Summary: Apparently only a few people must have noticed that a man with leprosy had been healed that day.
Matthew 8 - Part 2 - DID YOU SEE THAT? SOMEONE JUST GOT HEALED!
I went to a conference in Brisbane once in a large Church lead by Pastor Reg Kliminiok. After he spoke, I went to him to thank him for his message. I finally got my opportunity after others had finished speaking with him. He took an interest in me and asked me about my Church.
Halfway through the conversation one of his conference secretaries came and interrupted our conversation. The young man wanted Pastor Kliminiok to be somewhere in a hurry due to some emergency that had arisen or some meeting that was happening. The Pastor interrupted the flustered secretary and calmly said, "I will be with you in just a moment but I am presently speaking with this man" as he looked at me. I have always remembered that moment when I felt cared for as an individual in a conference where this Pastor was looking after the needs of thousands of people. It was only a small thing but it made an impact on me as a Pastor.
A crowd of people had been waiting to hear Jesus speak. What I like about Jesus is that He cared for this rejected, shunned individual, a social outcast who was probably abandoned by family and friends BEFORE He ministered to the crowd. A person with leprosy was considered completely unclean-physically and spiritually. He could not approach within six feet of any person including family members. According to Leviticus 13:45-46 (NLT) "Those who suffer from a serious skin disease must tear their clothing and leave their hair uncombed. They must cover their mouth and call out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!' As long as the serious disease lasts, they will be ceremonially unclean. They must live in isolation in their place outside the camp." Jesus never caters to the crowd. First He spends time teaching His disciples on the mountain. Then He takes time to heal this man with leprosy. And rather than advertise an amazing miracle in front of an expectant crowd, He asks him to keep it secret. It's all back the front, but it shows me that Jesus cares for the needs of the individual. And He cares for me.
Apparently only a few people must have noticed that a man with leprosy had been healed that day.
Jesus speaks personally to the man. "Jesus said to him, "DON'T TELL ANYONE ABOUT THIS..."
BUT WHY DIDN'T HE WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW OF THIS HEALING? Now that intrigues me.
This man with leprosy obviously came secretly to Jesus. He probably covered himself up to disguise his leprous wounds as he came. He was breaking the law of the day and the Mosaic Law.
Notice Jesus doesn't spend an hour praying for the man. He simply says "I am willing. Be healed!" and he was. First recorded healing of Jesus! No fuss! No frills! No fanfare! No special meeting! He's not trying to drum up a crowd. Jesus wasn't paid to heal the man. And He didn't use the healing as an advertisement. The man came and left without being noticed by the majority of the crowd.
Jesus not only healed him but told him to obey the law and go to see a priest and be declared clean. He says to the man, "... go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed."" And that's it! In one sentence the man is healed and in 3 sentences he has the opportunity to be pronounced clean by the priest! Jesus doesn't mess around!
According to the laws of the day, a man with leprosy wasn't supposed to be anywhere near people. He was supposed to wear black so that he could be identified as one with leprosy, and cry out "Unclean! Unclean!" when anyone approached him. He was considered incurable, the living dead! So maybe Jesus told him not to tell anyone because he didn't want the man to get into trouble for breaking the law. Or maybe He didn't want to cause widespread panic in the crowd. We are not told.
All I know is that I was defiled and unclean when I came to Jesus too. I was polluted with the cancerous results of my sin and dead spiritually. I wasn't an outcast to those around me. My leprosy wasn't seen on the outside. Like the crowd who came to hear Jesus, I needed a Saviour.
Jesus cares for you as an individual. He is willing to heal and to cleanse. He healed and cleansed my life. Like the leper I came and bowed before Him, desperate enough to acknowledge Him as my only hope. I wasn't concerned about what others may think. I simply asked Him if He was willing to cleanse me and restore me and cleanse me of the impediments of my past.