There is no wonder around the world Christians get humiliated. A Christian deserves humiliation and suffering. A sincere act of a Christian attracts the anger of this world, if it is not then we have to examine what is wrong in us.
Jesus continued his ministry after his teaching in synagogue and healing the fever of Peter’s mother-in-law. This time a leper encountered him asking Jesus’ will to make him clean.
In this case, again, Jesus break the law of society, the Law of Moses that a leper must always keep away from the crowd and no one is allowed to touch him. Jesus’ pity ruled over the law to stretch his hand and heal him.
A leper, if he thinks he is cured from leprosy need to present himself to the priests to declare himself clean. A leper must always keep away from the crowd and live in isolation. The leper in the story was not clean and even of thought himself clean he didn’t go to a priest. The leper found something in Jesus that is worth to put his life in risk by appearing in the crowd. As in the time of Naaman (2 Kings: 5) there were many lepers in Israel but not all of them get healed. So the faith of leper made him clean. The cleanliness laws may seem to have been harsh and unfair, but they pointed beyond themselves to the perfect future that God planned. And we should not forget that there was always provision for restoration once the cause of uncleanness was removed.
From the time of Moses to the time of Jesus, God’s holy presence among his people had been represented by first the tabernacle and then the Jerusalem temple. These sanctuaries had been intended to show the possibility of atonement and of answers to prayers. The sanctuaries were also designed to remind people that there were degrees of separation that people must maintain from the holy God. The cleanliness laws were simply part of this reminder. God had not intended either the sanctuaries or the cleanliness laws to be a permanent feature of life among his covenant people.
Instead of excluding the unfit, Jesus had a different way of testifying to the perfection that God desires, by giving foretaste of it, bringing a bit of the future new creation into the present, replacing the unfitness with fitness. In his earthly ministry, Jesus did not overturn the cleanliness laws, but simply overcame their effects. In today’s text, he insisted that the man he healed go to the priests to be declared clean so that he could be restored to religious fellowship in accord with the law of Moses.
It is a tricky balance to love and welcome sinners, but not the sin, but by the help of the Holy Spirit Jesus managed it and, by that same help, so can we. We just have to find confidence in the transforming power we declare in our good news. That’s what faith is all about!
Perhaps there is a point of brokenness or uncleanness in our life, something that holds us back from the wholeness God plans for us. This does not make us different from the people who sit beside us. They too are broken. But that does not mean that we are to fatalistically settle for less than God’s best. We can still ask, seek, and knock for wholeness. Jesus is not afraid to touch our life. His touch makes a vital difference. When he touches, in various ways, cleansing, healing, and restoration follow.
Unfortunately the clergy had another form of leprosy, which never get cured. The scribes continued with their laws and restrictions, tying up heavy burdens and laying them on men’s shoulders, unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. (Mathew 23:4) The choice is ours, to decide which side we are, right or left. (Mathew 25:31).
Jesus was not expecting a reward from the leper, what he asked him is to keep quiet. But he did the other way, he began to talk freely about it and spread the news so that Jesus cant no longer enter the town. The same fate of a leper – the fate to live away from the tent and in isolation- affected Jesus. In fact the doctor took away the fate of the patient. This is the real meaning of Christianity , the real purpose of a Christian on earth.
‘Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed’. Isaiah 53:4
A Christian is to bear others suffering, to pierce for others transgressions.