40 And a leper came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” 41 Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” 42 Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. 43 And He sternly warned him and immediately sent him away, 44and He 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, as a testimony to them.” Mark 1:40-44
Touching a leper as a 1st Century Jew was unheard of. To touch an unclean person, such as a leper, made them unclean and required a ritual cleansing process. Lepers were unclean and according the beliefs of the day, God Himself had made them unclean, giving them the disease because He did not like them. Jews and particularly Rabbi’s believed that leprosy was humanly incurable and could only be cured by God or Messiah.
This man believed he was face-to-face with Messiah and that Jesus not only could, but He would heal him. Jesus touched this man with leprosy. He went on to give him instructions to go to the Priest and become clean according to Mosaic Law (Lev. 14). Jesus told us he did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it (Matt. 5:17). Jesus kept to the Mosaic Law of the day except when it conflicted with the law of God’s love, compassion and mercy. Why? Because the legalistic Jews of the day (the Pharisees) had created a system without mercy and without love by misunderstanding and misconstruing God’s Word. They had misunderstood God’s intended purposes.