"a man all over spotted with the leprosy of sin"

Stained glass window showing Christ cleansing lepers
Public Domain
         Stained glass window showing Christ cleansing lepers

Leprosy, or Hansen’s Disease, has plagued humankind for over 4,000 years and has long been a source of deep fear and social stigma. It is a bacterial infection which affects the nerves, skin and eyes, its most prominent external sign being the development of large red lesions. Contrary to popular belief, it does not make your limbs fall off. Many accounts of leprosy occur in the Bible but the descriptions rarely tally with the symptoms of Hansen’s Disease. There is often a moral cast to these accounts, suggesting a spiritual as much as a physical affliction, and it is pertinent that Jesus is generally referred to as cleansing rather than curing the lepers who come to him.