The Disease Humanity Can’t Cure
March 27, 2022

The Disease Humanity Can’t Cure
2 Kings 5


With all our scientific and medical advancements and breakthroughs there still exists a disease that humanity cannot find a cure for.

As I began to think about this, and the story I will be sharing, the 6th episode of season one of “The Chosen,” came to mind. It was when a leper came to Jesus asking to be healed. Speaking to Jesus the leper said, “Please don’t turn away from me.” To which Jesus said, “I won’t.” And then the leper asked that if Jesus was willing, He could make him clean. And Jesus said, “I am willing, be cleansed.” And the leper was immediately cleansed of this awful disease.

Today, I’d like to share with you the story of the Syrian captain, Naaman. It is found in 2 Kings chapter 5.

“Now Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great and honorable man in the eyes of his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valor, but a leper.” (2 Kings 5:1 NKJV)

Before we continue, I’d like to share what we know about Naaman.

When it says that Naaman was a great and honorable man, that means that he was distinguished above all others. He was held in high esteem and respected by both his peers and the King of Syria. But it would also seem that by his nature and character, the Lord also esteemed him and thus through him Syria was able to gain great victories as it says, “By him the Lord had given victory to Syria.” Further, it describes him as a mighty man of valor.

And so, what we could say is that Naaman had a great reputation, with a great responsibility, and a great leader of men.

It would seem, therefore, that Naaman had everything that a person would want, including wealth, recognition, honor, and power. “But!” “But!” What a powerful and telling word that is. But, Naaman suffered from one thing, and that is, he was a leper, meaning he had a contagious, incurable skin disease that would eventually cost him his life.

Leprosy is an infection caused by a slow growing bacterium. It affects the nerves, skin, eyes, and the lining of the nose. The nerve damage may result in a lack of ability to feel pain, which can lead to some disfigurement or the loss extremities from repeated injuries or infection through unnoticed wounds.

In ancient times, leprosy instilled fear and avoidance because of the physical disfigurement that would often accompany it. But now, with early diagnosis and treatment, the disease can be cured, and people can continue to work and lead an active life during and after treatment.

And so, seeing that leprosy today is curable, then you’ve probably figured out that leprosy isn’t the disease that humanity can’t cure. So, what am I talking about, which is the $100,000 question, or in my case, the 10¢ question?

So, if it isn’t leprosy, then why did I bring up the story of the leper and Jesus, and then using as our text, the Old Testament story of Naaman? You see, in the Old Testament there are types and shadows, that is, something that symbolizes something else or has its full meaning through something yet to come.

We see this in what Paul describes in his letter to the Colossian Church in Colossians 2:16-17. “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.” (Colossians 2:16-17 NKJV)

And so, this story of Naaman is much more than a story of the miraculous power of God to heal, or of a man’s pride being humbled, or even a man’s journey to be healed. Instead, it is a story, a type, a shadow of something greater, as it was written as an example, that which we can learn a vital lesson from.

Paul said in his first letter to the Corinthian Church. “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” (1 Corinthians 10:11 NKJV)

And so, with this clearly stated, what we can say is that leprosy is a biblical type or shadow of sin.

They Spoil Life

Consider Naaman, he was a great and honorable man, captain of the armies of Syria, a mighty man of valor, and through him Syria won many victories. You could say that Naaman was a remarkable man, someone with great abilities, but then comes this word, “but,” he was a leper.

And this brings us to the first thing we get from our passage, and that is, just as leprosy spoils life, so then does sin.

As leprosy spoils all hope of any normal life, sin attacks our spiritual lives, numbing our spiritual senses and disfiguring our souls, where in a way we begin to lose parts of our spirit.

If this wasn’t the case, then none of us would be here today, in fact, none of us would have grace these doors with our presence. But we did, and we are here, and that’s because we know that there is something wrong, that there is something that is spoiling life.

And this is kind of interesting especially in our day and age with all the advances in knowledge, especially in scientific knowledge, or with the phenomenal strides in medicine and our ability to heal many of the diseases that plagued mankind. And then there are the advances we’ve seen in technology and education. And on top of all that there are all these amenities, that is, all these additions that we’ve added to our lives, like drive through fast food places, kitchen appliances that keep getting better and better, the internet and wi-fi, to name just a few.

Now, outside of these past couple of years with the COVID pandemic, and the rapid rise of inflation, and now this war in the Ukraine, and the rumors of even more and greater wars on the horizon, up to then we could have easily said that humanity never had it so good with all the advances I mentioned above.

“But.” But for sin.

