A Year in the New Testament
“This fulfilled the Word of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah, who said, “He took our sickness and removed our diseases.” Matthew 8:17
(Day 8) The next section of Matthew starts with some shocking requests.
- If you are willing, heal me!
- Heal my young servant!
- An unspoken request for a high fever.
- Heal the demon possessed men and women brought to Him by desperate families
Where did anyone get the idea that He could do this? One thing to keep in mind is that Matthew is written as a sort of handbook for disciples. Different sections focus on different concepts. More importantly, Jewish people knew their scriptures and by faith, expected Messiah to fulfill His word. How about you? Faith is “standing on” or believing the Word, believing that God is who He says he is. Pray for understanding as you read chapter 8 from your Bible
Matthew 8:1-4 The Leprosy Instructions Class is over, Yshua-Jesus comes down from the mountain with a multitude following Him, to encounter a multitude before Him. From that crush of humanity, Matthew chooses a leper as the first miraculous sign in his gospel. I think we have missed his point. I humbly want to testify of what I have learned.
We have been taught that this is about the Lord’s touch, His compassion, and even about the disobedience of the leper. None of these are wrong, but none explain the significance of Matthew’s choice.
Y’shua cleansed the man. He does not warn him to go and sin no more. He tells him to, “Go show himself to the priest (The man who already had the sad job of pronouncing him leprous in the first place) and present the offering Moses commanded, for a testimony to them.” Matthew 8:4
On the mountain, Y’shua said, “I have not come to destroy the Torah (Law) but to fulfill.” Matthew 5:17
The man had heard Him say, “Ask, and it shall be given to you…” Matthew 7:7
He received his cleansing, and the instruction to present the offering Moses had commanded. Here is an odd little fact. From the days of Moses to that moment, no one had ever brought that offering to the priest, because no one except Naamon from Syria (Who, as a gentle could not go to the priest) had EVER been healed of leprosy.
The book of Leviticus has nearly a whole chapter on this cryptic offering. I’m guessing that the priest had to go read up on it.
- Gather two birds, a cedar stake and a hyssop branch.
- Kill one bird, catching the blood in a bowl. Mix the blood with water… not just any water, it has to be flowing (living) water.
- Dip the living bird into the water and blood with the hyssop and the stake, then sprinkle the cleansed man with the water and the blood.
- Release the bird. …as a testimony to the priest.
One bird is a substitute for the sinner who cannot heal himself. The other bird is set free after being washed in the blood.
Here is what I take from this. “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin” (Hebrews 9:22). But what of the water? From Y’shua came water and blood. John 19:34b Y’shua came by water and blood. 1John 5:6
Interesting story, but what is my point? Israel seems to be in a rut. Religion has become an expression of patriotism; an act of identity without power. Suddenly the mystery of the sacrifice for leprosy is before them. The priest must participate in something they may not have believed in. Moses also said to look for a prophet like himself, the Messiah of Israel. Yshua-Jesus alone can heal us of the leprosy of sin. He is our substitute, it is his blood and the living water that flowed from his side that sprinkled us, the stake was His cross, and we are set free as the 2nd bird was set free! But what of the testimony? Acts 6:7 tells that the early church had a healthy population of priests. Our life of faith isn’t just about us.
Debs in Everett, Washington
January 10, 2018