Jesus Sits in Our Stigma

In an often overlooked statement, we find Jesus hanging out at “Simon the leper’s” house. This isn’t explained further so we’re left trying to figure out the scenario. In our time we call Hansens disease “leprosy,” but in ancient times the term leprosy was applicable to many skin diseases. Regardless of what kind of leprosy Simon had, he must have been fairly ostracized to have gained the title, “Simon the leper.”

Perhaps Jesus had healed him since (A) he was in the business of doing such things and (B) Simon was living in a house instead of quarantined somewhere, as was the standard for ancient lepers. Or maybe he was a former leper since some ancient skin diseases that fell under the title “leprosy” were curable. Or maybe he was still a leper and Jesus just didn’t care.

Whatever the case, some titles just don’t go away. Maybe his description held on longer than his sickness. But though his stigma lived on and likely added some difficulty to his societal interactions, there was Jesus, reclining at his table.

And so he reclines with us, regardless of our stigma, sickness, conditions, labels, ostracism, gossip, past, or present.

*This devotional was created out of the themes of Matthew 26:1-16 found in today’s reading at

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