40 A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”
41 Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” 42 Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. Mark 1:40-42
Jesus touched a man who had not been touched in a long long time. Lepers were quite literally untouchable. When they were healed of their disease they had to have a priest declare them unclean. Otherwise they wouldn’t be able to worship with the others.
In one fell swoop, Jesus healed this man and declared him clean. Unfortunately, the English doesn’t quite capture the powerful moment that must have been for the man. He was freed from the chains of leprosy and could worship once again.
He was free!
We’ve often read this passage and glossed over it because it’s not really an exciting story, that is, until you dig into it just a tad. Think of it. No more second class citizen. No more begging. He was free to do what everyone else was free to do. He was no longer enslaved to the disease and the cultural consequences of it.
That’s a great picture story for us as well. Just like the man, Jesus took pity on us and cleansed us after we asked to be set free. The bonds of sin were unshackled and we were set free.
We are free!
That’s the Gospel message right there.