Love, Leprosy & COVID 19

April 3, 2020 Preacher: Gareth Franks Series: The Gospel of Luke

Topic: The Gospel Scripture: Luke 5:12–16

Home Group Study 

Opening Discussion: Many people enjoy travelling and exploring different cultures especially the foods of those cultures. While most stories have happy endings there have been a few occasions where exploring different dishes in some ally or inner city have led to upset stomachs. Can you relate? Share your story?


While early Israelites didn't operate on the Germ Theory of infection or disease, they understood something about infectious diseases, and those suspected of leprosy were kept isolated until their diagnosis was confirmed (Leviticus 13:5). 

In the Bible “leprosy” can refer to a number of skin diseases, but in its worst form, it was what we know as Hansen’s disease. Doctor Luke is telling us this was an extreme case of leprosy. This is not a man with a minor skin affliction. Luke the physician is saying this was a severe case, the worst form of leprosy. Once a person caught it, it was considered incurable, and those diagnosed with leprosy were banned from society.

"The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, 'Unclean, unclean.' He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp.” (Leviticus 13:45-46).

This passage shows us a leper who came to Jesus for cleansing. In the Bible, leprosy is a dreaded disease that is a picture of sin. This is alluded to in our text by the fact that the leper does not ask for healing, but for cleansing, which Jesus granted. The words “clean,” “cleansed,” and “cleansing” occur three times in our passage to emphasis this analogy. In the OT Leprosy caused a person to be 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.

In drawing attention to cleanness and uncleanness, Jesus is drawing attention to the forgiveness of sins. At the heart of this passage is the core of Jesus ministry –the forgiveness of sins. Our text this morning raises for us the question “Who can fix what we have messed up by our sin?”

Investigation & Interpretation:

  • Read: Luke 5:12-16
  1. Read the other accounts of Jesus’ interaction with the leper from Matthew 8:1-3, Mark 1:40-45 and explain what is similar/different about these accounts and which one provides the most/least amount of information?
  2. Why do you think the leper approached Jesus and asked him to perform a healing? How would you compare the leper’s faith, to Peter’s faith in God’s ability - when told to let down the nets in v. 5?
  3. What does Jesus do in Luke 5:13 that is shocking? What does Mark 1:41 tell us about the reason Jesus healed this man?

Application - How must I change?

  • Is there a Truth to be believed?

Describe the kind of faith it takes to act and speak as this leper did. What level of belief was required of him?

  • Is there an Attitude to be fostered?

In the very beginning, there were no rogue parasites or harmful germs. Genesis 1:31, tells us that —everything was “very good”. How does your understanding of creation, help you to be “prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you…”?

  • Is there a Behavior to be changed?

Remember that person you thought was “unclean” and didn’t want to be around? How do you think God views him/her? What can you learn about this story and apply to your life the next time you see someone our society views as “unclean?”


This passage develops Luke’s portrait of Jesus the healer, a theme that was alluded to in 4:23 and spelled out in 4:40, and that will remain a prominent feature of his ministry throughout the time in Galilee and on the road to Jerusalem. In 4:40 we learned of Jesus’ ability to heal “various kinds of sickness,” and here he focuses on a very prominent physical complaint. It is particularly striking because of the deep-seated fear of “leprosy” and the belief that it was humanly incurable. We see in this passage, our Lord Jesus Christ's POWER over incurable diseases. Jesus can do what no doctor could do and what no priest can do. Jesus can heal the body as well as cleanse our souls from sin.

In his commentary J.C. Ryle says; “We have in this wonderful history a lively emblem of Christ's power to heal our souls. What are we all but spiritual lepers in the sight of God? Sin is the deadly sickness by which we are all affected. It has eaten into our vitals. It has infected all our faculties. Heart, conscience, mind, and will, all are diseased by sin. From the sole of our foot to the crown of our head, there is no soundness about us, but covered with wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores. (Isaiah 1:6.) Such is the state in which we are born. Such is the state in which we naturally live. We are in one sense dead long before we are laid in the grave. Our bodies may be healthy and active, but our souls are by nature dead in trespasses and sins.

Who shall deliver us from this body of death? Let us thank God that Jesus Christ can. He is that divine Physician, who can make old things pass away and all things become new. In Him is life. He can wash us thoroughly from all the defilement of sin in His own blood. He can quicken us, and revive us by His own Spirit. He can cleanse our hearts, open the eyes of our understandings, renew our wills, and make us whole. Let this sink down deeply into our hearts. There is medicine to heal our sickness. If we are lost it is not because we cannot be saved. However corrupt our hearts, and however wicked our past lives, there is hope for us in the Gospel. There is no case of spiritual leprosy too hard for Christ.”


More in The Gospel of Luke

July 24, 2020

Love So Amazing So Divine

July 17, 2020

How To Respond In Faith.

July 10, 2020

Our Living Hope.