Leprosy was a terrible disease. Those who had it were declared ceremonially unclean and were ostracized from society. “Now the leper on whom the sore is, his clothes shall be torn and his head bare; and he shall cover his mustache, and cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ He shall be unclean. All the days he has the sore he shall be unclean. He is unclean, and he shall dwell alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp” (Leviticus 13:45, 46). Beside God, the Father and Jesus, the prophet Elisha was the only person whom God used to healed someone of leprosy (2 Kings 5:1-14).
When Jesus was in a certain city where a man full of leprosy lived. He saw Jesus and fell on his face and begged, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Jesus reached out and touched the man, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Jesus is always willing to heal and cleanse those who seek Him. Jesus made this unclean man clean again. The leprosy immediately left him.
Jesus gave him these instructions: “Don’t tell anyone about this, but go and show yourself to the priest. Offer a gift to the priest, just as Moses commanded, and everyone will know that you have been healed” (Luke 5:14, CEV).
However word got around and many people came to Jesus to hear what He had to say and to be healed of their infirmities. Often, Jesus would slip away to spend time with His Father, His Source of strength. There are times in our lives when we are so busy with family, work, church activities and other things that like Jesus, we need to slip away somewhere quiet to pray.
Why did the leper say, “Lord, if You are willing”? Why did he not just say, “Lord, make me well”? The answer may lie in something the apostle said about God. For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” So then [it is] not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens (Romans 9:15-18).
Jesus showed mercy and compassion for this leper and He willingly healed him. Sometimes God chooses to heal someone and at other times He chooses not to. The leper recognized that. He was asking for a favor, taking nothing for granted. It was up to the One he asked to heal him or not.