Isolated and Unclean. We all have been spiritual lepers at some point, many still are.
Leprosy is/was a big deal. So much so that God took 2 chapters in the book of Leviticus to teach Moses what should be done to inspect, determine, and follow through if someone has leprosy.
44 “he is a leprous man. He [is] unclean. The priest shall surely pronounce him unclean…45…his clothes shall be torn and his head bare; and he shall cover his mustache, and cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ 46 “He shall be unclean. All the days he has the sore he shall be unclean. He [is] unclean, and he shall dwell alone; his dwelling [shall be] outside the camp. – Lev 13:44-46 NKJV
another translation puts it this way:
44 the man is indeed infected with a skin disease and is unclean. The priest must pronounce him ceremonially unclean…45 “Those who suffer from a serious skin disease must tear their clothing and leave their hair uncombed. They must cover their mouth and call out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ 46 As long as the serious disease lasts, they will be ceremonially unclean. They must live in isolation in their place outside the camp. – Lev 13:44-46 NLT
The life of a Leper is very isolated, the voice of the religious leaders declare their uncleanliness, they themselves must shout that they are unclean, and the people around them avoid any contact. (God commanded the first two things to happen due to the infections nature in which leprosy could spread)
How many of us act like lepers? How many feel they are too unclean to approach Jesus? Too unclean to believe for a better life? Too unclean to receive love? Feel rejected, outcast, and isolated…
We were not created for isolation. Isolation can do one of two things:
- drive you deeper into isolation and depression
- compel and motivate you to seek out help
We find an account of a lepter in Mark:
40 A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said. 41 Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” 42 Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed. – Mar 1:40-42 NLT
The leper was not the only one breaking through cultural norms, Jesus was also challenging the status quo. Jesus is not afraid of your condition, He does not fear ‘catching’ what you have.
In Jesus you can find true freedom! Freedom from all disease and sickness. Freedom from isolation.
But what will your response be?
43 Then Jesus sent him on his way with a stern warning:
44 “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.”
45 But the man went and spread the word, proclaiming to everyone what had happened. As a result, large crowds soon surrounded Jesus, and he couldn’t publicly enter a town anywhere. He had to stay out in the secluded places, but people from everywhere kept coming to him. – Mar 1:43-45 NLT
Even tho Jesus challenged the status quo of religion and culture, Jesus knew that true freedom would come for the leper after he was pronounced clean by the priest. Jesus also wanted to encounter the priest through this once leper, now clean individual.
Instead we see the man was disobedient. His disobedience had large implications and affected many. No longer could Jesus go to the individuals, but they all had to be brought to Jesus.
Many of us fall into spiritual leprosy, believing we are unworthy and unclean. Many of us fall into pushing others into spiritual leprosy, declaring someone unclean and unfit. We must not be like the leper nor the priest, we must be like Jesus. We must acknowledge uncleanliness but then offer a solution other than isolation. Sin isolates. Jesus includes. Sin pushes us away from God and Community. Jesus draws us near to Himself and others.
It is time to declare war on spiritual leprosy in your life, and in the lives of those around you.
What is it going to be?
Act like a Leper?
Act like a religious leader?
Act like Jesus?
The choice can only be yours…