Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Shhh! Don't Tell Nobody!

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.**


Van said...

Thanks for a wonderful Bible lesson!

From the Heart said...

A great post. I think your right that Jesus wanted to lift up His Father rather than Himself.

Spring Fricks said...

My friend, you are truly gifted. That makes so much sense. The man was out of order. God always follows His order and what you said about the prophets of old and what the man should have done had he been healed by God should be the same thing she should have done being healed by Jesus. This is a Eureka (do people use that word anymore?) moment. Awesome. I loved it. Thank you. I knew you would have an awesome lesson for this passage.

And, thank you for mentioning the letters. It made me smile. :-)

Shanita Waters said...

@ Van - Hi. Thanks for stopping by. I spent some time looking through your blog and I loved it. Please come again.

@-Spring thank you so much for your encouragement and conversation. I just love meeting people that LOVE to discuss the Word of God and imagine what it must have been like to be there, how the people must have felt and all of the things we can learn from the stories. It's funny how we can read the same story over and over again and learn something different everytime. I especially enjoyed this because I never gave it much thought as I read through the chapter.

**I mentioned the letters because they are really good and I am sure that all who read it will be blessed.**

@ Alice- thanks for taking part in the dialouge. Isn't it awesome how everything that was recorded about Jesus was recorded to teach us a lesson?

luvmy4sons said...

Very interesting. I have looked at this before. Other conclusions were that Jesus knew that the crowds would seek Him only for His healing abilities...I like your inferences...good stuff! Thanks for your kind comment on my blog. I am doing well...those moments come and go so much more quickly now that I learn to be honest about my ugliness and take it straight to the Lord. And your scripture for me (you probably know) is the theme of my blog! Love it!

Parkay said...

Awesome post lady. I read this before but didn't quite get the same picture. But I must say that I have a better understanding of this story the way you broke it down. You "do" have an awesome gift girlfriend. You hit the mark with clarity and precision. Thank you too for the lesson!

It's time for another book ya think - PEACE

A Free Spirit Butterfly said...

I thank you for the lesson and incredible insight. As you know I'm on a journey to read the entire bible and am so looking forward to my growth through my walk with the Lord. You have so much to offer young Christians like myself and for that I thank God and "google" (smile)

Love, peace and blessings!

SLC said...

Great lesson, and lessons within the lesson. Improper focus has been the downfall of many Ministers and saints.

Thanks again.


Mary Moss said...

You offer tremendous insights to this scripture. This is one that I never really "got" and I so appreciate your explanation of these verses.

Shanita Waters said...

Hello, Good people! After our discussions yesterday, I decided to go home and see what my study bible had to say about this passage. The author said that he/she believes that the reason Jesus told the man to go to see the priest was because although the man was outwardly clean after his healing (lepers were considered "unclean") that he still needed to be spiritually cleaned. Then last night in bible study my (new) pastor was teaching on the law and also mentioned 5:17 and the importance of the law even though we are under grace (yet no one can keep the law). Having said all of this, I believe that there are multiple lessons to be learned in this text.

@ Parkay - Thank you so much! I credit it all to Jesus. I'm glad to hear from you. I haven't seen you in blogger world in a while.

@SLC - you know, it's funny you would mention that. Initially, I was going in the direction of posting about how some things are just between us and God and believed that was the lesson to be learned in the man spreading the news and Jesus not being able to preach in the town openly as He had planned. God is SO awesome. He truly blows my mind daily.

@ FreeSpirit - you have a GREAT journey ahead of you. My church is reading the bible straight through for bible study. They said they started last year and are in Exodus 20 so I'm not too far behind. There is just so much meat in the bible that it's hard to keep up with a schedule. I pray that you will allow the Lord to lead you and that you will digest all that He gives you in His word. I believe most of my posts next week will come from Exodus.

@ Mary - welcome! It's so nice of you to stop by. Thank you for your compliments. It's nothing but the Lord. Do come again.


Hi! I'm Grace said...

Hi Shanita, you are a blessing to us. God is glorified in your blog. God bless you abundantly, sis.

A Free Spirit Butterfly said...

Just stopped by to say Happy Saturday.

When I read Exodus last year it gave me a whole new meaning towards Clouds

I also thought, wow what hard headed, selfish people. I also thought WOW Moses, how can you talk to GOD like that?

As a "new" Christian, I'm looking forward to reading it again. I love reading it with the on-line audio Bible at Gateway. The narrator that was chosen is perfect for it.

prashant said...

I think your right that Jesus wanted to lift up His Father rather than Himself
home based data entry