Some scholars and commentaries suggest that the healing recorded in Matthew 8:1-4 is not the same healing recorded in Mark 1:40-45 and Luke 5:12-15. Similar situations are not always identical. Any differences in these accounts are not the purpose of this consideration. Since it is unanimously agreed upon that the Mark and Luke narratives are identical, these only will be briefly explored.
In Mark and Luke, the man who came to Jesus was “full of leprosy.” He prostrated himself before Jesus and respectfully begged, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” There was no doubt in this man’s mind that the Lord had the ability to heal him, if Jesus was willing. Jesus was “moved with compassion,” and He reached out to this man and reassured him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Jesus also did what no one else would ever do — He touched the man.
Among the laws that the Lord had given Moses were laws concerning people with leprosy. When this skin disease was determined, the afflicted person had to announce their presence, and shout, “Unclean! Unclean!” Leviticus 13:46 states that “He is unclean, and he shall dwell alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.” The lives of the men and women affected with leprosy were lonely lives, and it must have been heart-melting to be touched by anyone, especially by the Lord.
“As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed.” Jesus firmly advised the man to go and show himself to the priest, and to take his offering, according to the laws pertaining to lepers (Leviticus 14). Jesus also said, “See that you say nothing to anyone…” but the man did not obey those words spoken by the Lord. He must have been indescribably elated to be healed and free of the stigma of leprosy, and “he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the matter, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in deserted places; and they came to Him from every direction.” (Mark 1: 45) Luke adds that “the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities.” (5:15)
Jesus taught and commissioned His disciples to “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8) The compassion and willing healing touch of the Lord is still available today.