By Pr Isaiah White
In the Bible, the most dangerous disease was leprosy. Just like today, we have cancer and HIV, the Old Testament people suffered leprosy.
The difference between modern cancer and HIV patients, and leprosy victims (besides the nature of diseases) is so much in how we treat our patients and how the ancient world treated their patients.
It is the manner in which lepers were legally and religiously handled that makes leprosy significant in the Bible.
In the ancient Biblical world, the greatest nightmare for anyone was to wake up with a skin infection.
One’s entire life changes when he or she encounters such a problem.
Your economy, sociology, and family pace would all be affected. From the point of infection, the victim was considered dead.
Due to lack of medical attention and being isolated, the victim’s situation deteriorated, their flesh decayed, smell struck, and lepers turned into roadside beggars whose instruction was to always declare themselves unclean, and unclean to the public to ensure distance.
Gradually a leper lost body parts. Most of these victims had toeless feet, sightless eyes, and cheekless mouth moans.
According to Judaism religious holiness code, leprosy was a practical example of sin and uncleanliness before God. So, a leper was not just sick, but also guilty.
As with modern HIV victims, the stigma around their infection was almost the same.
The religious and legal treatment of these lepers as prescribed in Leviticus 13 exhibited the magnitude of sin.
Sin is ugly, loathsome, incurable, and contagious. It separates men from God and makes them outcasts.
This was the message that such treatment conveyed to these patients.
In Jesus’ days, this holiness code was still in play. No temple officer, Rabbi or Jewish citizen could come in contact with a leper.
The appearance of Jesus of Nazareth on the scene made a difference because He was the only Rabbi who contacted the Lepers (Luke 17:11-19).
Restoring the lepers
Since being a leper was equivalent to being dead, healing a leper was a demonstration of the resurrection.
These were dead people who, with Jesus Christ’s healing, were resurrected and restored to the community.
In this package of healing was the forgiveness of sin, restoration of their lost body parts, and recovering the original social status that they had lost.
In the healing process, the unclean lepers regained their identity and were no longer referred to as unclean lepers.
This is why Jesus asked the lepers to go and show themselves to the authorities.
He wanted to satisfy the law that declared these rejects and outcasts.
He wanted to show that the resurrection had transpired and now these were new people who legally and religiously qualified as members of society.
This is what Easter is. It is about restoration; restoring our lost social status, our broken bodies, and our relationships.
Marriages and nations should be restored during the resurrection season. It is a season we claim our leaders and invoke servanthood.
The resurrection season is when preachers are restored to the pulpits, the message is revived, and we preach God’s Word as it is.
The resurrection season is an opportunity for sinners like me to come before the Lord.
This is like the lepers who came to be forgiven and re-established as new creatures in Christ.
May everything you lost be restored this season. Amen!