Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Cleansing Humanity

"While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean” (Luke 5:12).

How many of us have made promises to ourselves to read through the whole Bible, only to get bogged down in Leviticus and give up? It is in Leviticus 13 and 14 that we find the laws for leprosy. Leprosy in the Bible is not the same thing as modern leprosy, but it was still a horrible disease. Lepers were to remove themselves from ordinary society, and could not return to normal life until their leprosy had disappeared and they had been ceremonially cleansed.

One of the first miracles Jesus did was to cleanse a leper. In a sense, the leper stood for every man, for all of us are spiritual lepers in God’s sight, and none of us is acceptable in His society unless we are cleansed. Luke the physician tells us that this man was “covered” with leprosy. He had a severe case. He had suffered for a long time as an outcast, but when he saw Jesus, he had hopes that he could be restored.

Notice this man’s faith. He does not say, “If you are able,” but, “If you are willing.” He knew that Jesus was powerful enough to cure him. The only question was whether or not Jesus was willing to do so. Restoring leprous humanity was what Jesus had come to do, and so he “reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ ” (Luke 5:13).

Then Jesus commanded him not to tell anyone, again working to conceal His Messianic mission. Jesus did tell him, however, to obey the commands of Leviticus 14 and “go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them” (v. 14). Jesus did want the priests to know about Him, and about His power and authority. As a result, “the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses” (v. 15).

Take some time today to carefully read Leviticus 13 and 14. Much will be obscure, but as you read and meditate, ask how chapter 13 pictures the estate of fallen humanity, and ask what chapter 14 shows about the saving work of Christ. Then imitate the leper, and beseech the Lord to grant you renewed cleansing, so that you can serve Him in the world.