From the descriptions in the Bible, leprosy was a disgusting, ugly, and mostly fatal disease. Of all diseases, leprosy is the one paralleled with the Law of Moses and associated with sin. It isn't that having leprosy was sinful, nor was it the result of sin. Instead, the disease was seen as a graphic symbol of sin. If we could look at a picture of sin, it would look something like leprosy.

Leprosy shows us a physical picture of the spiritual defilement of sin. Sin is hideous, despicable, and contaminating. It separates man from God and makes them outcasts. The instructions given to the priests in Lev. 13 help us understand the nature of sin. Sin starts inside us, deeper than just on the surface (Lev. 13:3; Matt. 15:19 -- heart); sin also spreads (Lev. 13:8); sin defiles and isolates (Lev. 13:45,46 -- unclean). Just as leprous garments are to be cast into the fire (Lev. 13:52,57), so will those who die clothed in sin (Compare Rev. 20:14,15; 21:8 with Gal. 3: 26-29).

In Mk. 1 we read about a leper who fell on his knees before Jesus and made his request: "If You are willing, You can make me clean" (vs. 40). This is such a plain request for healing. You can sense the great need and urgency, yet it is stirring in its simplicity.

Jesus was "moved with compassion" (vs. 41). Normally people feel sympathy for the sick and afflicted but not for lepers. They were considered in those days as "unclean" both ceremonially and physically (Lev. 13:45; 22:4). Lepers were repulsive in every way to most people, who stayed as far away from them as possible. Yet, Jesus WAS "willing" to reach out to this desperate man and actually touched him! At that very moment the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.

We know that Jesus didn't have to touch the man to heal him Jesus could have told him to wash in a pool. He could have just spoken the word, or healed him any number of ways. So why did Jesus touch this man? Jesus had no fear of this disease and His touch illustrated His great compassion.

Jesus loves sinners. He loves you and me. Jesus desires for us to clothe ourselves with Him, instead of sin (Gal. 3:27). Will we continue in our disgusting sin-ridden state or will we be washed in the blood of the Lamb? The choice is ours!

By Shane Williams in The Lilbourn Light, Vol. 13, No. 8, Jan. 2012.

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