And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth [his] hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed. And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away; And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter.
What a wretched being a leper is! afflicted with a horrid disease, which no one can cure, and shut out of society, as too loathsome for the eyes of his follow-men. Sad, but true, picture of man's moral condition. Fallen — utterly fallen. The very heart filled with the loathsome disease of sin. His whole nature corrupt — incurable. This little paper may be put in the hands of one who feels the wretchedness of sin. Thou hast sinned. The leprosy has broken out; art thou trying to hide it? God knows it, and thou art wretched. Oh, how wretched! What a burden on thy heart! What is that thou wast saying? "I wish I had never been born!" Why? Oh! I see thou hast tried many physicians, but no cure. The leprosy is still there, and spreads. Thou hast tried temperance, morality, religion. Thou hast tried to amend, and tried hard, but all in vain; thy case is too bad for these remedies. God knows thy deep sorrow, thy despairing groans.
Who are those two persons there? A loathsome leper and the Son of God. Well now, look; the leper, just as he is, speaks to Jesus. He does not ask what he must do to cleanse himself. He came to Him, "beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him,If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." Does Jesus say, Go and get better first? No. See! Jesus is moved with compassion; and though no other person would touch that wretched leper, Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, and said, "I will, be thou clean." What a wondrous change! That man, whom no one could cure, was in a moment healed; as soon as Jesus had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed.
Ah! I see your mistake. You have not yet fully seen the love of God to the ungodly in the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh, trembling sinner! look in the face of Jesus! See Him moved with compassion at the sight of thy leprous wretchedness. Art thou thus brought to Him just as thou art? It was God who sent Him from heaven, that thy leprosy might be cleansed with His very life's blood: and now, raised from the dead, He speaks to thee just as thou art, "I will, be thou clean."
My fellow-leper, there never was a poor wretched sinner, thus brought and given to Jesus just as he was, but that moment he heard the voice of God in the words of Jesus, and those blessed words were true of him, "and he was cleansed."
Wouldst thou rob Christ of His glory? Wouldst thou say that thou must got better before Christ can heal thee? Thou wouldst not give an earthly physician such a character. Wilt thou then say of the Great Physician, He receiveth none, and cleanseth none but those who are getting better? The blessed Jesus rejected none. Thou mayest be too great a Pharisee for Him, but thou canst not be too great a sinner.
Oh, reader! if now thine eyes are opened to see Jesus receiving thee just as thou art, and renouncing all pretensions to righteousness in thy self-believing on Jesus, thou, even thou, art cleansed, and cleansed for ever. "For, by one offering, he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." C.S.
"How bright, there above, is the mercy of God!" —
"And void of all guilt, and clear of all sin,
Is my conscience and heart, thro' my Saviour's blood."
"Not a cloud above" — "not a spot within."
Christ died! then I am clean: "not a spot within." —
God's mercy and love: "not a cloud above."
'Tis the Spirit, thro' faith, thus triumphs o'er sin:
"Not a cloud above" — "not a spot within."