Similarities Between Leprosy and Sin

Leprosy is a life-threatening infection mentioned in the Bible over 45 times. Leprosy was used as a powerful illustration of the devastating power of sin in our lives.

1. Sin numbs us to our condition. Leprosy causes damage to sensory nerves making the skin numb. As we continue to sin, we become more calloused and hardened to its affect on our lives.

2. Sin leads to death. As leprosy progresses, the lack of sensation leads to fatal tissue and limb damage. Likewise, sin causes people to make bad decisions often leading to disaster.

3. We can’t hide sin. People with leprosy can’t hide their disease. Likewise, the actions of people trapped in sin eventually become obvious to those around them.

4. Sin produces outcasts. Lepers were driven from their homes and made to live outside the city. Like lepers, afflictions like drug abuse and alcoholism can turn us into the dregs of society.


1. Leviticus 13:44-45 – “The leper 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, ‘Unclean, unclean.’ He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He shall dwell alone in a habitation outside the camp.”

2. Matthew 8:1-4 – “When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. And a leper came and worshipped Him saying, ‘Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.’ Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him saying, ‘I am willing. Be cleansed.’ Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, ‘See that you tell no one. But go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.'”

3. Luke 17:12-19 – “And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices and said, ‘Jesus have mercy on us.’ When he saw them he said, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went they were cleansed. When one of them saw he was healed, he turned back praising God with a loud voice and fell on his face at Jesus’ feet giving him thanks. He was a Samaritan. Then Jesus said, ‘Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ And he said to him, ‘Rise and go your way, your faith has made you well.'”

Sin, like leprosy, destroys us and leaves us in a state of hopelessness. The good news?

Isaiah 53:4-5 – “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by Him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities. The punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.”

Jack Wellman is pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane, Kansas. With degrees in Biblical studies, history, and education, Pastor Jack's primary focus is theology, apologetics and evangelism.