Summary: In cleansing the leper Jesus not only took his sin but took away its effect on the leper’s life.
FREEDOM FROM THE EFFECTS OF SIN
Numbers 5:1-4 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: ¡§Command the children of Israel that they put out of the camp every leper, everyone who has a discharge, and whoever becomes defiled by a corpse. ¡§You shall put out both male and female; you shall put them outside the camp that they may not defile their camps in the midst of which I dwell.¡¨ And the children of Israel did so, and put them outside the camp; as the LORD spoke to Moses, so the children of Israel did.
Leviticus 13:1-8 And the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying: ¡§When a man has on the skin of his body a swelling, a scab, or a bright spot, and it becomes on the skin of his body like a leprous sore, then he shall be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons the priests. ¡§The priest shall examine the sore on the skin of the body; and if the hair on the sore has turned white, and the sore appears to be deeper than the skin of his body, it is a leprous sore. Then the priest shall examine him, and pronounce him unclean. ¡§But if the bright spot is white on the skin of his body, and does not appear to be deeper than the skin, and its hair has not turned white, then the priest shall isolate the one who has the sore seven days. ¡§And the priest shall examine him on the seventh day; and indeed if the sore appears to be as it was, and the sore has not spread on the skin, then the priest shall isolate him another seven days. ¡§Then the priest shall examine him again on the seventh day; and indeed if the sore has faded, and the sore has not spread on the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him clean; it is only a scab, and he shall wash his clothes and be clean. ¡§But if the scab should at all spread over the skin, after he has been seen by the priest for his cleansing, he shall be seen by the priest again. ¡§And if the priest sees that the scab has indeed spread on the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean. It is leprosy.
Leviticus 13:45-46 ¡§Now the leper on whom the sore is, his clothes shall be torn and his head bare; and he shall cover his mustache, and cry, ¡¥Unclean! Unclean!¡¦ ¡§He shall be unclean. All the days he has the sore he shall be unclean. He is unclean, and he shall dwell alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.
Matthew 8:1-4 When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, ¡§Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.¡¨ Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, ¡§I am willing; be cleansed.¡¨ Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, ¡§See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.¡¨
Leprosy - To understand what leprosy is all about, we need to go back to Lev 13 and 14 - God told Israel that if anyone had a swelling or an eruption or a spot on his skin, he had to go to the priest and show the spot to that priest - that implies that the pronouncement of uncleanness had a religious significance, not a medical one ¡V sin ¡V leprosy caused the Leper to live in isolation - wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose - the torn clothes and unkempt hair were signs of mourning, grieving - the leper had to grieve because there was death in his body; though still alive he was on his way to the grave - he had to sing his own funeral dirge and so make clear by his appearance to one and all that the wages of sin is death - the leper was instructed to "dwell alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp" - Why the isolation? - God had decreed that uncleanness was contagious; whoever touched an unclean person or thing was in turn also unclean - Hence uncleanness had to be removed from the people - there¡¦s a second reason - the leper was sent out of the camp, out of the presence of God - he was in effect cut off from the communion of the saints and God - because God wished to impress upon Israel just how terrible were the results of sinfulness - that implied rejection by God ¡V hell - the presence of leprosy taught that the sinner was hopelessly lost in sin and misery.