So far, Jesus has been moving about Galilee with relative freedom and ease. But after healing a leper, he experiences a reversal of roles. The leper, once isolated from public, now walks openly about town, announcing what Jesus did. Because of this, Jesus must now isolate himself from a crowd infatuated with his miracles. That kind of attention gets you noticed, and not always for the right reasons.
Jesus is at a turning point and will have to decide how much he is willing to sacrifice for the message he was sent to preach: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mt 1:15).
Will he remain isolated and safe, working in the shadows, and staying under the radar? Or will he back up his radical teaching and verify the credibility of his message by his public actions, remaining close and accessible to those who need to hear this good news most?
We know what he will choose because it is foreshadowed in his gratuitous healing touch. Jesus could have kept his distance, healing the leper by the divine power of his words alone. But he went further, restoring the leper into communal life through the public witness of his human actions. Proclaiming the Gospel with credibility will require us to do the same.