by Roger Thomas

This content is part of a series.

Unexpected Grace (2 of 7)
Series: The Passions of Christ
Roger Thomas
Mark 1:40-45

A man with leprosy came to Jesus. No big deal. Lots of people came to Jesus. Many came for healing. But this was a man with leprosy. Most of us don't know much about leprosy. It still exists. In fact the World Health Organization reported over 600,000 cases in 2002, the latest reporting year. Most cases are in Southeast Asia. Brazil has a fair amount as well, over 38,000. Mexico some. ( But in our story, a man, not a statistic, came to Jesus. There's a difference.

Humans have known about and dreaded this disease for thousands of years. Millions upon millions have suffered its deadly symptoms through the centuries. In Bible times, nothing could strike terror like the diagnosis of leprosy. G. A. Hansen actually discovered the cause in 1873. But even once the bacterium was identified, it took another seventy years to find a treatment. The bacteria, however, quickly became resistant to the early antibiotics. Today a leprosy victim generally takes a three-drug cocktail of antibiotics for as long as a year. The multi-drug therapy is generally pretty effective, but not guaranteed. No real cure exists.

Curiously, one of the latest drugs used against leprosy has a history. Those old enough will remember Thalidomide a drug used in the 1950's to treat the symptoms of "morning sickness." Only after it had affected millions did doctors discover that it also caused horrible birth defects. Thalidomide has been rediscovered as a leprosy treatment.

A man with leprosy came to Jesus. Doctors then had no treatment at all. No drugs existed. Nothing relieved its symptoms or stopped its spread through the body. Leprosy was a slow, torturous, disfiguring disease. It was a death sentence. A man with leprosy came to Jesus. There was no place else to go. No one else to whom he could turn. But coming to Jesus had its risks.

Leprosy is a chronic i ...

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