Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him and said to him, ‘I am willing, be cleansed.’ As soon as He had spoken, the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed.” Matthew 8:1-3
As I’ve been reading about the life of one of the greatest medical doctors in the field of leprosy, Paul Brand, I have learned that many of the things I thought about leprosy are false. Leprosy does not cause fingers and toes and feet to fall off. Leprosy causes numbness. Leprosy attacks the pain receptors in the cooler parts of the body (the armpits never get it!)
Leprosy gets rid of pain!
What a blessing, you think! To have no pain! We spend small fortunes on medicines to get rid of the pain!
Without pain, I can just open one of those stubborn jars with any amount of pressure and it will come open, because I will have no pain to make me stop.
Yes, lepers can exert far more pressure than you or I because they feel no pain. However, it is this exertion and this lack of pain that causes the damage.
Lepers actually walk their feet into the ground.
Dr. Brand saw a man who was literally walking on his tibial bones (ankle bones) because his lack of feeling had so damaged his feet, shredding it off one cell at a time!
Lack of pain causes great damage.
Dr. Brand researched for years on how to give his patients the “Holy Grail” of leprosy — pain!
In fact, Dr. Brand rigged devices on leper’s hands that sensed when the pressure was too great and wired it to give a shock to the armpits of the lepers so they would STOP!
What did the lepers at the sanatorium in Louisiana do? They reached under their arms, shut off the pain shocker, completed the damaging movement, and then reached and shut the shocker back on. Even they did not see pain as the blessing that could save their appendages, face, and lives.
No one likes pain!
When we want to do what our bodies were not intended to do, it is the pain that keeps us from hurting ourselves!
Now, many of us suffer from leprosy of the soul.
We have desensetized, numb consciences. Accordingly, we do horrible things that do not cause discomfort to our soul – we are numb.
But as we proceed to do these things, anything we please, really, we damage ourselves. We hurt our very souls and struggle as we harm that which our conscience used to protect — our peace, our ability to relax, our family life, and our sanity. Our character, morals, and ethics are worn away to stumps as we do things with numbed consciences that sever and dismember our vitality of spirit.
Perhaps leprosy was created as the outward sign of the inward man who lives with a numbed conscience.
Vile and Repulsive
Leprosy has always been considered the most vile and repulsive of physical diseases.
The most vile spiritual disease to God has always been a stiff neck and hard, numb heart.
And Pharaoh’s heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, as the LORD had said.
Matthew 13:15, Acts 28:27
For the hearts of this people have grown dull.Their ears are hard of hearing,And their eyes they have closed,Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,So that I should heal them.’
No pain physically results in bodily destruction. No pain of conscience spiritiually results in the greatest of misery and human hell on earth. The more we look for peace, the more it eludes us! We’re not bothered by our sin, we just can’t put our finger on what is wrong! We have no purpose!
There is no soundness in my fleshBecause of Your anger, Nor any health in my bones Because of my sin.
We pass on hard hards to others
Lepers adapt and learn to live without pain although it often causes separation from family and loved ones. You see, children and those with the genetic predisposition are most likely to catch leprosy while it is in its brief, but contagious stage.
Likewise children are easily infected with sin and our callous attitudes and indifference towards all kids of sin. They become like us.
Genetically certain families may struggle with a type of sin more than others as “sins are passed down” just as well as nose shape, and eye color. Anger. Greed. Drunkeness. Abuse. Dependencies. Fear.
The Greatest Doctor the World has ever known
But there was only one who healed leprosy — Jesus. We can heal people from the flu, viruses, and even cancer in some cases. No one is ever healed from leprosy.
Only one healed this uncurable leprosy in the history of the world. Jesus Christ.
Likewise, only one person heals the leprous, desensitized, damaged heart — Jesus Christ.
who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.
There is no hope for a hard hearted, desensitized world but one. His name is Jesus.
It is our job to tell others
We must do everything in our power to share the story. Tell it on every platform. Speak it on every hill. Share it in every nation. Amidst persecution and ridicule the story must be told to all who will listen. We must persevere. We must struggle. We must work.
This is the greatest story ever told. The healing of my soul and your soul and every soul who has ever completely turned to Jesus Christ. He always heals. 100%. He never fails.
No sacrifice is to much. No check is to big. No life spent telling the story is wasted. Jesus is the way the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Him! Praise Him who has saved us from ourselves.
Lord, fan the flames in the heart of those who are yours. Steel us against those who criticize as we reach those who are hurting and need to hear. Let us accomplish that which you have called us to do. Thank you for healing me and saving me from myself. Thank you that there is no sin too dark that you cannot forgive and no situation too hopeless that you cannot redeem. Thank you for the joy that is mine every morning. In Jesus name. Amen.