Monday, March 18, 2013

The Lord and the Leper: Healing of the Whole Person

On impulse, I just started rereading the gospel of Mark, and I realized something. I think my favorite stories of Christ's earthly ministry is when he heals lepers. This happens multiple times throughout the accounts of all the gospel writers, and are always incredibly moving. But there is more going on than the sheer awe of miraculous healing.

Lepers were not only physically diseased and utterly cast out of general society as a result, but were also cut off from worship at the temple due to ritual uncleanliness. In first century Palestine, the temple was the heart of the people; that was how they knew God. So having leprosy meant being completely cut off from both human society and, in the mind of the first century Jew, God himself. By healing a leper, Jesus allowed them not only to become healthy again, but also to enter back into fellowship with God and man. That's why Jesus always quickly tells a leper he has healed to immediately go to the temple priest
When Jesus healed a leper he not only restored them to physical health and wholeness, but also healed and redeemed them spiritually, emotional, relationally and socially.
This is just one example (among many many others) of the fact that when Jesus heals someone, it is always holistic. He cares about and changes the entirety of a person. This all moves me with incredible awe and deeper appreciation of Christ and how he interacted and continues to interact with his people.
Ok, now I'm going to go back to reading.

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