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Discovery Magazine 4/1/2001


Leprosy Meets Its Match

Throughout history, leprosy has been one of the most dreaded diseases known to man. It strikes the young and old alike, and for many years doctors could find no cure for the terrible illness.

Leprosy is a disease that affects the nerves and the skin. It usually starts as a small scab or white spot. As it worsens, the scab spreads over the body, especially affecting the hands, feet, and face. Many times, the nerves in these areas are damaged and the leper looses the ability to feel sensations such as hot and cold. As the disease worsens, hands and feet become disfigured or stop working properly. People with leprosy usually live to be just as old as most other people, because leprosy is not necessarily a fatal disease. But it causes terrible discomfort and damage to a person’s body.

During the earthly life of Jesus, many people had leprosy. In fact, special laws were in effect regarding lepers. If a person had leprosy, he had to live outside of the city, away from all his friends and family. If he ever came into town, he had to tear his clothes, cover his mouth, and cry: "Unclean! Unclean!" When people heard a leper coming, they would get away from him quickly, because they thought the disease was very contagious. Lepers were lonely people, because few people talked to them and almost nobody would shake their hands or give them hugs.

But Jesus was the one man who gave lepers new hope. He went from village to village healing all kinds of diseases, including leprosy. Luke 5:12-13 relates an amazing story about a man with leprosy being healed. Not only did Jesus heal the man, but also "He put out His hand and touched him." Can you imagine how the leper must have felt when the Lord actually touched his deformed, ugly body? Jesus not only proved that He had the power to heal the terrible disease of leprosy, but He also showed that He loved everyone—even lepers.

Today, leprosy still exists in some countries. It has been estimated that there are about 3 million lepers in the world. We have learned many things about leprosy, and doctors have found medicines that can be used effectively to treat the disease. But with all the knowledge that we have gained since Jesus’ day, no one has been able to heal leprosy like He did. Jesus loves you, He loves me, and He loves the lepers. No physical disease ever will have the power to separate us from His love! 



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