Jesus was once in a certain town where there happened to be a man covered with leprosy; seeing Jesus, he bowed to the ground and begged his help.
“Sir,” he said, “if only you will, you can cleanse me.”
Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “Indeed I will; be clean again.” The leprosy left him immediately. Jesus then ordered him not to tell anybody. “But go,” he said, “show yourself to the priest and make the offering laid down by Moses for your cleansing; that will certify the cure.”
But the talk about Jesus spread all the more; great crowds gathered to hear him and to be cured of their ailments. And from time to time Jesus would withdraw to lonely places for prayer.
Leprosy: What laws applied to people with leprosy? *
Leprosy is a bacterial disease affecting the skin, with lesions developing as the disease progresses. In 2016, there were 216,00 new cases around the world, with 200 new patients in the U.S Today known as Hansen’s Disease, leprosy is curable with multi-drug therapy. However, fear of contracting this disfiguring disease still keeps the afflicted in isolation.
Leviticus 13 dictates procedures for dealing with leprosy: a priest would inspect the lesions, and if they did not disappear after a specified time, the person would then be declared ritually “unclean”. Lepers had to live outside their communities, isolated from family and friends. In approaching Jesus, this man was in violation of Levitical law. In touching the leper, Jesus also violated the law.