15 Apr 2018
The Journey of a Leper
Leprosy is a progressive death that causes people to die by inches. Imagine having this disease, which produces ulcers, scaly skin and tumours, deforming your limbs and leading to the loss of fingers and toes.
In Jesus’ time lepers wore torn clothes, covered their faces, and cried “Unclean! Unclean!” They were outcasts and either lived alone or in leper colonies on the outskirts of towns.
When they saw Jesus, they cried out: “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” (see Luke 17:13) Jesus told them to show themselves to the priests. As they obeyed, the healing took place. Two signs of the coming Messiah in the Old Testament were the ability to raise the dead and heal leprosy, so by obeying Jesus their faith was in Him as the Messiah.
When they reached the priest and he decided they were cured they took two sparrows as an offering. One was killed over a broken earthen vessel and running water with hyssop. The other was dipped in blood and set free. The priest sprinkled each man with the blood seven times and declared him clean. This was a foreshadowing of Jesus dying on the cross and shedding his blood to cleanse and set us free.
All ten lepers were healed, but only the Samaritan came back to Jesus. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet with loud praise and thanksgiving. Jesus was disappointed the others had not returned to thank Him. A former pastor once explained that when Jesus said, “Your faith has made you well” (see Luke 17:19), the healing was complete, with spiritual as well as physical restoration achieved.
Pause and reflect: “Lord, help me to not fall into the trap of blaming You for the hard times in my life or forgetting to thank You for the many blessings You shower on me. Amen.”