A Closer Look
Mistakes and baggage from the past can cripple us with shame for fear that we’ll be exposed, and humiliated. In first century Israel there was perhaps nothing more shameful than having leprosy. Among the sixty-one defilements of ancient Jewish laws, leprosy was second only to a dead body in seriousness. If you had leprosy anytime you were around other people, you were required to shout “unclean, unclean,” so that they would keep their distance. You even had to live alone.
When Jesus encounters a man with leprosy in Galilee, he does the unthinkable. The man calls out to be made clean, and rather than keeping his distance, Mark 1:41 says that Jesus “reached out his hand and touched the man.” And then Immediately the leprosy left him. The negative connotations associated with lepers didn’t scare Jesus, he treated these people with dignity and respect despite their perceptions of themself.
There is an analogy between the physical condition of leprosy and the spiritual condition of sin. It isolates us both from God and other people. Left to ourselves we can’t get rid of sin, but Jesus has such compassion he’ll enter the dark places of your heart and make you clean. Have you let him in?