Leprosy is a chronic disease caused by bacteria and has been known to exist since
4000 B.C. It can take years to progress and causes much damage on the human body during that time. Only in the 20th century has a cure been discovered by injecting a combination of three drugs. However, prior damage cannot be reversed.
In the days that God walked the earth as Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, many came to Him to be cured. I am reminded of one instance in particular in the following verses:
“12And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
13And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him.
14And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.
15But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.” (Luke 5:12-15)
Trying to comprehend what this man suffered is shocking and most depressing. Without my going in to the particulars of the effects of leprosy, please take time to do an Internet search and read for yourselves. Sadly, some will already know first hand.
I try to put myself in this man’s shoes, but that is impossible. Let us attempt however to understand the hopelessness this man experienced.
Leprosy was a terrifying disease. There was no hope. One’s features were horribly disfigured. Pain and then no feeling at all was a given. Individuals who had leprosy were outcasts from their communities, and separated from their families. The people of their day accused them of having sin in their lives and the natural result was the curse of leprosy upon them.
The Bible does not say how long this man had leprosy, but it does give us a strong hint. Leprosy can take from a short time to 40 years in its work to destroy the body. The Scripture above says that he was “a man full of leprosy.” This would indicate that he had been in this condition for many years.
It was unlawful for one with leprosy to approach anyone. They were required to stay at a distance and announce that they had leprosy, proclaiming loudly, “unclean, unclean.” To actually approach anyone was unthinkable. Yet, he approached Jesus and fell on his face before Him in desperation. Undoubtedly, he had heard of Jesus and the miracles that He had performed. He probably had heard of others being cured by Jesus of this monstrous disease. So he came to Him.
He said to Jesus, “Lord if you will, you can cleanse me.” He didn’t say, “Are you able?” nor “Do you think you can?” He knew He could. That is faith. That man had accepted Jesus as God and his Savior. Jesus responded by simply saying, “I will, be clean.” The man was completely cured at that instant. Remember, that I said earlier that leprosy can be cured today, but the damage to the body cannot be reversed. For this man, “the leprosy departed from him.” He was cured and his body returned to normal.
Something else stands out in this incident. Now to actually touch someone with leprosy was insane. No one in his right mind would ever get near someone with leprosy, let alone, actually touch them. Jesus “put forth His hand and touched him.” Herein lies an emotional battle this man had suffered for many years.
Can you imagine week after week, month after month, year after year never being touched by another human? This man had gone for many years and not experienced the touch of another person. Maybe he was married. Maybe he also had children. Certainly, he had parents and siblings, cousins and other relatives, even friends. None of them were able to touch him once it was discovered he had leprosy. For their sake, I’m sure he would not have allowed them to do so anyway. So he suffered alone. His days were spent alone for many years. The nights dragged on for countless years. Then the hand of God reached forth and touched him. After all those years, perhaps 40, he felt the touch of another person upon his body. The first to do so after that horrendous announcement of leprosy upon him was the Son of God, Jesus the Christ (Messiah).
Think for yourselves, how long could you go and not feel the loving caress of your spouse. The brush of their hair against your cheek and the smell of their person would be no more.
How long could you go and not feel the little arms of your children around your neck? To hold them in your lap or carry them on your back would be forbidden.
How long could you go and not feel the kiss on the cheek of your Mother or a manly hug from your Dad?
The man Jesus cured of leprosy must have been ecstatic with joy. The disease of leprosy was horrible beyond words, but was not the loneliness of equal misery? Jesus cured not only this poor man’s body, but also reached down in his soul and restored the joy of human companionship he had been without for years. Not only that, the man knew that the eternal God stood before him and touched him. He knew that he was also part of a new family, a spiritual family, given him by the grace of God.
That was the introduction. Now, what about leprosy of the soul? Many have allowed their souls to suffer the same effects of leprosy. Souls have become hardened, eaten upon by sin and pieces have fallen away. A soul that was once convicted of a need for God has now become crusted over with callousness. Pleasures of the world have been introduced to the soul in the attempt to dispel the loneliness that has set in.
The individual feels something is wrong, but what? Marriages are affected resulting in whole families suffering. Friendships are destroyed. There is a restlessness that cannot be satisfied. The mind is not at rest. One seems to be living the good life, but happiness only comes in short spurts. Nothing is lasting.
Leprosy of the body is not a curse caused from sin as once believed, but sin will result in leprosy of the soul. God can and will cleanse one of this leprosy of the soul just as easily as He cleansed the man with leprosy of the body. However, there is a dangerous point one can reach with leprosy of the soul.
“28And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” (Romans 1:28-32)
Why did, “God gave them over to a reprobate mind?” Because they had allowed spiritual leprosy to eat away at their soul until their consciences were seared.
“Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;” (1 Timothy 4:2)
If we have any twinge of guilt before God and want to be healed of leprosy of the soul, He will heal you if you ask in faith.
“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)
Our putrid condition may not be seen by others, but it cannot be hidden from God. Even our best doesn’t measure up. We are unclean before Him, but by His grace we can be cleansed and made new.
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Many today think they’re “okay” with God. They and God have worked out a special deal. They want to “do it their way,” but God says it isn’t up for debate. It’s His way, period. There is no other way.
Multiplied thousands are following false preachers and teachers, because they tell them just what they want to hear. By doing so, they have become calloused to the Truth and think it’s a joke. “Everybody lives this way, so it must be alright.” Have you ever checked it out to see what God says about it? You can find His response in His Book, the Bible.
Anyone with leprosy of the body would naturally want to be cured. We examine our body, and we’re okay, but have we examined our soul lately?
“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2 Corinthians 13:5)
My articles are posted at “Pre-Rapture Commentary” http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com/ and many are also posted at “Rapture Ready” http://www.raptureready.com/featured/phillips/phillips.html.