Advancing the Conversation of Jesus
The Jewish people in the 1st century believed only the expected Messiah would be able to heal a leper. In other words, when you see someone with that ability, this could be the Messiah!
When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” (Matthew 8:1-4)
The new Rabbi isn’t just another teacher making his way around the community. This is a shocking event! NOTE what Jesus says to the leper after he immediately cleansed him. He says, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony.”
Jesus was using a very reliable marketing practice. Every priest had learned how to perform all of the sacrifices that were given in the Mosaic Law. They all had learned the appropriate thing to do to declare a leper genuinely cleansed. But up until this point, no priest had ever performed this ceremonial cleansing, because no leper had been cleansed. Now, if you were the local priest and a leper came to you with his request for ceremonial cleansing, what would you do? Don’t you think you would call the local papers and news agencies? I mean, this is news, big news and you would let everyone one you ever knew know about this unique happening. This was ingenious!
Healing a leper is the first of three miracles the people believed the Messiah would some day perform. Note that Jesus was not bound to perform these miracles. He performed them as an accommodation to the Jewish people and their culture. This is why Jesus is so attractive and irresistible. Jesus is relentless in his efforts to reach out to everyone everywhere! He’ll use every opportunity to touch every person on the planet.
Remember, all Jesus requires is that you be interested. And, in the words of Jesus being interested is having ears to hear and eyes to see. Simply put, this means ears to hear what Jesus says and eyes to see what Jesus does. Once you see what Jesus does and hear what Jesus says, there is only one proper response and that is to practice what you hear and see in your own life—to be like Jesus wherever you are.