While it was still night, way before dawn, he got up and went out to a secluded spot and prayed.
Simon and those with him went looking for him.
They found him and said, "Everybody's looking for you."
Jesus said, "Let's go to the rest of the villages so I can preach there also. This is why I've come."
He went to their meeting places all through Galilee, preaching and throwing out the demons.
A leper came to him, begging on his knees, "If you want to, you can cleanse me."
Deeply moved, Jesus put out his hand, touched him, and said, "I want to. Be clean."
Then and there the leprosy was gone, his skin smooth and healthy.
Jesus dismissed him with strict orders:
"Say nothing to anyone. Take the offering for cleansing that Moses prescribed and present yourself to the priest. This will validate your healing to the people."
But as soon as the man was out of earshot, he told everyone he met what had happened, spreading the news all over town. So Jesus kept to out-of-the-way places, no longer able to move freely in and out of the city. But people found him, and came from all over.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)