Summary: to God we're all untouchable. Jesus gave us the example of reaching out and touching those that are outcasts.
Touching the Untouchable
The priest will examine the affected area of the skin. If the hair in the affected area has turned white and the problem appears to be more than skin-deep, it is a serious skin disease, and the priest who examines it must pronounce the person ceremonially unclean.
Those who suffer from a serious skin disease must tear their clothing and leave their hair uncombed.[a] They must cover their mouth and call out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ 46 As long as the serious disease lasts, they will be ceremonially unclean. They must live in isolation in their place outside the camp.
According to Answers in Genesis:
The term leprosy in the Bible includes a variety of infections skin diseases and even mold and mildew on clothing and walls. The Biblical disease leprosy now known as Hansens disease, unlike the modern strain was considered contagious, spread by multiple skin contact and nose excretions. It was a slow moving disease that wasn’t fatal but was degenerative. Leprosy attacks the nervous system over a period of time and those inflicted with the disease lose all feeling in the affected areas. In 3rd world countries some lepers have experienced their fingers eaten by Rats in their sleep.
According to the Jewish Encylopedia:
Priests were in charge of the diagnosis of all diseases. They were not allowed to live in a community that didn’t have a doctor.
Those who were diagnosed with the curable strain of leprosy had to appear before a priest every 7 days. Once considered “clean” or cured they had to offer sacrifices and endure a cleansing process.
Leprosy in the Ancient times was considered a punishment from God for some transgression or sin:
A leper had to shout unclean when entering a place where there were people or anywhere they walked while in a town or city. People kept a distance of 6 feet or over a 100 feet if there was a wind. Lepers were secluded from society even from family and certainly not touched by human hands.
Missionary doctor, Paul Brand, whose work with lepers is legendary, explained leprosy like this: "Hansen's disease" "only numbs the extremities. The destruction of limbs follows solely because the warning system of pain is gone; so the routine of life takes its toll upon lepers by cuts, burns, bruises, sprains, broken bones, all without any consciousness by the leper that it has happened. Consequently, he continues with open, festering wounds, or limps on twisted legs, and gradually becomes disfigured and repulsive to others.”
Mark 1:21-35 – When it comes to touching the untouchable; from Jesus we learn to...
1. Be different with God: Mark 1:22
Jesus didn’t teach like everyone else. He didn’t use his teaching as a status symbol. He quoted scripture not the words of other boring rabbi’s and he didn’t beat up people with his words. Jesus wasn’t focused on traditions or other boring rituals he was preaching about living a radical life that was different than anyone had heard before. People were hungry for his brand of teaching which made the Rabbi’s very jealous and their hearts were hardened against him.