Text: Mark 1 "Because it is written, 'Be holy, for I am holy." 1 Peter 1:16
"Because it is written, 'Be holy, for I am holy." 1 Peter 1:16
FOCUS ON BEING CLEAN
What would matter most to a leper? One would imagine that the most important thing would be the healing part. However, we are given a different insight and perspective in the following text.
“As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him,
and he was cleansed.”
1. Healed from leprosy
There was no denying the mighty power that Jesus exhibited.
a) The power of the spoken word
The instant Jesus spoke a word, at that very moment, the leper was healed!
b) The focus on the subject of being clean
Why was this emphasized? Much of it has to do with the Levitical laws. Even if the leper has been healed, he would not be able to re-enter Israel until he has been pronounced clean by the local priests.
UNDERSTANDING THE LEVITICAL LAWS
Jesus showed great knowledge and respect for the Levitical laws. Thus He spoke to the leper.
“Go your way, show yourself to the priest,
and offer for your cleansing those things which
Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
1. The many duties of the priest
The Levitical priest had many duties. One of them was with reference to checking out on leprosy patients. The Mosaic Law provided much guidance to help the priest to examine any claim of being cured from leprosy (Cf. Leviticus 14). Jesus did not disregard the role of the priest in any way!
2. The religious aspect
The leper must make appropriate offerings as an act of thanksgiving to God for his healing. The religious part, though largely ceremonial, was not without value.
3. As a testimony
Only after the leper has been examined, pronounced clean, and given appropriate prescribed offerings, would he be able to re-enter Israel. His testimony would essentially be to acknowledge the mercy of God and His grace given.
His re-entering into the main stream of Israel would be special cause for rejoicing and celebration. His family, his friends, indeed the whole community would have special reason to rejoice! God was in their midst- Emmanuel!