The leper was unclean according to Mosaic law and could associate with no one but lepers. If there were to be a bald head with a white reddish sore, it is leprosy and the priest shall pronounce him utterly unclean. They were not allowed to eat holy things until they were clean and were required to live outside the city walls. The leper was to tear his clothes and leave them torn, let his hair hang loose or leave his head bare and put a covering on his upper lip. The garments of the spreading plague must be burnt and if the house was bad enough, it also must be destroyed. The priest as well as the leper had all kinds of ritualistic requirements for dealing with the disease. To approach a leprous person was to be unclean yourself and the lepers were obliged to warn away all who would have come near them by their heart rending cry, "Tame! tame" - Unclean, unclean.

Modern skin specialists who have studied Leviticus 13 and 14 believe that Jews applied the term leprosy to many chronic skin diseases. One of these was the disease that today is called leprosy or what we call "Hansen's disease."

The Lord cleansed Naaman, the captain of the King of Syria through Elisha. Naaman was to dip himself in the river Jordan 7 times. Azariah, king of Judah was stricken of leprosy by the Lord. Even though Azariah was a righteous king, he did not remove the high places and through his disobedience was a leper until his death. Uzziah was also a king of Judah and due to his strength in the land became filled with pride and stricken with leprosy when he tried to burn incense upon the altar. He was thus cut off from the house of the Lord. When a man of God does not obey, there can be dire consequences.

A leper worshipped Jesus and said, "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean." Jesus took His hand and touched the man saying, "I will, be clean." And the man was immediately cleansed. The healing touch to a man unclean. No fear of contamination or being made unclean Himself, just the loving touch of a loving hand reaching out to heal. Our Lord commands the man to be silent in order not to stir up inopportune opposition, His time had not yet come. The poor leper, through a mistaken motive of gratitude, "blazed abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places and they came to him from every quarter." This was the result our Lord had foreseen, great excitement, a sensation, and our Lord must withdraw to the desert. If we do not obey Jesus' commands, we frustrate his provident designs towards ourselves and others. "Ten men that were lepers" met Jesus, united in a community of deadly misery. They were far off, for they dared not approach since their approach was pollution. The ten were cleansed by Jesus but only one returned to give thanks and he was a Samaritan, a stranger.
[289, 309, 352, 363, 415, Leviticus 13, 14, 22, II Kings 5, 15, Matthew 8, Mark 1]

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