Join me on a brief homily.
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. 36 And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, 37 and they found him and said to him,“Everyone is looking for you.” 38 And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” 39 And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.
40 And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” 42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 43 And Jesus[h] sternly charged him and sent him away at once, 44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” 45 But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter (Mark 1:35-45).
By cleansing the leper, Jesus was giving him access into God’s presence, into God’s sanctuary. This person, now being cleansed, could attend Passover and the other Temple feasts. He could even move back into the city.
In all these cases (casting out demons, healing Simon’s mother-in-law, and now cleansing a leper) Jesus is restoring creation and removing the curse. He is showing us that He has absolute power and authority. And, as the New Adam who overcame the first trial, that trial of the Devil in the wilderness, having overcome the principalities and powers, uncleanness cannot touch Him. Uncleanness cannot spread to Him.
Rather than uncleanness spreading to Jesus, holiness and life flow out from Him. He can’t be beat, unless He wants to be.
But look again and here is the application. Jesus touches the leper and cleanses him. Then this person disobeys.
Jesus says, “now, don’t tell no one about this.” This person disobeys and runs to the city exclaiming what Jesus had done.
And now Jesus must bare the fate of the leper.
The cleansed leper goes into town a clean man. And the holy Son of God remains outside the town in desolate places like a leper, verse 45.
Though Jesus is clean and sinless, He must suffer as though He were unclean and sinful.
This is a picture of Jesus suffering under the curse and judgment of God. This is a picture of Jesus succumbing to death on a cross and absorbing within Himself all the sin and uncleanness of His people. A picture of Jesus bearing upon His battered shoulders the judgment and abandonment of God the Father that we deserved.
This is a picture of Jesus taking upon Himself the condemnation that we deserve so that those who are cursed may experience blessing that He earned.
Friends. We are the leper. Not like the leper, but we were truly unclean. The cross of Christ and His grave is the punishment that we deserve. He took that for us. He took that from us. All that punishment that Christ received as a sinner was meant for us.
Here is the true picture of our King. The King who restores a broken creation by being broken. The King who dispels the curse by becoming cursed. The innocent King who stands in judgment to set His people free.