Therefore, I think that I could safely say that our world is a lot like Naaman, but there is something wrong, something like leprosy, but not the physical leprosy, but leprosy of the soul, that is, sin.

Let me say it like this, just when we think we’ve got is all together, the “but” of sin comes in and we cannot get rid of it.

Ever since sin entered the picture back in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, humanity has never been whole. Think about this with me for a moment. Everything in the Garden was perfect, especially in its relationship with God, including humanity. There was nothing lacking, they didn’t run short of anything. There was nothing to disappoint or bring unhappiness, nothing to be depressed about, nothing to bring despair to humanity or for that matter anything else. Nothing was wrong, it was all good, even God said so.

It says that after the sixth day and after everything had been created, it says, “God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31 NKJV)

But for Sin

But sin entered and robbed humanity, that is, you and me, of this wonderful life of full communion with God, that is, it robbed us of wholeness, which is life in complete harmony and unity with God. And so, sin has spoiled for us a fullness of life that can only come through a relationship with God.

And please understand, that no matter how successful humanity is in its endeavors, it will never be perfect as it was in the beginning.

But we have our methods that we use to try to get us there, don’t we? We like to say, “If only I could get this or that then I’ll be all right.” But everything isn’t all right. And please understand I’m not trying to be a pessimist; I’m just being a realist. And it all revolves around that word, “But.” “But” is that proverbial fly in the ointment that makes life stink.

Again, Naaman was a great and honorable man, and because of him the Lord gave Syria great victories over their surrounding neighbors. And he was considered by everyone to be a great man of valor, but he was a leper, which spoiled whatever happiness and whatever feeling of accomplishment he may have had. It ruined everything.

And so, it is with sin. There is nothing positive when it comes to sin. Well, I think I may be wrong about that! There is a positive to sin, and that is, it makes us positively miserable. You see, where there is sin, there is pain and sorrow, and that is why there is so much pain and sorrow in this world, and in our lives.

And while we may blame this or that, this person or that person, for our unhappiness, and for the problems we face in life, the truth is that it is all because of the leprosy of sin. And guess what, we all have it this terrible disease.

The Bible says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8 NKJV)

Now, here’s the positive side of this word “but.” As it goes on to say, “(But), if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NKJV). {We’ll look further into that as we continue.}

Even the Apostle Paul, who we may say was a pretty righteous dude. He said, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” (1 Timothy 1:15 NKJV)

But for now, what this first point is saying, and hopefully I’ve made clear, is that what is spoiling life is this ugly, terrible disease known as sin.

Humanity Has No Cure

And this is what the Bible makes abundantly clear.

“There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God.” (Romans 3:10-11 NKJV)

And then Paul goes on to say, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 2:23 NKJV) Or if I could paraphrase, “All have sinned and fallen short of God holy and righteous standards for life.”

But when it comes to the fact that humanity has no cure, there is a very interesting verse in Psalm 49. Look at what it says.

“None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him. For the redemption of their souls is costly, and it shall cease forever” (Psalm 49:7-8 NKJV)

Now, given Naaman’s position and wealth, he probably visited every doctor and religious leader in the land, not to mention the lands that he had conquered. But then he hears of someone, a prophet, who can heal him living in Israel.

And so, his friend, the king of Syria, wrote a letter to the King of Israel, asking for him to heal Naaman. Now, listen to the king’s response.

“When the king of Israel read the letter, that he tore his clothes and said, ‘Am I God, to kill and make alive, that this man sends a man to me to heal him of his leprosy? Therefore, please consider, and see how he seeks a quarrel with me.’” (2 Kings 5:7 NKJV)

Knowing that there wasn’t any cure for leprosy, the king thought that this was nothing more than a set up to find a reason to go to war.

Ever since life began and sin entered the picture, humanity has been trying to find a cure, trying to find a way to get rid of it, that is sin, much like Naaman who kept trying to find a cure and get rid of his leprosy.

How has the world been trying? Through religion, moral laws, which are moral only in those cultures who have that particular moral code, and the world is even trying through politics and governmental systems.

In fact, to counter what we consider to be the injustices of this world and to make us feel better about our sin, we fight wars, but not against a person or nation, but against what we perceive to be injustice. We have wars on poverty, pornography, racism, gender discrimination, crime, and drugs, to name a few. And there is nothing wrong with them. But have we won them, have we achieved our goal when we entered into them?

Actually, they’ve gotten worse, not better. In other words, we’re losing these wars. And we know it, so we’ve shifted what we war against. Like in the war on poverty, we shifted that war to we now are warring against prosperity. Instead of warring against pornography, we’re saying that it’s okay, it’s rather the people who call it wrong that are in the wrong.

