Lessons on Leadership from Nehemiah

Lessons on Leadership from Nehemiah

“Healing Of The Lepers”

Categories: Miracles of Jesus

Jesus is headed toward Jerusalem where He will meet with His appointed destiny.  He is traveling somewhere along the border between Samaria and Galilee, where He enters a village and encounters ten leprous men.  According to the Law, they keep their distance, but they recognize Jesus and cry out to Him for mercy.  

Leprosy is a dreaded disease that is a picture of sin. This is alluded to by the fact that the lepers are cleansed (17:14, 17). Leprosy rendered a man ceremonially defiled, so that if he was healed, he still had to go to the priest and carry out an extensive ritual of cleansing before he could be accepted back into the religious community and worship (Lev. 14).

While the physical disease was horrible, the terrible social consequences in ancient Israel only added to the misery.  According to Josephus, lepers were treated “as if they were, in effect, dead men.” The Mosaic Law prescribed that the person be cut off from society, including his family.  He had to wear torn clothing, have his head uncovered, cover his lips and shout “Unclean!  Unclean!” wherever he went to warn others to keep their distance (Lev. 13:45).

Jesus simply instructs them to go and show themselves to the priests.  As they were going, they were cleansed. But only one of the ten, a Samaritan, turns back to glorify God and give thanks to Jesus for His great mercy and power. Thankfulness is an act of humility.  It acknowledges our debt to the other person. Clearly, Jesus was pleased with the expression of thanks from the one and grieved at the absence of the other nine. 

Now, here’s the kicker: The Bible wants all of us to see ourselves before Christ as spiritual lepers in His sight.  God wants us all to see that our hearts are deceitful and desperately sick (Jer. 17:9), sick with sin, unclean before the holy God.  Furthermore, just as this awful disease of leprosy separated the leper from the community, so sin causes distance and rupture in human relationships, often among family members. Just as only God could heal this dreaded disease, so only God can heal and cleanse the human heart from the awful disease of sin. Every day we should be filled with gratitude for all that the Savior did for us when we were spiritual lepers before Him.

Lord:  We want to be people filled with gratitude. The cleaning You provided is more than we could ever expect.  We are drawn by Your mercy. By Your mercy you cleansed us of our sins. Ho dare we fail to say, “Thank you!? We bow before You because we owe everything to You and can claim nothing from ourselves.