John records Jesus miraculously transforming ordinary water into extraordinary wine (John 2:1-10) while Matthew, Mark and Luke are silent concerning this memorable event. John, unlike the other three Gospel writers, tells about the resurrection of Lazarus from the grave (John 11:38-44). Luke is unique in his report concerning the raising of the dead son of Nain’s widow (Luke 7:11-15). Luke also reports that Jesus restored Malchus’s ear after Peter’s sword-play in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:50). Their perspectives are different. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, each Gospel is distinctive.
Other than the resurrection of Jesus, the only miracle reported in all four Gospels is the feeding of the five thousand. Ten miracles are reported by each of the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) but not by John. Let’s look at these.
You can find the brief encounter of the healing of the Leper in Matthew 8:1-3, Mark 1:40-42, and Luke 5:12-13.
The Gospel-writing physician, Dr. Luke, diagnosed the man as having “leprosy all over him” (Luke 5:12, CSB) or rather, the man was “full of leprosy” (ESV). He was terminal!
Leprosy, called Hansen’s Disease today, is a bacterial infection affecting the skin and nerves. It’s very treatable, but two-thousand years ago, with poor hygiene and no medical therapies, it spread slowly through the victim’s body, until the infections became open, oozing sores, and ultimately gangrenous. It was a nasty, horrible way to die... and death was certain.
In the first-century, leprosy was thought to be highly contagious. Consequently, the victim was excommunicated from society. Fired. Evicted. Expelled. Divorced. Kicked out! Huddled together in colonies, the lepers waited to die.
Leprosy is emblematic of sin. It starts small and can easily be hidden from others. But left unchecked, it spreads and grows until it takes over. Its all-consuming. It separates you from all that is wholesome. Ultimately it kills you.
The Leper in Matthew, Mark and Luke, (let’s call him Louis), must have heard the stories and rumors that ran up and down the highways. Louis heard that “they brought to (Jesus) all those who were sick and demon-possessed ... and he healed many who were sick with various diseases and drove out many demons” (Mark 1:32–34).
Louis heard the stories, and he believed! When Jesus came by, Louis fell on his knees and begged, “ ‘If you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched him. ‘I am willing,’ he told him. ‘Be made clean.’ Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean” (Mark 1:40–42).
Like Louis, I have a deadly disease... sin. As I fall in repentant, reverent worship of the All-Mighty, Jesus is moved with compassion and reaches out with love, forgiveness, and restoration.
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.