Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

Second Sunday in Great Lent

Sermon / Homily on St. Luke 5: 12-14

Filled With Compassion

by Linton Smith

Luke 5:12-14

A couple of years ago.. In the middle of winter.. I did something we were told as children never to do.
It was late in the afternoon.. the view from our lounge room was quite spectacular.. the sun was going down behind a large gum tree.. and I looked at it.

For a few minutes after doing that.. my eyes were affected.
No wonder we are warned not to watch an eclipse of the sun..
but find a safe way to view it.. use a pin hole camera or watch it on TV.

We also need to find a safe way to look at God. God said to Moses..

"You cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live" [Exod 33:20].

It is not safe to look directly at God.. but there is a safe way to see Him.

In John 1:18 we read..

No one has ever seen God. The only Son, who is the same as God and is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
[John 1:18 TEV].

No one has seen God.. no one can see God and live.. but Jesus has made Him known.. Now there is a way to see God.. a safe way to see Him. Look at Jesus!

We can read about Jesus.. the things He said and did.. see Him.. and in seeing Him.. see God.

With that in mind let’s look at..

Luke 5:12-14..

While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean."

Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" And immediately the leprosy left him.

Then Jesus ordered him, "Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them."

Here we get a glimpse of His deep compassion.. And in glimpsing His compassion.. we glimpse the compassion of God the Father.

We glimpse His compassion..


Luke 5:13.. Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man.

Matt and Mark both tell us this man was afflicted with leprosy..

but Luke tells us he was covered with leprosy. A very severe case.

In Leviticus we are told..

Leviticus 13:45.. The person with such an infectious disease must wear torn clothes, let his hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of his face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’

That was this man’s lot.

It is very likely that no one had touched him for years – except for people suffering the same complaint.

Apparently he dared to come into the town where Jesus was at this time.. fell on his face before Jesus.. and said.. Lord, If you are willing you can make me clean.. You can cure my leprosy.. I can be declared clean.. and accepted back into society.

And Jesus reached out.. and touched him.

In the Gospel of Mark we read..

Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man..

Filled with compassion!! What compassion!!

We get a glimpse of the deep compassion of Jesus.. and more.. we also see God the Father.. and glimpse His deep compassion..

God the Father has reached out to all of us.. He sent His Son.. and His Son more than touched us.. He became one of us.. lived among us.. died on a cross.. as the atoning sacrifice for our sin..

John writes..

1 John 4:9,10.. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Truly.. our God is a God full of compassion for us!

And then we glimpse His compassion..


Jesus listened to this man.. heard his words.. really heard them.. Lord, if you are willing you can make me clean.. and responded..

Luke 5:13.. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" And immediately the leprosy left him.

Can you picture Jesus reaching out.. touching.. and saying that..

You can almost see the compassion in His eyes.. feel it in His words..

And the man was healed!

Once again we glimpse the compassion not only of Jesus.. but also of God the Father..

We are seeing God.. He reached out to all of us.. sent Jesus.. and spoke to us through Him.

Jesus said these words to the leper.. and only to him..

But He has spoken to all of us.. many words of compassion..

Here is one example.. Jesus said to Nicodemus..

John 3:14-16.

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

There was a time when the Israelites were plagued by snakes in the desert.. and dying.. God commanded Moses to make a bronze snake.. put it on a pole.. place it where it could be seen from anywhere in the camp.. a person bitten.. and dying.. would merely have to look at the snake.. and live!

Now Jesus says.. like that snake.. I will be lifted up.. on a cross.. to die.. Why? So that everyone who looks to me.. who believes in Me.. may have not just life.. but eternal life!

He loves every human being.. all of us.. deeply.. wants us to live.. eternally!

We glimpse God’s amazing compassion in what Jesus did.. and said..

And then we glimpse His compassion..


Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man.. said.. I am willing.. be clean.. and then we read..

Luke 5:14..

Then Jesus ordered him, "Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.

Why did Jesus say this?
To avoid advertising? Maybe.. but wouldn’t other people present tell the story?
Luke tells us they did!
No.. He told the man to go to the right people.. to tell them.. to show them.. so that he could be declared clean.. and be received back into the community.

In Leviticus 13:46 we are told..

As long as he has the infection he remains unclean. He must live alone; he must live outside the camp.

Then.. in the next chapter.. we are told what a healed person must do to be received back into the community. It involved going to the priest, being declared well and offering the prescribed sacrifices. Only then.. could the person come back into the camp.. or in later days.. come out of the cave, tomb, or tents in which he or she lived outside the town.. and come back into the town..
Again we see the compassion of Jesus.. not content just to see the man healed..

He wants to see him restored to community!

And again.. we glimpse the compassion of God the Father...

Jesus reached out to us.. came into this world.. died for each of us.. spoke about why He was doing this.. told us this was so that we might have eternal life..

And once we believe.. and live.. He wants us to be part of His family.. sons and daughters.. brothers and sisters..

Most common name for believers in the NT is brethren!

Paul wrote to the Ephesians..

Ephesians 2:19.. You are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household..

He places us in His family.. His world wide family.. and he places us in a local family..

He wants us to be cared for.. encouraged.. and helped as we live in this world.. until He takes us home.. to be with Him.. forever!

No one can see God and live. But we can all look at Jesus.

We can all read about Him.. see Him in action.. see what He is like.. and what God the Father is like.. listen to Him.. and so listen to God..

What we have seen today is the deep compassion of Jesus for a man covered with leprosy.. and in seeing that.. we have glimpsed the amazing compassion God the Father has for all of us.

Our God is full of compassion!

This poor man’s encounter with Jesus gives us a glimpse of our compassionate God.

It also raises a very practical question about prayer.. about how we approach our God..

The man with leprosy prayed, Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.

Is it right to pray like this?

[Many have told me it is not – they say we have to be positive!]

I believe it is right to pray like this man prayed.. because Jesus did not dismiss his prayer as lacking in faith.. but heard his words.. and responded.

And there are three other reasons why I believe it is right to pray like this.

Firstly.. It is right to pray like this man prayed.. because..

God values honesty. It is better to be honest.. and to pray like this.. than to pretend we believe He will heal us.. or give us what we want.

Secondly.. It is right to pray like this man prayed.. because..

When we pray like this we show that we respect God’s sovereignty.. that He rules the universe.. that we understand these words of John..

1 John 5:14,15..

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

John Stott reminds us, Prayer is not a convenient device for imposing our will upon God or bending His will to ours, but the prescribed way of bending our will to His. It is by prayer that we seek God’s will, embrace it and align ourselves with it. Every true prayer is a variation on the theme. ‘Thy will be done.’ [Tyndale on 1 Jn p185].

Thirdly.. It is right to pray like this man prayed.. because

It brings us into dialogue with God..

And in that dialogue.. we may hear Him say.. or sense Him say.. I am willing..

Then we find ourselves praying with confidence.. and receive what we seek.

Do you have a need? Approach God.. begin as this man began.. Lord.. this is my need.. If You are willing.. You can.. begin a dialogue.. listen.. wait..

And whatever answer God gives.. of one thing we can be sure..

It will come from a heart of love.. a heart full of compassion!

See Also:

The Healing Touch - Sermon on Luke 5:12-16
by Rev. Christopher Sandoval

The Healing of the Leper - Sermon Based on Luke 5:12-16
by Don Fortner

Sermons, Bible Commentaries and Bible Analyses for 2nd Sunday in Great Lent (Garbo Sunday)

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