LK — they were all amazed, and
MT — they marveled and glorified God, who had given such power to men.
LK — And [they] were filled with fear,
MK — saying, “We never saw anything like this!
LK — We have seen strange things today!”
The response is curiously noncommittal — not void of wonder and amazement, but utterly void of true faith.
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For the Pharisees, Jesus was a threat. Hearing His wisdom didn’t reveal to them that He is God. His compassion didn’t soften their hearts. Not even seeing His miracles persuaded them of His divinity. Jesus’ ministry was filled with inexplicable, miraculous healing that supernaturally poured out from Him because He loved the lost He came to reach. Do you believe that Jesus has the power and authority to heal “every disease and sickness” (Matthew 4:23)? Even yours? Come join the conversation on our blog! We would love to hear your thoughts on Jesus, the Healer! ~ Devotionals Daily