Bible Lessons for the Little Ones

(Read Matt. 8:1-51When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. 2And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 3And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. 5And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, (Matthew 8:1‑5); Mark 1:40-4540And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 41And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. 42And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed. 43And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away; 44And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, show thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. 45But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter. (Mark 1:40‑45); Luke 5:12-1712And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 13And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him. 14And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and show thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. 15But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities. 16And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed. 17And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them. (Luke 5:12‑17).)
YOU have read three accounts, dear children, of a poor sick man who met the Lord Jesus as He came down from the hill where He had been speaking many wonderful words about the kingdom of heaven, and about God His Father.
What was the matter with this man, and why does he fall on his face before the Lord Jesus, and speak to Him so earnestly, while all the people, who had been pressing round so closely before, draw back and seem afraid lest even his dress should touch them?
I think you know that it was a very terrible thing to be a leper, and that was what this poor man was when he came to Jesus. The people knew he was a leper; they knew that he had a dreadful sickness which none of the doctors in Galilee could cure, and they knew that God had forbidden them to come near him. A leper, as he passed along the road, had to cry out with a sad and bitter cry, and when anyone saw him coming and heard the cry, "Unclean, unclean," he got away as fast as he could, or passed by on the other side. Lepers were the most lonely people in all the country. Think what it must have been to see everyone run away from you, and for the mothers to take their little children in their arms as you came in sight and say to them, "No, he is a leper; you must never go near lepers." We can hardly tell how dreadful it must have been.
'Many a time that poor leper had longed to be well, to get rid of his sore disease, but it was of no use, he could not make himself even better; no one could cure him, and there seemed no hope of help or comfort for him, until that day which changed his whole life, the day when he saw the Lord Jesus with so many people following him, coming down the hillside on the road to the city of Capernaum.
Perhaps he felt afraid at first to speak to the Lord, when there were so many people with Him, for he was "full of leprosy," and he well knew that not one face in all the crowd of his fellow men would look kindly at him, but that all would shrink away in fear and horror. Yet he knew something about the Lord Jesus which made him not afraid to press in among them all, that he might get near Him and say one word to Him, and so he came and kneeled down before Him, and said those few words.
What were they?
St. Matthew, and St. Mark, and St. Luke, all tell us in their gospels what the cry of that poor leper to the Lord Jesus was, so that we know his very words.
“Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean.”
No one could ever care so much about people who were sick and sad, and lonely and helpless, as the Lord Jesus, but the poor leper did not know this. Then why did he come to Him?
It was because he knew that He was not like any of the doctors who could cure other people with their medicines and ointments, but who could never do a man" full of leprosy" any good. He knew that the Lord could make him "clean," that is, quite well from his dreadful disease. But he was not sure whether He was willing to use His power to heal a poor leper, and so he said, "Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean.”
I know a child who once said, "I know the Lord can save me, but I don't know whether He will." This was like the leper, was it not?
What a beautiful thing we read in the gospel by Mark as to what the Son of God felt when He saw this poor man and heard his cry! He was "moved with compassion," and at once His gracious answer came.
How glad the leper must have been when, "as soon as he had spoken," he heard the Lord say, "I will; be thou clean." The very next thing we read is, "immediately his leprosy was cleansed." What had the Lord Jesus done? He had "put forth His hand, and touched" that poor leper.
No one else dared do this, but the Lord could, by the touch of His blessed hand only, send away the dreadful disease; it could have no power to hurt Him; and “immediately" what all the doctors in the world could not do, was done.
Dear children, it was a real thing to that leper, on the road to Capernaum, to cry to the Lord Jesus and to know that his cry was heard. He received an answer of healing at once, and he was so filled with wonder and joy that he could not help telling what the Lord, who had compassion on him, had done for him. Wherever he went he told his story, and the people who had been afraid to come near him, now came round to listen to his words and to look at him, and then multitudes came to the Lord Jesus to hear Him, and to be healed of their sicknesses, for the leper had told them that he had found One who could make them well, and who was more willing to cure them than they were to ask Him.
How well it is for us to know that we, too, can cry to the. Lord Jesus. We can tell Him all about our sore disease—our sin, and ask Him to touch us and heal us, but we must never doubt His being willing to save us; we must never say, like the child of whom I told you, "I know the Lord can save me, but I am not sure that He will;" for He has given His own life to save us, and He has said we may come to Him as that leper came, just as we are, and He has promised that He will never send away one who comes.