“Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valor, but he was a leper.” (2nd Kings 5:1)


Somewhat early Monday morning 12 December 1977, two cars loaded with missionaries and adult Japanese Christians left Karuizawa to go preach to lepers. I was riding in one of those cars. Annually a few Japanese Christians and missionaries go from Karuizawa to the leprosarium on the outskirts of Kusatsu City, Gunma Prefecture to have a Christmas service for the lepers. Several of the lepers are Christians. Today I go with 5 other friends, the first time for me to go there and the 1st time for me to behold a leper. Approaching the leprosarium in our cars, I readily saw that it was outside of town in a quite isolated area. Local residents didn’t care to be near the lepers.   

Upon arriving about 11 AM, we go from room to room visiting bedridden patients, speaking words of cheer and encouragement to them and praying for them. Then, kitchen workers serve us a nice lunch followed by our Christian service for the lepers at 1 PM; singing, giving our testimonies, Bible reading and preaching. I had never before been around a leper, and was somewhat apprehensive about catching that incurable deadly disease. My Christian friends who had previously gone to the leprosarium for the yearly Christmas service said that if I had no open wounds and did not make any close contact with any leper, that I would not catch leprosy. You can rest assured that I was praying for God to take care of me, and was being ever so careful and cautious.

Seeing the lepers with fingers, ears, noses, eyes and such eaten away by that loathsome disease is heart breaking. Looking upon the several lepers that I was around during this day, most of them were lacking one or more of the things I just mentioned.

The worst case I saw was a man whose eyes, nose and earlobes (and all the hair on his head) had been eaten away by leprosy. Tho he now had no earlobes, the entrance to each ear was open and he could hear. But he was totally blind. Apparently, surgeons had done plastic surgery on his face to cover his unsightly empty eye sockets and the opening where his nose had been, because the places where eyes and nose had been were now smooth “flat skin” like a person’s cheeks. He did all his breathing thru his mouth (and eating and talking, of course). Someone always led that pitiful blind leper around, as he moved about the leprosarium.

 It was a most moving experience for me, to visit with those lepers about 3 hours. Returning home, back in my room that night I wept much as I knelt and prayed for them. I also heartily thanked God for my good health and called upon Him to help me to daily use all my abundant energies and abilities to their fullest extent, to tell every lost soul that I possibly can, of the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In the Holy Bible, the disease leprosy depicts sin, as a type. When any person continues in sin, that sin eats away at the person’s body and soul, eventually destroying that person with sinful rot and decay, resulting in that sin-destroyed person being turned into Hell to forever suffer the torments of that fire. “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23a)

Down thru the ages, there has been no medical cure for leprosy. Once anyone contracted leprosy, it would steady rot away his or her body until it caused that physical body to die an early death. (I hear that modern medicine can now combat leprosy to some extent. But I also know that in 1977, I gazed in awe at leprosy rotting away living human bodies, a horrible and loathsome sight.)

Look at that long Scripture verse above about Captain Naaman. Read all the great things stated about that mighty man of valor. But daily, that great and powerful man gazed on that leprosy eating away just a little more of his body, knowing that sooner or later that disease would kill him, ending all his great deeds done on earth. Leprosy typifies sin that kills each sinner, as God’s Scripture declares to us in Romans 6:23.

But a most merciful and gracious Creator God gives hope to this human race being killed by sin. “…but the gift of God is eternal life thru Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23b)

Presently, are you a rebel sinner enjoying the pleasures of sin for a very short season while laughing at your Creator God Who is calling on you to now repent, turn from sin and sinning, and trust in Jesus Christ to save you? If so, you are most similar to that blind leper that I saw, letting someone lead him around in his blindness. You are spiritually blind and Satan is leading you around from one sinful pleasure to another, all the while laughing gleefully at you being so stupid as to let him destroy you with sin eternally.

“Almighty God my Creator, right now please bestow great mercy upon me to cause me to come to myself and firmly realize that I do not want to pay the eternal price (of torments) to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short season while I am on earth. Please work powerfully in my being to bring me to my senses. Grant me a truly repentant heart now. Grant me saving faith in the Saviour of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.”

“Our Father which art in Heaven, please fill Missionary Richard with Holy Ghost Power as he goes about preaching to many “blind” and lost Japanese idol worshippers. Have mercy upon them to save them to the utmost, I plead. Amen.”

Richard Yerby  (Matsuida, Japan)  www.Christ-is-all.us



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