In last Sunday’s sermon from Luke 5:12-26, one of the closing applications was a call to consider the leper and the paralytic as figures for men in their unregenerate state. Here are some notes:
The physical state of these two men creates a figurative picture of man’s spiritual state apart from Christ.
Consider initially the man “full of leprosy.” Sin clings to the unregenerate man in the way that the leprosy clung to this man in our passage. It radically touches our whole being.
Sin has at least a threefold impact:
First, physically, it leads to uncleanness and eventually to death (Romans 6:23). No matter how men try to escape this reality or to cover it up, the truth is always there.
Second, socially, our sin puts us outside the camp of God’s people. One may be a tare hid among the wheat but one day he will be uprooted and cast in the fire.
Third, religiously, our sin alienates us from our God. We cannot worship or serve him. We are not even worthy to stand in his presence but deserve only to be cut off.
Notice then the submission and humility with which this man approaches Christ. He does not come with presumption or haughtiness or spiritual pride. He knows that he cannot get rid of this awful disease by himself. He knows that he is completely at the mercy of Jesus, so he begs him, “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean” (v. 12) And he hears the merciful answer of Christ, “I will: be thou clean” (v. 13).
If this first man (the leper) is a figure of man apart from Christ, what of the second (the paralytic)? He is perhaps an even more compelling figure. He is a paralytic, unable even to move. He cannot come to Christ; he must be carried to Christ! What he was physically, we are spiritually apart from Christ. What a picture of our spiritual inability before the Lord. What a picture of our complete and total dependence upon him!
The depth of man’s need accentuates the greatness of Christ’s mercy.
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle
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