Matthew 8: 2-4. “And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, if Thou will, Thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth His hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.”
Jesus showed Himself to be Jehovah, the King, when He healed. Jehovah alone could show Himself like this in mercy, healing and restoring. Later, in chapter 12, Jesus says, “If Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?” He said this in response to the Pharisees’ accusation that He healed by the power of Satan.
His healing power was seen, in the Old Testament (Isaiah 35) in connection with the kingdom. But the King and the kingdom are rejected, and the kingdom is postponed, and the nations wait with a groaning creation for the glorious fulfilment of this chapter in Isaiah. Surely this old world is groaning today under the load of our sin and the evil of the Prince of the Power of the Air!
In that day, the evils of leprosy will no longer exist. It is a horrible disease, disfiguring and defiling its victims as their bodies decompose and waste away. What a picture leprosy is of the results of sin allowed to settle in our hearts and minds, crippling us from the inside out and rotting us away at the core. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I look forward to being free of sin and its corruption!
In this miracle, Israel is represented by the leper. Leprosy is a type, or picture, of sin. There was no cure then, and it is still a dreaded disease. It is curable now, but the stigma and the dread are still there. In Jesus’ day, only Jehovah could heal the awful disease.
The man Jesus healed, we are told in Luke 5:12, was full of leprosy. It seems to have been in its advanced stages. He represents the condition of Israel described in Isaiah 1:5,6. The whole head is sick, the heart faint. From the sole of the foot to the head, it is unsound. It has wounds, bruises and putrid sores, not treated or bandaged. It’s a terrible picture, for sure. Worse, because of the disease, a leper was outcast and wandered from place to place, seeking shelter and finding only greater misery.
When the leper saw Jesus, he fell before Him and worshipped Him, acknowledging His power alone to heal the leprosy if He chose to do so. Jesus reached out, touched him, and spoke: “I will. Be thou clean.”
And the leper was clean! He was whole, completely healed, skin as fresh as a baby’s! No sign of the disease remained. Jesus would do the same for Israel if only they asked. He showed Himself here as Jehovah-Rophe, the Lord Who heals.
Jesus sent the cleansed leper to the priest and told him to perform the offering (gift) that Moses had ordained, fulfilling the Law that Jesus had not yet fulfilled Himself. He warned the leper to tell no other person, because the priest was the only one who had the authority to pronounce the leper to be cleansed and thereby allow him back into the community.
Now, think for a moment with me. What if you had been that priest, and a known leper in the advanced stages of the disease came to you, showing you that he was healed, cleansed, and whole. Would you have looked, pronounced him clean, sent him away and simply gone back to your work? Wouldn’t you have a million questions? How, who, when, what, where?? Wouldn’t you have run out to see the One Who had done the miracle? Wouldn’t you have called to everyone, “Come and see the Man Who healed the leper! This is a miracle!”
No such thing is recorded. We don’t know what the priest may have said or done in private, but he certainly is not recorded as having even so much as asked the leper how this had come to be.
So, are we any different today when we see God working among us? When a soul is saved from endless torment, when a marriage is healed, when a child survives a dreaded cancer? Or when you missed being in a serious accident by no more than a whisper? Or the money is just always there when you need it?
We can’t point our fingers at the apparently unimpressed priest without having three other fingers pointing back at ourselves. We see miracles every day, but we fail to give the credit to God. We are without excuse.