Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 2 Study # 4
March 25, 2007
14 And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.
15 But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.
16 And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.
1901 ASV Translation:
14 And he charged him to tell no man: but go thy way, and show thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.
15 But so much the more went abroad the report concerning him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed of their infirmities.
16 But he withdrew himself in the deserts, and prayed.
- I. Jesus' Instructions to the Leper, Now Cleansed.
- A. There is an emphatic "He" in the sentence (referring to Jesus).
- B. He instructed the leper to "tell no one".
- 1. This almost certainly had to be a short-term instruction: he could not enter back into the life of the community without telling anyone.
- 2. Jesus apparently wanted him to go to Jerusalem before the news got out.
- C. He instructed the leper to show himself to the priest and to offer the offering of cleansing for leprosy according to the Law of Moses.
- 1. The details of this procedure are given in Leviticus 14.
- 2. He said that His reasoning was that the priest would have a "witness" that would spread to the other priests ("for a witness to them").
- a. Throughout the Bible, "witness" is a critical component of God's dealings with men.
- b. Nowhere in the Bible does "witness" have any inherent power to convert. It makes Truth known and leaves those upon whom the Truth has dawned with "clarity". But, both Scripture and history tell us that "clarity" serves as much to enrage as it does to heal. Indeed, the opening of Jesus' ministry in this record is a presentation of the rage of Nazareth, for which the witness had been potent, on-going, and, ultimately, indisputable.
- 3. He must have wanted the priests "on notice" that a "greater than Moses" was on the scene [Moses was to use the "sign" of leprosy as a witness to the nation of the legitimacy of his identity as the Deliverer -- Exodus 4:6].
- 4. There also had to have been a reason that He wanted this "witness" before His reputation spread too greatly. It is speculation to some degree, but it is highly likely that Jesus wanted the facts before the priests before they had to deal with the issue of His growing popularity. And, it is a small step from that observation to the next: since jealousy was the reason He was crucified (Matthew 27:18), it may well have been that Jesus wanted the priests to know the facts before their own popularity-lusts could kick in gear. Why? Because it is easier to be rational when one is not enmeshed in the emotions of jealousy.
- a. There is an underlying issue for the thesis that Jesus is God's Kinsman/Redeemer: Why was He not embraced by the nation with which He had worked for 2,000 years from Abraham to the present?
- b. There can only be one of three reasons...or, perhaps, an amalgamation of the three. Jesus would only be rejected if the rejectors had already set up a certain 'standard' by which He would be measured. That standard, according to 1 John 2:16, was going to be the lusts of the flesh and eyes and/or the pride of life. Those are the only reasons for rejection. Even now, in our present day, it is apparent that Christ-rejectors do so only because they are "into" various lusts that they do not wish to abandon. All of the so-called "intellectual" reasons that men give for such rejection end up being nothing more than the hubris of "intellectualism" that is, itself, nothing more than the exaltation of human knowledge against omniscience. Never has a proud man been saved in his pride, nor has a humble man been turned away in his humility.
- c. The jealousy that sponsored the rejection is, at root, the lust for the popularity of another. Jesus knew this would be an issue and attempted to head it off. That He was unsuccessful says more about the depth of the depravity of Sin than it does about the ineffectiveness of Jesus. That Jesus even had to come in order to destroy the works of the devil is a revelation of the potency of depravity.