Sometime ago, I attended the annual meeting of the Leprosy Mission of Canada. This is part of a larger world organization who have undertaken to eradicate this debilitative disease. Looking through the then annual report, I had cause to think of the sheep nations. But before discussing that, I would like to share with you some of the results achieved by this organization worldwide.
The last report I received showed that from 1985 to 2005, 20 million people had received multi-drug therapy. What is impressive is that the number of countries showing prevalence rates above 1 per 10,000 population has been reduced from 122 in 1985 to 14 in 2001 and 9 by 2005.
Of course, the work of the Mission involves a lot more than simple cures, which are brought about by a one year drug regimen at a cost of $350.00 per case. It also provides reconstructive surgery and addresses related social problems. And they have analyzed the bacilli and are working on a future vaccine.
Leprosy has been with us at least since Moses’ time, for he had laws defining what a leper should do when cleansed. It involved presenting oneself to the priest, outside the camp, and then offering certain sacrifices. The whole process, which is too long to reproduce here, can be found in Leviticus 14:2-20. The cleansing ceremony did NOT heal lepers. The ceremony was an inspection and an official pronouncement of healing to the community, so that the cleansed could resume normal life in the community. When Jesus healed lepers, He sent them to the priest according to the Law of Moses. Matthew 8:2-4, “And behold a leper came to him, and bowed down to him, saying, Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean. And he stretched out his hand and touched him saying, I am willing; be cleansed. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, See that you tell no one; but go, show yourself to the priest, and present the offering that Moses commanded, for a testimony to them.”
So, there is no discussion of how the leper might be cleansed and because of our knowledge to-day, we suspect that there was not much healing occurring in those days. But obviously, this was a part of Jesus’ mission and it is reported that He healed persons with all manner of illness. (Mark 1:34.) Jesus defined His mission with the reading of the words of Isaiah in the synagogue, Luke 4:18-19, ” The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”
The Leprosy Mission of Canada is a Christian organization who believe that their work is following the dictates of our Lord and so, I am reminded of the sheep NATIONS. You remember Christ’s discourse on the Sheep NATIONS, Matthew 25:31-46, beginning, “When the Son of Man shall come in His glory and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory; and before Him shall be gathered ALL NATIONS; and He shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats; and He shall set the sheep on His right hand but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them (NATIONS) on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” When He is asked why, He explains that these are the nations which pursued His mission, feeding, clothing, taking in strangers, ministering to the sick and oppressed.
So, which NATIONS are working on the leprosy illness? They are the following: Australia, Belgium. Canada, Denmark, United Kingdom, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States. These are the Christian nations that grew out of the Israel migrations through Europe and the British Commonwealth.
In my opinion, the world is splitting into the sheep and goat nations right now, as the world is dividing into two camps. Although I have cited one example of the work of the Jesus mission, it is occurring on many fronts; such as, tsunami and earthquake relief, food support and other disasters. In all kinds of disasters, the sheep NATIONS are there on the scene doing the work of Jesus.
The promise to Abraham was that his progeny would be a blessing to all nations. Therefore, may He add His blessing to our endeavours!