#S4-015: The Cleansing of the Leper: Why God Put It In The Bible for You

Gospel Truths on Healing

The cleansing of a man with leprosy.

In last weeks’ podcast, we looked at some healing words used in the New Testament. We ended the podcast just touching on the healing word Jesus used when ministering to a man who had leprosy. This week, we take a more extensive look at the healing of the leper especially centering on the healing ritual surrounding the leper in Leviticus chapter fourteen. All this on this week’s Light on Life.

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Accept the Challenge

Each week’s podcast contains a call to action. The Word of God will not produce in your life unless you put into operation.
This week’s call is:

The Lord is set against all sickness and disease. That’s why He recorded for us in the Bible what are the ‘open doors’ to disease so we can avoid them.  Ask the Lord to help you see if you have inadvertently opened a door to something that should be kept closed.

Join the Conversation

Each week’s podcast also contains a question designed to encourage testimony. Testimony is vital to a believer’s life. We overcome by it (Rev. 12:11).
This week’s question is:

Question: Now that you understand that the ceremony of the cleansing of the leper is a type showing the connection between sin and sickness, how does this change your perspective of the book of Leviticus?  Please leave a comment in the comments section below.

About Emery

Emery committed his life to the Lord Jesus Christ over 40 years ago and has served as both a full-time pastor and an itinerant minister. Both he and his wife Sharon of 35 years emphasize personal growth and development through the Word of God. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is both the focus and the hallmark of their mission. Read more about them here.

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If you enjoyed the podcast, please rate it on Stitcher Radio and leave a review. If you have a suggestion for a Bible topic you would like to see taught, or if you have a question, please e-mail me at emery@emeryhorvath.com

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Podcast Notes

Mark 1:40–42 (KJV) — 40 And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 41 And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. 42 And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed.

Review

  • Just to review and get us back up to speed.
  • We covered the New Testament healing words, ‘diasozo’, ‘therapeuō’, and ‘iaomai’.
  • Then, we began to look at the word Jesus used in connection with the healing of the leper, the Greek word katharizō.
  • We saw that the word means to cleanse or purify.
  • To the leper in Mark chapter one, Jesus did not use any of the common three common healing words, diasozo’, ‘therapeuō’, and ‘iaomai.
  • He didn’t say to the leper ‘Be healed.’
  • He said ‘Be clean’.
  • Be ‘katharizō’.
  • Jesus consistently uses this ‘cleansing word’ all throughout the gospels.

Matthew 11:5 (KJV) — 5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

  • Notice in Matthew eleven, that the blind, the lame, the dead, and the dead can be healed but lepers are singled out for cleansing.

Matthew 10:8 (ESV) — 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay.

  • Jesus disciples were instructed to cleanse the lepers.
  • Again, another case where the more common words for healing could have been used and weren’t.
  • Do you have a skin disorder of any type?
  • Are you embarrassed or humiliated by its presence in your body?
  • Does it make you feel unclean?
  • Then there’s a special New Testament healing word that Jesus expressly used for your case, the word ‘katharizō’.

Go Show Yourself to the Priest

Mark 1:43–44 (ESV) — 43 And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, 44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”

  • After the leper received cleansing, Jesus sent him to the priest.

Why The Ritual of the Cleansed Leper?

  • There is an extensive healing ritual connected to the cleansing of the leper.
  • It’s found in Leviticus chapter fourteen.
  • The ritual covers fifty-seven verses.
  • It’s way too long to read in a podcast.
  • But it’s length generates a question.
  • And with that thought here’s the question of the day.
  • Jesus healed the leper.
  • The leper was well.
  • He was whole.
  • Why go through a fifty-seven verse ritual?
  • The short answer to that is that God took this particular disease and made a symbolic case study for us on disease and it’s connection to sin.
  • There were many other diseases which brought uncleanness, which made people feel unclean and look unclean but only leprosy was signaled out.
  • Every sickness has a direct connection to sin because if sin had not been introduced into planet earth there would have been no disease and no sickness.
  • So think about the Law, think about having to do fifty-seven verses of stuff for every single condition.
  • What would that have done to the whole Levitical sacrifice system?
  • It would have swamped it.
  • It would have buried it.
  • The priests would not have been able to keep up.
  • So, God chooses one disease, one condition to symbolic show the connection between uncleanness, sin, and disease.
  • The disease was leprosy.

Notable Bible People Who Had Leprosy.

Moses

Exodus 4:6–8 (ESV) — 6 Again, the LORD said to him, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” And he put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous like snow. 7 Then God said, “Put your hand back inside your cloak.” So he put his hand back inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, it was restored like the rest of his flesh. 8 “If they will not believe you,” God said, “or listen to the first sign, they may believe the latter sign.

  • God allowed Moses to temporarily experience leprosy in order to use that as a sign to the Egyptians.

