The Outcast: Identity of a Leper

If there was one identity that stuck to me like glue more than the rest, it would be leper. I can easily be the leper who is standing in the street, crying out “I am unclean”, but it isn’t hard to feel almost a kinship to those who once were lepers crying out to Jesus in the New Testament.

Once they met Christ, their lives radically changed! The truth is: God can take us from a social outcast, to entering a community of strong support, beautiful friends, enriching life, and a right relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ! God can do that! And, it is incredible! A life forever changed.

The Condition

Lepers faced a noticeable skin condition, that set them in a different neighborhood to live among other lepers. They had to avoid coming into contact with others, to spare the rest of the community. It was part of the law God set up through Moses. The lepers were incredibly loved. Through these particular laws though, it was a picture of sin’s “destructive power”. For more on leprosy and the picture of sin it represents, see Got Questions.

Lepers experienced emotional, social, and spiritual aspects that would have been difficult to cope with. They couldn’t come into contact with anyone (unless they were lepers themselves). They couldn’t go to temple or tabernacle to worship God. Their lives as they once were, had been far removed from them. For me, the lepers seem like the chronically ill of the Bible.

Socially speaking when lepers were spotted by others, they knew to stay far away from the lepers. The lepers were haunted by their physical condition and all that came with it. They couldn’t escape it no matter how hard they tried. They probably tried all sorts of remedies, just to be rid of it, but they just couldn’t fix themselves. They couldn’t escape the spiritual battle they faced, due to their condition and being apart from their faith community.

Their pain from leprosy would have been unfathomable, yet God saw them in their condition. God saw their pain and  its affect on each part of them. God met them where they were, and He loved them! He knew their struggle, and loved them! Jesus displays powerfully the compassion that our heavenly Father has for each of them. The support they went so long without, they were now given in immeasurable amounts! His love would replace all the hurt they had endured.