Lk.17:10-13 – 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!”

When someone was diagnosed with leprosy in the time of Christ in Israel it was almost like receiving your death sentence. You were banished from society and had to live in isolation with other lepers. Of course leprosy was a real disease but it also pictured the filthiness of sin and our need for cleansing that comes only through the blood of Jesus. Healing a leper was one of the first miracles recorded in the gospel of Matthew. In Matthew’s account he described the unthinkable, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched the leper and healed him. Touching a leper with your hand was unthinkable in Jesus’s day, obviously Jesus did not have to touch the man, He often healed people with just a word but in this case He touched Him. It is in the touch of God that we are healed and also taste His mercy and love for us. Here is how Barclay describes leprosy in ancient Israel.

“Leprosy might begin with little nodules which go on to ulcerate. The ulcers develop a foul discharge; the eyebrows fall out; the eyes become staring; the vocal chords become ulcerated, the voice becomes hoarse and the breath wheezes. The hands and feet always ulcerate. Slowly, the sufferer becomes a mass of ulcerated growths. The average course of that kind of leprosy is nine years, and it ends in mental decay, coma and ultimately death.
Leprosy might begin with the loss of all sensation in some part of the body; the nerve trunks are affected; the muscles waste away; the tendons contract until the hands are like claws. There follows ulceration of the hands and feet. Then comes the progressive loss of fingers and toes, until in the end a whole hand or a whole foot may drop off. The duration of that kind of leprosy is anything from twenty to thirty years. It is a kind of terrible progressive death in which the sufferer dies by inches.”

All of us have been contaminated by the leprous disease called sin. Jesus has come to us and stretched out His hand to touch us. In that touch is healing from the disease of sin as well as the welcoming love of God into His family. He loves us and our days of isolation are over forever. Because we have been washed clean we can now come into the fellowship of Jesus and also with all of those who have called upon His Name.

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