Miriam

Numbers 12:1–15 (ESV) — 1 Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman. 2 And they said, “Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?” And the LORD heard it. 3 Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth. 4 And suddenly the LORD said to Moses and to Aaron and Miriam, “Come out, you three, to the tent of meeting.” And the three of them came out… 10 When the cloud removed from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, like snow. And Aaron turned toward Miriam, and behold, she was leprous. 11 And Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord, do not punish us because we have done foolishly and have sinned. 12 Let her not be as one dead, whose flesh is half eaten away when he comes out of his mother’s womb.” 13 And Moses cried to the LORD, “O God, please heal her—please.” 14 But the LORD said to Moses, “If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be shamed seven days? Let her be shut outside the camp seven days, and after that she may be brought in again.” 15 So Miriam was shut outside the camp seven days, and the people did not set out on the march till Miriam was brought in again.

  • So, get the point here.
  • We talked in a previous podcast on Proverbs 6:12-15 where we saw that certain kinds of wickedness open the door to incurable diseases.
  • Well, here is yet another disease door opener, criticizing the anointed of the Lord.
  • Miriam and Aaron did not agree with Moses ‘interracial’ choice of a wife.
  • He married an Ethiopian woman instead of an Israelite woman.
  • The Lord was very displeased with that and so Miriam opened the door to the incurable disease of leprosy.
  • There are church leaders whom, in the inner recesses of my thinking pattern, I don’t agree with.
  • There are things which have happened in churches which I thought ‘my my how is that right?’
  • But you’ll never any of this openly.
  • You won’t hear me airing it out in a podcast.
  • My job is to teach the Bible, not to straighten everybody out.
  • Your job is to do whatever God called you to do and while you’re doing it leave everybody else alone.
  • Stay with your job description and you’ll do much better in these areas.
  • Now. here’s a question for you.
  • Why was Miriam the only one struck with leprous?
  • What about Aaron?
  • The scripture says both of them got over into pride and arrogance and were critical of Moses.
  • How come the girl got the leprosy and not the guy?
  • Well, you know what?
  • I don’t know the answer to that.
  • Do you?
  • If you know the answer to that please consider posting that answer in the comments section below or e-mail me at emery@emeryhorvath.com because I sure would like to know the answer to that.

Gehazi and Uzziah the King

  • You can follow this same thread with some of these others in the Old Testament who, by their actions opened the door to the disease of leprosy.
  • Two other people come to mind here, Gehazi and King Uzziah.

2 Kings 5:19–27 (ESV) — 19 He said to him, “Go in peace.” But when Naaman had gone from him a short distance, 20 Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, “See, my master has spared this Naaman the Syrian, in not accepting from his hand what he brought. As the LORD lives, I will run after him and get something from him.” 21 So Gehazi followed Naaman. And when Naaman saw someone running after him, he got down from the chariot to meet him and said, “Is all well?” 22 And he said, “All is well. My master has sent me to say, ‘There have just now come to me from the hill country of Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets. Please give them a talent of silver and two changes of clothing.’ ” 23 And Naaman said, “Be pleased to accept two talents.” And he urged him and tied up two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of clothing, and laid them on two of his servants. And they carried them before Gehazi. 24 And when he came to the hill, he took them from their hand and put them in the house, and he sent the men away, and they departed. 25 He went in and stood before his master, and Elisha said to him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” And he said, “Your servant went nowhere.” 26 But he said to him, “Did not my heart go when the man turned from his chariot to meet you? Was it a time to accept money and garments, olive orchards and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male servants and female servants? 27 Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and to your descendants forever.” So he went out from his presence a leper, like snow.

  • Now, you know that sickness is from the enemy just be looking at this passage.
  • Leprosy comes from a bacteria.
  • That bacteria is slow growing, taking anywhere from six months to years to develop inside a person before you ever have an outward skin manifestation.
  • When Gehazi got over into greed and got over into merchandising the anointing, trying to personally profit from God’s power, that opened the door to full-blown leprosy.
  • There was no incubation period.
  • Bypass the incubation period.
  • Forget about it and go directly to the jail of leprosy.
  • You have to keep these doors closed.
  • Look at Uzziah.

2 Chronicles 26:16–21 (ESV) — 16 But when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction. For he was unfaithful to the LORD his God and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense. 17 But Azariah the priest went in after him, with eighty priests of the LORD who were men of valor, 18 and they withstood King Uzziah and said to him, “It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron, who are consecrated to burn incense. Go out of the sanctuary, for you have done wrong, and it will bring you no honor from the LORD God.” 19 Then Uzziah was angry. Now he had a censer in his hand to burn incense, and when he became angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead in the presence of the priests in the house of the LORD, by the altar of incense. 20 And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and behold, he was leprous in his forehead! And they rushed him out quickly, and he himself hurried to go out, because the LORD had struck him. 21 And King Uzziah was a leper to the day of his death, and being a leper lived in a separate house, for he was excluded from the house of the LORD. And Jotham his son was over the king’s household, governing the people of the land.

  • Uzziah got over into pride and his pride led to step into a ministry office that God had not called him to.
  • There are three offices in the Old Testament who carried the anointing upon their lives; prophets, priests, and kings.
  • Uzziah was called to be a King.
  • ‘He was not called to be a priest.
  • Because of his pride, he tried to reach out and grab an office for himself.
  • When he did, he opened up the door to an incurable condition.
  • The Bible says he was a leper unto the day of his death.

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