Leprosy Parallels Sin

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Today’s Scripture: Matthew 8

In today’s reading, Matthew 8, we read an account of the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, including faith healings. It is not surprising that since God the Father healed his faithful people, God the Son, Jesus, would continue healing the faithful while he was on Earth.

Matthew 8:2-3
2 Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” 3 Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared.

This man with leprosy would not have been welcome in the large crowd that had gathered around Jesus. In biblical times, people did not treat lepers well because they were considered ceremonially unclean. They were treated like social outcasts. It was thought that the disease was punishment for a committed sin and that it could be contracted by physical touch.

It was illegal to touch someone with leprosy, but Jesus did the unthinkable and touched the man. Instead of Jesus becoming unclean, the man was completely healed! Jesus did not have to touch the leper to heal him yet he chose to do so. I think it is worth noting that before the man asked for anything, he honored Jesus by calling him Lord. He knew in his mind that Jesus had the power to heal him and believed with his heart that Jesus could heal him. His question was if Jesus was willing to heal him. Jesus was, is, and will always be willing to heal sinners.

Hebrews 13:8
Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.

R.C. Trench writes, “Though the leper was not worse or guiltier than his fellow countrymen, he was nevertheless a parable of sin—an outward visible sign of innermost spiritual corruption.”

Trench and others have written that leprosy is symbolic of sin for several reasons. The average incubation period for leprosy is five years before any of the sores or other physical problems appear. When the sores first appear, they are very painful, but leprosy causes damage to sensory nerves which makes the skin numb. Once this happens, the leper could cut or burn themselves and not be aware. The disease also attacks the vocal cords so the voice would become hoarse. During biblical times, lepers were separated into colonies so the disease would not spread because there was no cure. Jesus healed lepers on many occasions. Read Luke 17:12-19 for the account of Jesus healing 10 lepers.

Like leprosy, sin starts from within and can take years before anyone can see it. Left unchecked, sin can cause our conscience to become numb and our hearts to become hardened to Christ. Sin can destroy relationships and separates us from God. We, too, need to be cleaned and healed and touched by Jesus.

Proverbs 10:11
The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain; the words of the wicked conceal violent intentions.

This story is not only about a man being healed from a physical disease, but more importantly about a man who was able to return to worshiping God. The leper had deep faith in Jesus and was therefore healed by his touch.

What is your personal leprosy? Have you put your faith in Christ? If not, why not? Are you combining your hearing of the Word with faith? If not, what is stopping you? Do you apply the Word of God to all areas of your life? If not, why not?

Next Steps:
On a piece of paper, write these key areas of life: career, financial, spiritual, physical, intellectual, family, and social. Now, next to each category, write if you are trusting God with that area. For those areas where you are not, journal ways you can introduce faith into that area. Once you have introduced faith, journal the ways God has changed those areas or is using you in those areas.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of your Son. Give me wisdom to recognize my sins so I may confess them. Keep my eyes on you so I may see as you see and do as you say. Thank you for carrying me when I did not have strength. I need the strength that only you can give. Thank you for looking beyond my faults. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

This post was written by Jennifer Macke. Jenn has a son, daughter, granddaughter, and grandson, and she thanks God every day for them. She is enjoying retirement and feels blessed to be writing for LivingItOut. She was raised in an Evangelical Church, but her spiritual life awakened when she started attending CedarCreek.

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1 reply
  1. Julie
    Julie says:

    I love the comparison between sin and leprosy. It’s so true! Sin left unchecked grows from the inside out! Cleaning it up is an inside job only God can do!

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