“Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “This shall be the law of the leper for the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought to the priest. And the priest shall go out of the camp, and the priest shall examine him; and indeed, if the leprosy is healed in the leper, then the priest shall command to take for him who is to be cleansed two living and clean birds, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop.”
Leviticus 14:1-4 NKJV
“Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.”
Luke 17:12-14 NKJV
We are living in a time of pestilence. We are facing a still new virus that has shaken up our world, and made life more than difficult. As I write this, new vaccines are slowly being distributed to people in the hopes of getting life back to some semblance of normal, just in time for new mutations to appear and bring more uncertainty.
Imagine you are a person living in biblical times and one day you see a malfomation on your skin that spreads, and affects your flesh. There is numbness. You think you know what it is and you are afraid because the coming diagnosis is going to change your life in ways you could never imagine. You become one unclean.
Leprosy was a dreaded disease, and it was incurable at that time. If you had it, you were ostracized and forced out of the village. Today there is antibiotic treatment for Hansen’s disease, which effectively cures it, though it cannot reverse the damage done.
As I meandered through the book of Leviticus again this morning, I paused and considered once again the sufficiency of Christ. Tucked away in chapter 17 was a prescription for the person healed of leprosy.
I am sure those who read of it before the advent of antibiotics, were struck by the impossibility of such a ritual being needed. As I read, I was again reminded that God is a doer of miracles before there is a need.
I read the passage in Luke of the ten lepers crying out to Jesus. I tried to imagine what their lives were like, how thay had lost all family, all relationships, work, and community standing because of their diagnoses. They had lived lives cast off. Then they encountered Jesus.
In a moment they were healed, and told to go an show themselves to the priests. I am sure the priests were in disbelief as the men approached, each made clean. Suddenly they had to dig out the Scriptures and find what they were supposed to do.
I am thankful that God knew my greatest need, and made provision for it long before I came into the world. He knew of the damage that sin would have on my life, as a leprosy on my soul. He knew how that sin would sear my consciousness, making me dead to moral limits, like leprosy damages the nerve endings in the flesh. I was numb.
The antibiotics for the treatment of Hansen’s stop the disease, but they do not restore. The great salvation that I have in Jesus has the power to restore, to make new. The old has been taken away, and the new man is growing, and changing what is left of the old in me from the inside out.
The lepers healed by Jesus were completely restored, as if they had never been sick. I am restored, and justified in Jesus, as if I have never sinned.
As I read the passage in Luke I saw how only one leper returned to worship the Lord, as the others simply left. This is very instructive. I can tell you that salvation in Jesus has radically transformed my life. I have not forgotten the toll taken out on my life by years of sin. I remember the sad days, filled with guilt and shame.
“And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.””
Luke 17:15-19 NKJV
I think it appropriate that the one who returned was a Samaritan. He was an outcast, a stranger, as gentile. He had not tasted the privilege as one of the “chosen”. I have found that those who are the deepest in sin, tend to appreciate the gift of grace.
Upon him was the full weight of that grace, as God had provided healing to one outside that household of faith. I can relate. By the time God had gotten a hold of my heart and drawn me into salvation, it had been many years. I was unchurched. I rejoice in the great salvation of a Holy God who sought me before I could seek Him. I am blessed.
“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones grew old Through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah”
Psalms 32:1-5 NKJV
Like that lone leper, now healed, I worship and bow down to He who made me whole. I go out and tell the congreation of the great thing He has done. I tell of my salvation in Jesus, of His consideration of my need from the foundation of creation, long before I took a breath.
Brothers and sisters, let us not be like the other nine lepers, taking for granted the great gift of healing. Let us seek Jesus and thank Him for what He has done. Let us go an tell of the marvelous work.
If you are one who is waiting, know that the Lord is near. Be patient, as the Lord will do for you in the fullness of time, and He will never leave you or foresake you in the midst of the waiting. He will enter your struggle and place you on the solid rock.
“I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth— Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the LORD.”
Psalms 40:1-3 NKJV
Have a blessed Sunday!