One of Judah’s kings, King Uzziah (pictured above; 2 Chronicles 26:23), was stricken with leprosy. And if you are a moderate student of the Bible, you understand the severe separation that was required and imposed partly from fear that lepers had to go through. In 2 Chronicles 26:23 King Uzziah died a leper and it says he
was buried near [his ancestors] in a cemetery that belonged to the kings, for people said, “He had leprosy.”
He didn’t rest with his ancestors. He wasn’t laid in a tomb. Even in death his leprosy excluded him from community.
Can you imagine being a leper at the time of Jesus, then? King Uzziah was buried separately, as a leper, almost 900 years before Christ. Just imagine the severity of the stigma after each generation. This makes Jesus’ embracing lepers all the more remarkable.
Our culture has these people, too. Maybe not people actually afflicted with leprosy, but there are social outcasts that believe there is no hope in life. Ours is a culture that will reject someone if their glasses aren’t in style. Ours is a culture that dedicates websites to laughing at people at Wal Mart. Ours is a culture that is so bored we bully people to death.
I wonder if our Kingdom is supposed to look like our culture?