Luke 5:12-16

May 5, 2024    Pastor Nick Pridemore

This event that Luke records is about something other than healing. It’s about shame. 

Leprosy was deadly and gross and made a person ceremonially unclean. They had to live away from society. The infected person had to yell out “unclean.” This passage is about shame. 

How was it that a leper approached Jesus in the city if they aren’t allowed around people? He was so desperate that he risked everything. He doesn’t ask to be healed. He asks to be made clean. The emotional and metal suffering of being cut off from society was worse than the disease itself. Leprosy was viewed as divine judgement. 

Shame is the deep sense that you are unacceptable because of something you have done, something done to you, or something intrinsic to you. Embarrassment is aimed at something outside of you. Shame is aimed inside to who I am. It is a feeling not a fact. 

Jesus doesn’t need to touch anyone to heal them. Jesus makes the unnecessary, reckless choice to touch the man. He hadn’t been touched in years. Our souls need touch. For the man to be “full of leprosy” he had probably had it for over a decade. Can you imagine what it did for his soul to be treated like a human by being touched? There is such moral dirtiness associated with the disease that even if I don’t get the disease I still am unclean just by coming in contact with it. But Jesus spreads His cleanness rather than being affected by uncleanness. 

God comes running into humanity’s uncleanness over and over to make us clean. 

According to the law Jesus became unclean. This was symbolic of Jesus coming and taking our sin on himself to free us from sin. 

The New Testament writers focus less on the pain of the cross than the shame of the cross. There is no amount of shame that we can feel that Jesus hasn’t felt.