Let’s read Mark 14:3, “And being in Bethany at THE HOUSE OF SIMON THE LEPER, as He SAT AT THE TABLE, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head” (NKJV). We learn here that Jesus did indeed dine in the house of Simon the leper. We also learn that at least one other person was there who is simply called “a woman.” I believe this “woman” was none other than “Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus.” Why do I believe that? John 12:1-3 supplies the answer: “Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. There THEY MADE HIM A SUPPER; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who SAT AT THE TABLE WITH HIM. Then MARY TOOK A POUND OF VERY COSTLY OIL OF SPIKENARD, AND ANOINTED THE FEET OF JESUS, and wiped the feet with her hair. And the house of was filled with the fragrance of the oil.” When we put these two passages together, we learn that Simon the leper opened up his home and invited these guests to dine with him in honor of Lazarus who had been raised from the dead. What a PRIVILEGE it was for Simon to do this! It was also a BLESSING, for he was not only able to see Lazarus (who must have been the talk of the town after his miraculous resurrection), but he was also able to see Mary honor the Lord Jesus by anointing His head and His feet with costly oil in view of His impending death and burial. Verse 7 confirms the truth of why Mary did this: “But Jesus said, ‘Let her alone; SHE HAS KEPT THIS FOR THE DAY OF MY BURIAL.”

You may be thinking, “You are dodging my question, for I want to know how Simon the leper could own a house AND then invite people over for a supper when lepers were cut off from others because of their contagious disease?” You are certainly right in saying that “lepers were always ostracized by the Jews” for we read in Leviticus 13:45-46, “Now the leper…shall be unclean…and he shall dwell alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.” This was clear to all pious Jews and thus no one would dare to associate with a known leper. Yet we read that Jesus and others (who were all pious Jews) not only visited “Simon the leper” in his home (and NOT in a dwelling “outside the camp”), but they had a meal with him. How can this be? There is only one solution to this enigma. In a word, SIMON HAD BEEN HEALED! We don’t when he was healed, but there is no way he would have been allowed to own a house in Bethany among his fellow-Jews if he was still a leper. Nor would any godly Jews dare to enter his home and dine with him if he was still an “unclean leper.” They would have been defiled had they done so. The obvious conclusion is “Simon had been healed from his dreadful disease.”

Of course, this begs the question, “If Simon had been healed, why is he called ‘Simon THE LEPER?” That is a fair question but I believe it has a simple answer, for in my mind it is actually a TESTIMONY TO HIS HEALING. We spoke above of Lazarus “who sat at the table with Him (Jesus)” (John 12:2). We saw that Lazarus was known as the one “who had been dead, whom He (Jesus) had raised from the dead” (John 12:1) and thus he was a LIVING WITNESS TO THE POWER OF RESURRECTION! I’m sure the moment everyone saw Lazarus they were instantly reminded of how HE WAS ONCE DEAD but now HE IS ALIVE! Likewise, I’m sure when people saw Simon they were instantly reminded of how HE WAS ONCE A LEPER but now HE IS HEALED! It quite possible he had been a leper most of his life and was known by many as “Simon the leper.” This title stuck in people’s mind and yet now this title was, as mentioned earlier, a TESTIMONY TO HIS HEALING, for now Simon was made WHOLE.  What grace, that Jesus would heal this poor man, allow him to own a home instead of living in a leper colony, and then was privileged to host the Lord Jesus and others as they came together for a supper to honor Lazarus who was now alive.  (388.1)  (DO)