Wednesday, January 7, 2009
40A man with leprosy[f] came to him and begged him on his knees, "If you are willing, you can make me clean." 41Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" 42Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured. 43Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: 44"See that you don't tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them." 45Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere. (Luke 1:40-45 NIV)
I had to read this passage of text a few times before I could understand #1 why the leprous man blatantly disobeyed the Lord who had just healed him, #2 why Jesus told him to make no mention of the fact that it was He who healed the man and #3 why Jesus was unable to enter the town openly because of the miracle He had performed. Why wouldn’t Jesus want our Father in Heaven to be glorified in His good deeds? I thought to myself that if the townspeople knew that this man whom had been a leper all his life met Jesus one day and became whole that others would surely chose believe on Him too. Doesn’t that sound like the making of an awesome testimony? How many others would have flocked to the Lord seeking Him to perform miracles and meet their needs?
The leprous man went out and spoke openly about that which Jesus told Him to keep in secret no sooner than he was healed. If you’ll notice, Jesus told the man to go to the priest and offer sacrifices that were commanded for his cleansing as a testimony to them. Jesus clearly stated that He did not come to destroy the law or the prophets but to fulfill (Matthew 5:17). I believe that Jesus wanted the man to follow the same protocol that would have always been in order had he been healed of his disease by God and not Jesus (God in the flesh). Jesus did not want the people to think that He was a fad or deviating from what the Lord had already commanded through the prophet, Moses. Thus, the man should have gone to the priest, made the proper sacrifice then this would have been more of a testimony to the people than his running through the streets speaking openly when he was commanded not to tell anyone. The man was out of order. Jesus wouldn’t want anyone bragging about how blessed they were for being out of order. The man should have gone to the priest and made the sacrifice that was required for his healing but he was bragging about how God had blessed Him. It makes me wonder about Christians bragging about financial blessings when they don’t pay tithes. (Ouch!) I have to assume that the leprous man didn’t want God the blesser but rather the blessings that flowed from Him. So he had no regard for the Lord’s word. He had already been healed so He forgot about their quiet time together. This reminds me of the times that I prayed earnestly for God to move and spent less than half the time thanking Him as I did petitioning Him.
Before Jesus came across the leprous man, He had prayed and sought the Father for instruction (verses 35-38) as He always did before He made a move in ministry. Jesus was on His way to preach in the nearby villages. I believe that Jesus wanted the people to hear the Word and believe. I believe that Jesus wanted the people to learn to walk by faith and not by sight. Jesus knew that He would not always physically be there with them so He wanted them to learn to trust Him and to believe that He would always be there for them.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)
Once Jesus healed the man, He was no longer viewed as a preacher or God in the flesh but a healer. Jesus described himself as meek and lowly at heart (Matthew 11:29). Based on what Jesus tells us about his character, I don’t believe that Jesus would have wanted to enter the town as a celebrity. I don’t believe that Jesus would have wanted people to believe in Him for the miracles he could perform but rather for who He was, Who He represented and the salvation He offered. There were others that performed magic and practiced primitive medicine in those days. If the people were to believe in Jesus only because they saw signs and wonders it is possible they would believe in everyone that performed signs and wonders. Jesus came not to draw attention to himself but rather to the Father. Jesus told the disciples that they would do even greater works in His name than He did. I believe that Jesus wanted the people to understand that the results were simply a manifestation of the power that all would have who believed in Him.
**My dear sister and fellow blogger, Spring brought this particular story to my attention and asked me why I thought Jesus commanded the man not to tell anyone that He healed him and asked me to blog about this. I would like to say that I am a huge fan of Spring’s Love Letters To The King and am honored that she wanted to know what I thought the answer to her question was. I am also flattered that she requested that I blog about something. I meditated on this scripture all throughout the day and have shared with all of you what the Lord revealed to me through this passage of text. I would also like to hear why you guys think Jesus told him not to tell anyone. There are no wrong or right answers. For the word of God says let God be true and every man a liar.**
Posted by Shanita Waters at 6:17 AM