Jesus Heals a Leper


TABLETALK DEVOTIONS WITH RC SPROUL

Jesus Heals a Leper
===================
Matthew 8:1–4 “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’” (v. 4).

Today we resume
our study of Matthew in chapter 8. Thus far, the first
evangelist has shown
our Savior to be a new Moses in his gospel. Like Moses,
Jesus was in mortal
danger shortly after His birth (Ex. 1:8–2:10; Matt.
2:16–18). Christ, the new
covenant mediator, delivered God’s word on a
mountain just as Moses received
the Torah (the Law) on Sinai (Ex. 19:20–23:33;
Matt. 5–7). However, Jesus
comes not as Moses’ equal, but as his superior.
Unlike Moses, our Lord
explains the Law by His own authority (7:28–29).
Moreover, Jesus comes down
from the mountain to cleanse His people after
declaring His Father’s will
(8:1–4). Christ is better than Moses, who came
down with commands that could
only pronounce them “unclean” (Ex. 34:29; Lev.
13:1–8).

According to
the Mosaic law, leprosy renders a person unclean, and the leper
who
approaches Jesus in today’s passage is used to living apart from
the
community in isolation or in a leper colony (Lev. 13:45–46). Since lepers
are
outcasts in Jesus’ day, the diseased man acts with audacity when he comes
for
healing, at least in the view of his culture. Yet the leper displays
faith,
not arrogance, when he kneels before the Christ. Convinced of the
Savior’s
power, the man knows that Jesus can make him clean if the Lord is
willing to
exercise His healing touch (Matt. 8:1–2). Truly, the leper’s
recognition that
Christ’s will is determinative is an example of how all are
to come before Him
(6:10).

Jesus could heal the man with His word
alone (8:5–13), but He chooses to touch
the leper (vv. 3–4). This point helps
us interpret this text since Matthew
emphasizes the touch with the
“unnecessary” detail of Christ stretching out
His hand (v. 3). Contact with a
leper should render Jesus ceremonially unclean
(Num. 5:1–4), but He is not
defiled. Instead, His contact purifies the
diseased man (Matt. 8:3–4),
showing Him to be the fulfillment of the Law.
Ceremonial regulations,
including the leprosy laws, show us our need to be
separated from all
pollution, but such separation is ultimately possible only
if men and women
are themselves clean. Jesus’ touch cleanses His people,
lepers or not, and
will make it unnecessary to follow the letter of the ritual
purity laws any
longer.

Coram deo: Living before the face of
God
========================================
Though not all diseases will
be healed before the Lord returns to consummate
His kingdom, we can be sure
that He will cleanse the sins of everyone who
confesses Him as Savior and
follows Him as Lord (1 John 1:8–9). If you feel
unclean this day, know that
Jesus has indeed cleansed you if you love Him and
have turned from your sin,
placing your faith in Him. Pray for His continued
cleansing and look forward
to the day when all creation will be made new.

For further
study:

Numbers 19:20–22

The Bible in a year:

Judges 8–10

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