And while I can say more, this is not the focus, and so let me just put a halt to all of this. We’ve missed who the real enemy is. The Bible says,

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

And the other cure that humanity is pushing is Philosophy and Psychology. These are basically humanity’s attempts to understand humanity. And here’s the kicker, both philosophers and psychologist can’t cure it, because they have it themselves. And since they haven’t been able to solve it or cure themselves, why do we think that they can cure us?

I like what Jesus told to the people of that day.

“The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. Therefore, whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders.” (Matthew 23:2-4 NKJV)

Now, if I could condense what we’ve seen so far, I would say that problem lies in humanity’s ignorance.

Let’s go back to our story of Naaman. Naaman was suffering from leprosy, and he couldn’t find a cure, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. He was just ignorant that there was a remedy available. And it wasn’t Elijah whom he went to see to heal him, rather it was God.

Having a relationship with God, is the solution to the sin problem. It is through the Lord that our healing of sin is waiting. But the world is ignorant of it, and that’s because Satan has them focused on everything else but God.

Let us go back to the scripture I brought forth earlier, showing the positive part of the word “but.”

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8 NKJV)

But now look at what Paul goes on to say, “(But), if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NKJV)

The answer and the solution and cure for sin has been there all the time, we just have to make ourselves available to partake of it.

Naaman made himself available when he humbled himself and listened to a little slave girl.

“And the Syrians had gone out on raids, and had brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel. She waited on Naaman’s wife. Then she said to her mistress, ‘If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.’” (2 Kings 5:2-3 NKJV)

It was a little slave girl, not some great philosopher, orator, politician, or religious leader that had the answer to the problem of Naaman’s leprosy. And here is where the good news comes into play. You see, the world looks at greatness, while the Lord uses the humble.

But the world is unaware and ignorant of the only real solution because it is different than what they imagined. Naaman was told to go wash in the Jordan River seven times. Now, how is that going to help? But such a solution is one that is unlooked for and different from what anyone could ever possibly imagine.

You see, the world is looking for the something big, something grand and marvelous, something that is new and beyond.

But the biblical message of salvation is all tied up in what this little servant girl said. She was nobody, unimportant, someone who didn’t matter. But here is the glory of the gospel message. The great are looking for great things from great people, but the answer isn’t found in a palace, a court room, in the halls of government, or in the capital city, like Washington D.C.

It is found in a little country, a strip of land to be precise. It is found in the nation of Israel, a small and insignificant piece of real estate when compared to the empires of the world, and the ruling empire of that time, Rome.

And it is found in the least of all people, the Jews. Of the Jews the Bible says, “The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but because the Lord loves you, and because He would keep the oath.” (Deuteronomy 7:7 NKJV)

And it was in the humblest of places, Bethlehem a small and despise city just outside of Jerusalem. And it wasn’t in a palace that salvation came, but in a stable where cattle live, and in a manger where the cattle fed. This is where salvation is found.

But let’s take this story a little further. Jesus grew up in Galilee, in a town of Nazareth, which had the testimony of that nothing good can ever come from Nazareth. And he ministered there around the Sea of Galilee, not a hot spot for Theological scholars, but among fishing villages with ordinary people, craftsmen, and fishermen. And these were his disciples, not rabbis, politicians, or university professors.

And while the world laughs that such a deliverance could come from Israel and the Jewish people, it was to Israel and the Lord God of the Jewish people that they had to come.

And so, Naaman had to come to Israel and to the God of the Jewish people to be cured, and it is to the God of Israel that we must come to be healed.

But it’s not to the grand temple that was built for God that we must come, but a little and despised hill on the outskirts of the city, Golgotha by name, the hill of the skull where Jesus died upon the cross for the forgiveness of our sins.

And what I love about this little girl’s testimony is that she knew she couldn’t heal leprosy, but she knew who could and she directed Naaman there. We in like manner can’t cure sin, but we know who can, and we need to come to Him and also help direct people to Him as well.

And so, for the disease of sin that keeps us away from God like leprosy that resulted in separation from everything and everybody, it is to Jesus we must come.

In the depths of our disease, we need to go to Jesus, just like that leper who came to Jesus to be healed. We need to go to Jesus, the Son of God, for He is the all-sufficient, all powerful, and the ever-present God who forgives our sins and heals us, and makes us into brand new creations in Him, that which was lost back in the Garden with Adam and Eve can be retrieved.

Therefore, what the world cannot do, and what humanity cannot heal, only Jesus can, as He forgives our sins and heals our relationship with God, bringing us back into harmony and unity with Him.

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