Levitical Leper Laws- Luke 5

 

Jesus was a sneaky fellow. Have you ever told your child to keep a secret? Don't believe me? How many body parts have you lost from leprosy? Who would you tell if your arm grew back and your big toe felt its weight again? I don't know the degree of his disease, but he was cut off from Israel. Being cut off doesn't seem like much but imagine if pastor Mark made you sit outside in the rain during his sermon. 

Jesus knew what he was doing. He explicitly tells the leper to go to the temple and offer the sacrifice prescribed by Moses. He also tells him to shut his mouth, which ironically he might be missing if he didn't meet Jesus. My wife thinks Jesus knew about reverse psychology.

During my years of Bible study, I've come to believe that every word in scripture is there by design, and everything unsaid is intentional. Let me demonstrate. The Bible records the leper went and told everyone. However, many conclude he forgot to visit the temple. The story only speaks of a newly healed blabbermouth, not about his timely visit to the priest. The silence is deafening. 

Since the sect of Pharisees was the self-appointed inquisitor of the temple and therefore the arbiter of the Torah, this is a setup.  The Pharisees could care less about another itinerant preacher claiming to be the Messiah. But this is different. Not only is a leper healed but cleansed. Being cleansed meant he could enter the temple. I laugh when I think about the poor priest. The man who healed the leper broke the Torah.

Since the Pharisees appointed themselves fancy positions, how long before they knew about the miracle? The Talmud, a collection of commentaries, includes a story about how the Messiah would be among the lepers. The Pharisees who heard about the miracle understood what Jesus was telling them. 

And consider this, how many times had a leper been healed, entered the temple had the priest pronounce him clean? Surely Elisha had not returned. But standing, yes standing, in the temple, was a leper. The understood the significance. I bet he opened Leviticus to remember how to do this job. But if this is true, the entire chapter of levitical leper laws was written to identify the Messiah of Israel. 

“Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”