And so, leaving behind Him Capernaum and its wailing multitudes, He, followed by His disciples, moved out toward the open country, to spread the glad tidings and to bring to the hearts of many “that peace which passeth all understanding.”
THE SIXTH LESSON.
THE WORK OF ORGANIZATION.
Leaving Capernaum behind Him, with its crowds of invalids seeking healing, and fighting off the demands that would have rendered Him a professional healer instead of a Teacher and preacher of the Message of Truth, Jesus passed on to other parts of the land, taking with Him the band of disciples and faithful followers who now traveled with Him.
But He did not altogether relinquish His healing work. He merely made it an incident of His ministry, and did not allow it to interfere with His preaching and teaching. The Gospel narratives show a number of remarkable cures made by Him at this time, and the few recorded cases are, of course, merely occasional incidents that stand out in the minds of the people among hundreds of less noticeable cases.
The cure of the leper is one of such remarkable cases. Leprosy was a foul disease much dreaded by the people of Oriental countries. And the unfortunate person afflicted by it became an outcast and pariah from whom all others fled as from an unclean and impure thing.
There was a leper in the part of the country in which Jesus was traveling and teaching. He heard of the wonderful gift of healing accredited to the young preacher, and he determined to get into His presence and beg His aid. How the leper managed to get through the crowds and into the presence of Jesus is not known, but it must have required great strategy on his part, for such people were not permitted to pass in and among crowds of other people. But in some way the leper contrived to come face to face with Jesus as the latter walked alone in meditation, away from his followers.
The loathsome creature raised its repulsive form, the picture of human misery and woe, and confronting the Master, demanded from Him the exercise of the Gift of Healing. No doubt of His power was in the leper’s mind—his face shone with faith and expectation. Jesus gazed earnestly into the distorted features that shone with the fire of a fervent faith such as is rarely seen on the face of man, and touched with this testimony to His power and motives, He moved toward the leper, defying the laws of the country, which forbade the same. Not only this, but He even laid His hands upon the unclean flesh, defying all the laws of reason in so doing, and fearlessly passed His hand over the leper’s face, crying aloud, “Be thou clean!”