0

After healing a man afflicted with leprosy Christ bids him to appear before the priests and offer sacrifices prescribed by the law

Mark 1:40-43 NIV

40 A man with leprosy[h] came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”

41 Jesus was indignant.[i] He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” 42 Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.

43 Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: 44 “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.

Again in another encounter with men also afflicted with leprosy Christ after healing them bids that they appear before the priest

Luke 17:11-14 NIV

11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[b] met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

But when Christ heals a woman afflicted by an issue of blood after healing her Christ does not instruct her to appear before the priest

Luke 8:47 NIV

47 Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. 48 Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

But according to the law, the woman with the issue of blood should also have appeared before the priest like the men he had healed of leprosy

Leviticus 15:28-29 NIV

28 “‘When she is cleansed from her discharge, she must count off seven days, and after that she will be ceremonially clean. 29 On the eighth day she must take two doves or two young pigeons and bring them to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting

Why did Christ not bid the woman to appear before the priest?

6

Leprosy was a serious disease which caused the one who had it to be sent out from among the people to live isolated, away from anyone else. This was not the case for having an issue of blood.

Furthermore, priests were not called upon in the Levitical system to examine women who had an issue of blood. Had such been the case, every woman in Israel might have had to appear before the priest monthly, overwhelming the priesthood with such unnecessary duties.

Leprosy, once diagnosed by the priests, could only be pronounced clean by the priests (in the rare case that it had been cured).

Getting a Diagnosis of Leprosy

When a man shall have in the skin of his flesh a rising, a scab, or bright spot, and it be in the skin of his flesh like the plague of leprosy; then he shall be brought unto Aaron the priest, or unto one of his sons the priests: And the priest shall look on the plague in the skin of the flesh: and when the hair in the plague is turned white, and the plague in sight be deeper than the skin of his flesh, it is a plague of leprosy: and the priest shall look on him, and pronounce him unclean. (Leviticus 13:2-3, KJV)

Being Pronounced Healed of Leprosy

And the priest shall go forth out of the camp; and the priest shall look, and, behold, if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper; . . . . And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field. (Leviticus 14:3,7, KJV)

Both the diagnosis and the pronouncement of healing legally involved the priesthood. Jesus, who followed the law, instructed those whom he had healed to obey this law, not only for the sake of the law itself, but also for a witness against the priests--who knew very well that it was unusual to be healed of leprosy. This would give them evidence of Christ's Messiahship.

But if the lepers imprudently noised it about that they had been healed by Jesus, and the news had reached the priests' ears before they arrived to be pronounced clean, the prejudiced priests would have been prepared to resist, and might not have offered the correct diagnosis in their attempt to undermine Christ's influence. This is why Jesus gave such strict orders that they tell no one, but go directly to the priest with the offering that the law required.

The Law for an Issue of Blood

And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even. . . . And if a woman have an issue of her blood many days out of the time of her separation, or if it run beyond the time of her separation; all the days of the issue of her uncleanness shall be as the days of her separation: she shall be unclean. (Leviticus 15:19,25, KJV)

While a woman was "unclean" during her issue of blood, she was not required by this to visit the priest. The only time when a woman would bring an offering to the temple following an issue of blood was after the birth of a child: at 40 days after a son, and 80 days after a daughter.

Following a Birth

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean. (Leviticus 12:2, KJV)

And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. (Leviticus 12:3, KJV)

And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled. (Leviticus 12:4, KJV)

But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying threescore and six days. (Leviticus 12:5, KJV)

And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest: (Leviticus 12:6, KJV)

Who shall offer it before the LORD, and make an atonement for her; and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood. This is the law for her that hath born a male or a female. (Leviticus 12:7, KJV)

As can be seen, the law for leprosy was more particular than the general laws of uncleanness, such as a woman's issue of blood. Leprosy required the intervention of the priests, whereas other uncleannesses generally did not.

5
  • What is interesting about the law in Lev. 14 is that it contained a symbol of witness in the offering of the two birds(one freed), that the leper was healed, before he could enter the camp. In other words the ordinance pertaining to the leper had this theme of witness in it, and did not pertain therefore to altar offerings/sacrifices only, which is probably why Jesus said those things to those individuals.
    – user21676
    Aug 24 at 8:01
  • @Polyhat what about Leviticus 15:25-30 Aug 24 at 8:46
  • 1
    @collenndhlovu Giving an offering versus asking for a diagnosis AND giving an offering are two different things. Furthermore, notice that this offering is not to be given right away, but seven days after the issue is gone (on the eighth day). Women were never inspected by the priests for issues of blood!
    – Polyhat
    Aug 24 at 9:10
  • 1
    Good answer. +1
    – alb
    Aug 24 at 23:28
  • Good answer. +1.
    – Dottard
    Aug 25 at 9:20
0

I believe that Polyhat did a fine job explaining that the two malady’s (leprosy and issue of blood) were to be treated differently per Old Testament (OT) instructions and that Jesus just followed what was proscribed in the OT in the case of leprosy where the specific instruction was for the healed leper was to show themselves to the priest to be declared healed and clean.

In addition, I believe that Jesus was sending a specific message to the priests in the case of the people healed of leprosy.

When someone would have been healed of leprosy, the specific OT instructions states:

Leviticus 14:11 (KJV)

“...present the man that is to be made clean and those things, before the Lord, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation

Since there was no tabernacle in Jesus’ time, there would have been no way for the priest to present the person at the door of the congregation. So the priest would find himself in an impossible situation unable to follow the OT instructions to declare someone physically healed and spiritual clean.

This is a great metaphor for New Testament salvation by grace/faith and not by any external work of our own. It is impossible to become spiritually clean and acceptable to God without recognizing and acknowledging the Healer.

I think Jesus wanted to send that exact message to the priests of His day.

1
  • However the semantic properties and function of the Mosaic tabernacle were transferred to the temple of Solomon(e.g. Psalms 76:1-2), the ark being moved there.
    – user21676
    Aug 25 at 2:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.