1 When Jesus came down from the mountain, large crowds followed Him. 2 And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” 3 Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4 And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go, show yourself to the priest and present the offering that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
After Jesus finished teaching about the Kingdom of Heaven, He began showing what it meant to live in the Kingdom. As we read this passage, we notice that there are actually 2 people in this scene living in God’s Kingdom: Jesus and the leper. Jesus was evidently living in the Kingdom because of His healing power but the leper was too as a result of his acknowledgement of Jesus’ ability to heal him. This was not something that Jesus had done before. He just descended the mountain and had grown quite a following and this sick man, a man whom society was supposed to avoid, had the courage to approach Jesus and state the truth, “You can heal me if you want to.” It was even counter cultural to touch the man, as touching a leper would also make you ceremonially unclean and unfit for God’s presence. Even though there was a process for handling lepers and their cleansing, there wasn’t a cure for leprosy. This little blurb wasn’t about a common cold; this was a great miracle that dumbfounded the priests when it happened.
“Indeed I can and I will,” stated Jesus. But why didn’t Jesus want the leper to tell anyone how he was healed? In reading Leviticus 14, we can see the ceremonial cleansing ritual that the priests were to observe for a person cured of leprosy. After the physical healing is confirmed, the person is then spiritually cleansed and atoned before God as a way of honor and thanks. God receives the glory, not the person who was healed nor the person who healed them. We will see Jesus making a practice of this, avoiding credit for God’s work through Him. We too must be careful not to fall into the human mentality of accepting praise for what God does through us.
If we are born again, we have the same Spirit living inside of us that healed this leper. We are called to spread God’s Kingdom through words and works combined. Why aren’t we doing so? Why aren’t we using this power for God’s glory? Why do we let religious ritual and societal pressures dictate how we live instead of God’s love and mercy? When Jesus said to go tell the priests as a testimony to them, this signified a great statement to them that the Kingdom of God was here. Incurable diseases are now being healed. This needs to continue being a testimony through us.