READ: Leviticus 13:29-46
Skin Disease Diagnosis (cont.)
So far the chapter has been dealing with the discovery and diagnosis of skin diseases (there is debate as to whether the Hebrew actually refers to leprosy becasue this same ‘disease’ could be found in clothing and houses, it also doesn’t fit a medical description of leprosy symptoms; whatever the passage refers to it must have been a very unpleasant disease). There are a number of different cases thoughout this chapter; in each case there is a general flow of how the problem is to be addressed. 1) a preliminary statment of the symptoms; 2) an inspection by the priests; 3) the specific symptoms on which the priest would base his diagnosis; 4) the priest’s diagnosis and treatment.
If a person had (after a second and possibly a third visit) been diagnosed as unclean then verses 45-46 explain the actions that were to follow. Firstly the infected person was to ruffle his hair, tear his clothes, cover his lip, and walk around crying ‘Unclean! Unclean!’. Secondly, if that wasn’t humbling and humiliating enough, the infected individual would have to live outside the camp/city. These people were as good as dead to the rest of the world, they were cut off from the general life and society of the nation. Their unclean state mean that they could not participate in the rituals and customs of the nation (including the sacrifices) becasue they could not approach the temple; even if they could make it to the temple they couldn’t sacrifice the lamb or bread becasue even if they just touched the animal it became unclean.
Imagine the life of such people. Imagine a day just outside a small village. Ten lepers stand a distance off the road as a crowd of people walk past, a crowd that includes the now famous Jesus. “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us,” the lepers called to Jesus. Jesus turned aside and instructed them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” Showing themselves to the priests was as we have just read the step they were to take to see if they could be cleansed and considered clean once again. As they found their way to the priests the story says that they were cleansed of their disease. One man came back to Jesus (a Samaritain nonetheless). He praised God with a loud voice, fell at Jesus’ feat and thanked Him. “Where are the other nine?” Jesus asked, “Where there not ten men who were cleansed? Is this the only man who turns back to give praise to God?” And you have got to love the words with which Jesus parted. “Your faith has made you well!” (could be translated ‘your faith has saved you’).
I don’t think we can begin to imagine the sheer joy and relief that these men must have experienced; there was nothing that could cure them – there was next to nill hope of them ever being considered as clean and righteous and holy. They all had a sense of faith becasue they called on God to save them and took Him for His word; because of that faith they were healed of their disease but only one of these men came back to thank Jesus – and he did so with loud praises to God.
Stop what you are thinking and give praise to God (loud praise if you wish).
Our sin, Levitical sacrificial religion or not, has made us unholy before God – we have been cast out and separated from Him. But faith, the same faith that spritually saved a leper in Moses day, the same faith that spiritually saved the leper in Jesus’ day (Luke 17) has aslo given you spiritual cleansing and healing. Spend a moment to thank Jesus and glorify God – He deserves every bit of it!
P.S. Sorry this was posted so late in the day.