“Go, show yourselves to the priests.”– Luke 17:14
While Jesus walked the earth, leprosy was one of the most dreaded diseases in the world. When contracted, it would distort a person’s appearance and left a person feeling hopeless. There was no known cure, and the Old Testament provides no reference to the proper treatment method. In 2 Kings 5:7, the king said, “Am I God, to kill and make alive, that this man sends a man to me to heal him of his leprosy?” His comments implied that leprosy could only be healed by a miracle of God.
The lepers Jesus healed were commanded to go and show themselves to the priests. For what purpose? They would have to go through the rights of purification and appropriate sacrifices, as outlined in Leviticus fourteen. A ritual gave by God to integrate a person healed of leprosy back into society. In Jesus’ time on earth, this was something the priests never had to employ. “For fifteen hundred years after the law was written,” Ironside writes, “we never read of one solitary Israelite who had been cleansed. The priests must have wondered why that fourteenth chapter of Leviticus was in the Bible. They would naturally say, ‘I have read that chapter over and over but have never had to apply it.’ But when Jesus came, things were different.” Miraculous healing would be a testimony to the priests that Messiah had come!
When His cousin John had doubts about the Lord’s testimony, Jesus said, “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard; that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them” (Luke 7:22). This was the sign of the Messiah given in Isaiah thirty-five. Just as it was confirmed to John, the priests would understand, through the testimony of the changed life of the leper, that Messiah had come.
Leprosy in the Bible is representative of sin. A distorting disease that cannot be cured by human remedies. It is only by a miracle of God through the blood of Jesus Christ, presented to us through the Holy Spirit. As Christians, may our lives be a testimony of what Jesus has done. May we share how God has provided forgiveness of sins.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”– Matthew 5:16