"When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. 2 And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean." 3 And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, "I will; be clean." And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4 And Jesus said to him, "See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to them."
Jesus' teaching is good news to sinful people. Just as we are so very thankful when a physician accurately diagnoses our illness and recommends the cure, so we are very thankful to have Jesus diagnose our sin and provide the cure. Jesus said in Matthew 9:12-13 that just as those who are ill need a physician, so those who are sinners need Him to diagnose and provide the cure for their sin.
Just as a good doctor has a burgeoning practice, so Jesus drew crowds that followed Him and individuals that sought His help.
A leper sought out Jesus to make him clean. Leprosy is a contagious skin disease that was diagnosed by the priests according to the Old Testament law (see Leviticus 13-14). The person with leprosy needed to be separated from family, friends and all society to prevent the spread of it. The person had to call out, "Unclean! Unclean!" when near people to warn them to stay away. The leper sought out the Great Physician to be made clean and restored to all his social relationships with family, friends and society. Jesus was willing and made the leper clean, doing what no man could do.
Jesus instructed the man cleansed of leprosy to tell no one, but to go to a priest and follow the teaching of Leviticus chapter 14, and offer the sacrifices commanded in the Law of Moses. The offerings are a sin offering and a burnt offering. The sin offering is for the forgiveness of sin and the burnt offering is to commit the person to wholehearted doing of God's will. Jesus desired the priests to know first that God (Jesus) had healed the man of leprosy and sin and validate the cleansing.
We all have a sin problem that can keep us from right relationships with our family, friends and social network. We need to go to Jesus, the Great Physician. He diagnoses our sin and provides the cure. The cure is stated in Mark 1:15, "Repent and believe the gospel."
Repent means to acknowledge our way of thinking about who we are and what we do and admit we have a sin problem. When we repent, we admit our sin cuts us off from God and people. We turn away from sin and turn to Jesus by believing the gospel.
Gospel means good news. The good news is that Jesus died on the cross for our sin, rose again from the dead on the third day and is Lord of all. When we believe the good news, we receive forgiveness of sins and the power to live a new life free from slavery to sin. Our relationship with God is restored and we can now live in right relationship with the people around us as far as it depends on us.
When we are made clean by Jesus, we acknowledge He was our sin offering and we offer ourselves as a living sacrifice, that is, we begin to live according to His will. We also offer sacrifices of praise, doing good and sharing with those in need according to what we have (see Romans 12:1; Hebrews 13:15-16). We learn God's will and the resources we have to be and do it by reading and learning the Bible.
Questions for reflection: