Matthew 8:3 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 8:3, NIV: Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. 'I am willing,' he said. 'Be clean!' Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.

Matthew 8:3, ESV: And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

Matthew 8:3, KJV: And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

Matthew 8:3, NASB: Jesus reached out with His hand and touched him, saying, 'I am willing; be cleansed.' And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

Matthew 8:3, NLT: Jesus reached out and touched him. 'I am willing,' he said. 'Be healed!' And instantly the leprosy disappeared.

Matthew 8:3, CSB: Reaching out his hand, Jesus touched him, saying, "I am willing; be made clean." Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

What does Matthew 8:3 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

A man with leprosy has approached Jesus (Matthew 8:2). He is close to violating the requirements of the Old Testament Law that he keep his distance from uninfected people and cry out "Unclean!" to warn people to stay away from him (Leviticus 13:45). He has declared his faith that Jesus has the power to "make [him] clean," if Jesus so chooses. As someone afflicted with a skin disease, this man was ceremonially unclean and unable to participate in many of Israel's religious rites (Leviticus 13:45).

This was no small request. Though the law of Moses uses terms often translated into English as "leprosy," those words apply to a wide range of skin conditions. The same is true of the Greek words lepra and lepros. The Law provided a system for declaring a person clean after recovering from such a condition (Leviticus 14). In the case of some diseases, such as the disease modern people call "leprosy," this was naturally impossible. Leprosy—or Hansen's Disease—is a contagious disease of the skin, nerves, and mucous membranes. The two cases of healing reported in the Old Testament both involved supernatural intervention from God to call attention to His power and glory (Numbers 12:10–15; 2 Kings 5:9–14). This man's healing will serve the same purpose.

Jesus reaches out and touches the man. He didn't need to touch the leprous man in order to heal him. In the following verses, Matthew will report of a time when Jesus healed a paralyzed man without even seeing him. Jesus chooses to touch this man with leprosy, an act that technically violated the law of Moses (Leviticus 5:3) and would have made Jesus ceremonially unclean Himself, within the context of Jewish law. It would also have been deeply shocking to anyone watching.

Jesus did not become unclean, however: the man's condition instantly vanished after being touched by Jesus. In healing this man of this disease, Jesus showed that He carried the power of God. This is the same power that both afflicted and healed Miriam after Israel left Egypt (Numbers 12:10–15). Christ showed that He was even more powerful than Elisha, who prescribed multiple washings in the Jordan River in order to heal Naaman's leprosy (2 Kings 5:9–14). Jesus accomplished the same with a word and a touch.