Make Us Clean


During the height of the AIDS epidemic in 1987, Princess Diana made a remarkable (and very public) decision. While visiting AIDS patients at a hospital in London, she reached out and took the hand of a man who was suffering from and stigmatized by the disease. Diana’s simple act of compassionate grace resounded around the world. At a time when people with AIDS were often considered untouchable outcasts, one woman showed just how powerful it could be when one person entered into another’s suffering.

  • Have you ever felt stigmatized or like an outcast? Was there someone who showed you compassion during that time? If so, what was that like?


12 While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” 13 And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him. 14 And he charged him to tell no one, but “go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” 15 But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. 16 But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.

 English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. How did the leprous man approach Jesus, and what three things did he acknowledge about him (vs. 12)? How did Jesus respond, and what happened to the man?
  2. In Scripture, leprosy is a term used for various skin diseases. During Jesus’ day, those with leprosy would have experienced physical, spiritual, and emotional ostracization, and would have been considered ceremoniously unclean within the Jewish community. Why would Jesus’ actions in verse 13 have been culturally and religiously scandalous? How do you think Jesus’ compassionate touch affected the man on a physical, spiritual, and emotional level?
  3. What four things did Jesus charge the man to do, and for what purpose (vs. 14)? Why do you think he did this?
  4. When the news of Jesus’ teaching and miraculous healing began to spread, how did people respond? Why do you think Jesus withdrew to solitary places to pray when large crowds came seeking healing?
  5. Are there any ways you identify with the leprous man? Do you believe Jesus is able to affect your life on a physical, spiritual, and emotional level? Have you asked him if he is willing?


In this man’s story, we see that God’s compassionate grace extends to the suffering and outcasts. And aren’t we all outcasts? Some of us wear our stigmatizations noticeably, and others of us spend ourselves to hide our “uncleanness” from immediate view. But Jesus’ healing touch extends to anyone who believes that he is Lord, and that he is able to affect change in their lives. May we be like the man with leprosy, unashamedly calling out to Jesus and asking him to make us clean. And when we experience the compassionate touch of Christ—physically, emotionally, or spiritually—may we be bold in declaring his works to those around us.

  • Use the leper’s prayer to guide you: “Lord, if you will, you can make _______.”
  • Ask Jesus who the “outcasts” are in your life. Ask him to show you how to extend compassionate grace toward them today.