|Photo: Gospel for Asia
Frantically scrubbing the man tried to wash away the white patch on his skin. At first he thought he had just rubbed up against some brick, but now he knew differently as he saw the raw flesh begin to emerge. His heart sank as more patches appeared. Keeping his head down in shame, he slowly made his way to the priest.
The priest’s judgment was but one word, “Unclean.” It was indeed leprosy. Tearing his clothes, the man made his way outside the camp warning everyone with his voice crying, “Unclean! Unclean!” Quickly passersby rushed away from the man. No one would ever get near a leper.
While this account is fictional and based from Leviticus 13 of the Bible, there are still many today who suffer with leprosy or Hansen’s Disease. Fifty percent of the world’s leprosy cases are in India and it is present in Brazil, Africa and China. Ninety-five percent of people are immune to leprosy. It is a contagious disease caused by bacteria and can be transmitted through touch and the nasal cavity. This bacterium attacks the nerves and causes loss of sensation and pain.
It is easily curable; but in countries where treatment is not readily available, the leper will lose the warning system of their body parts and not be able to feel. They may reach directly into a fire or walk on splintered glass without knowing better.
Can you imagine never knowing again the feel of a warm embrace? Or the brush of lips on your cheek? You only know isolation and separation, reproach and revulsion.
God is raising up believers and churches even among leper colonies. Gospel of Asia ministers to the lepers
through the sharing of the gospel and helping with their daily living needs. When you visit the link, be sure to read the account of Baga, a leper in Jesus’ arms.
Jesus loves the leper. He wasn’t afraid to touch them.
Our great High Priest cleansing the unclean.
*Thanks to Pastor Dave Beakley of CBC for the statistics which I used from his sermon on Mark 1:40-45