A Testimony to Those We Thought Were Bad Guys
Luke 5:13 And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him.
Luke 5:14 And he charged him to tell no one, but “go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”
Luke 5:15 But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities.
Luke 5:16 But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
My Sunday-school trained, pray-for-boo-boos-child was shocked one day when I said that Jesus loved the Pharisees. “I thought they were the bad guys?”
Nothing reveals your theology like the people you’re teaching, huh?
After a little explanation and some mind-blown looks, we got him back on track that Jesus loved the Pharisees too.
This passage is some proof of that.
[It’s one of my favorite (ok, seriously, maybe my MOST favorite) untold but hinted at stories of the whole bible.]
If you were a Levite priest, you were trained in all of the ins and outs of the Law of Moses and the thousands upon thousands of additional laws added in Babylon. You knew how to sacrifice birds, sheep, cows, and even grain and oil. You knew how to cleanse a house from mildew (tear it down) and which knots you were allowed to tie on the fourth Sabbath of the month that also fell on Yom Kippur during a leap year.
But there is one thing that there is no record of ever happening. Because it never happened, the Rabbis began to teach that it would only happen when the Messiah came. There were two of these that we’ll cover sometime.
One was healing a man born blind and the other was healing a Jewish man of leprosy.
So imagine, all of your life you’ve trained to do the ceremonial cleansing of Leviticus 15, but nobody has ever done it. When you get mad at learning it, like a freshman that doesn’t see why she has to learn Algebra, your Rabbi says, “Someday, the Messiah will come, and you’ll have to know how to do this cleansing.”
So when the man comes up to Jesus, falls on his knees and says “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean,” he is seeking to be made clean, but Jesus is making him an evangelist to the tribe of Levi.
When that man stood up healed, he was God’s answer to years of Rabbis’ teaching about the Messiah. Jesus wanted to reach them too, so He spoke their language. The dude that was on watch in the Leper Cleansing Room that day would have no idea of the report he’d be giving to his boss later that week. (It was a separate room of the temple so that unclean people with leprosy could come in there. Once 8 days passed and they were clean, they would enter the temple through that entrance WHICH NO ONE HAD EVER USED BEFORE!)
Ok enough of the CAPS.
Jesus sent this man to be a sign to the Levitical priests that the Messiah had shown up. He cared for this man personally, but He’s too great a God to just care about us one at a time.
That guy was a good example that we’re all in this together and one person’s healing is even better when it’s a testimony to others.