Summary: I have heard many sermons on the Ten Lepers but none on the ceremony of cleansing defined in the Law of Moses! What an amazing ceremony it is and this sermon only touches on a few of the points. What a well of truth is in the OT as it points to Jesus!
Luke 17:11-19 NIV (Have congregation read from their Bibles with you)
“And it happened that while traveling toward Jerusalem, [Jesus] was passing through the region between Samaria and Galilee. And as He was entering into a certain village, ten men met Him - lepers, who stood at a distance.
“And they raised their voices, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ And when He saw them He said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’
“And it happened that as they were going, they were cleansed. But one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice.
“And he fell on his face at [Jesus’] feet, giving thanks to Him. And [the man] was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, ‘Were not ten cleansed? And where are the nine?
“’Was no one found to turn back and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ And [Jesus] said to him, ‘Get up and go your way. Your faith has saved you.’”
So, it is easy to assume that all the ten lepers needed to do was “show themselves to the priest” and they’d get the big thumbs up and move back into their home right away, but not so, my friend!
When Jesus heals a leper in Luke 5 He tells the man not only to go to show the priest but to offer the sacrifices as well.
Luke 5:14 NIV
“Then Jesus ordered him, ‘Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.’”
But, let’s take a look at the sacrifice for the ceremonial cleansing of a person who was healed from leprosy.
Leviticus 14:1-20 NIV (Have congregation read from their Bibles with you)
Leviticus 14:25b NIV
“The priest is to take some of the blood of the guilt offering and put it on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot.”
Leviticus 14:28 NIV
“The priest shall then put some of the oil … on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot, on the place of the blood of the guilt offering.”
When I read this again I was thinking, “This is so strange it almost seems like hocus-pocus or voodoo or something like that!”
What a strange ritual but … we don’t have a hocus-pocus God we have a God of order and meaning.
Leprosy - symbolic of sin
- The healings of lepers in the Bible are not symbolic but they were actual
- One site on the internet called the healing of the ten lepers “a nice
- Sin is like leprosy because it starts small and spreads until it consumes
you and brings death
- In the Bible times there was no healing of leprosy apart from the Lord
What is the meaning of the blood?
- Blood cleanses us from sin
Hebrews 9:22 NIV
“In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”
1 Peter 1:18-20 NIV
“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors …
“But with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.”
This is talking about salvation - realization of our lost condition, sorrow for sin, repentance, belief in Jesus, confession, etc.
What is the meaning of the oil?
In the Old Testament oil was used as representation of the Holy Spirit and His presence upon the one receiving the anointing.
In the New Testament the anointing of oil in its actual function is replaced by the anointing or infilling of the Holy Spirit.
Just as the shedding of blood for sin was done by the priest performing the sacrifice the blood of Jesus for forgiveness of sin is applied directly by Jesus to our spiritual being.
There is no longer a need for a priest to anoint with oil as Jesus is our High Priest and the Holy Spirit anoints with His Holy presence in our innermost being.
Why is the oil applied over the blood?
The blood in the ceremony of the leper represents the forgiveness of sin for salvation and the oil represents the filling of the Holy Spirit.
The filling of the Holy Spirit NEVER precedes the forgiveness brought about by the blood of Jesus. His blood cleanses us from sin and THEN we are filled by the Holy Spirit. This is rightly symbolized by the application of the blood and then the oil being applied over the blood.