When Grace Sends Testimonies Back to the Law

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of Numbers which was written and recorded by Moses the servant of the Lord. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the fifth and sixth chapters. PUT OUT OF THE CAMP! THAT THEY DEFILE NOT THE CAMP! IN THE MIDST WHEREOF I DWELL! WHEN A MAN OR WOMAN SHALL COMMIT ANY SIN! AND THAT PERSON BE GUILTY! THEN THEY SHALL CONFESS THEIR SIN WHICH TY HAVE DONE! HE SHALL RECOMEPNESE HIS TRESPASS WITH THE PRINCIPAL THEREOF! IF ANY MAN’S WIFE GO ASIDE! A WARNING AGAINST ADULTERY! THE LAW OF JEALOUSIES! THE WATER WHICH BRINGS A CURSE! SEPARATED TO VOW A VOW OF A NAZARITE! SEPARATE THEMSELVES UNTO THE LORD! HE SHALL SEPARATE HIMSELF FROM! ALL THE DAYS OF HIS SEPARATION! ALL THE DAYS OF THE VOW HIS SEPARATION! HE SHALL BE HOLY! THE CONSECRATION OF OF HIS GOD IS UPON HIS HEAD! ALL THE DAYS OF HIS SEPRATION HE IS HOLY UNTO THE LORD! HE SHALL CONSECRATE UNTO THE LORD THE DAYS OF HIS SEPRATION! THE PRIESTLY BLESSING! When you come to the fifth and sixth chapters of the Old Testament book of Numbers you will find the LORD God of the Hebrews shifting and transitioning from the numbering of all those who were able to go forth to war, as well as the numbering of the Levites who were consecrated for the work of the sanctuary. As you begin reading the words which are found within the fifth chapter you will find the LORD giving a very specific command concerning the camp of the congregation of Israel—namely, a command that would protect and preserve the holiness and consecration of the camp. Upon reading the words which are found in the opening verses of the fifth chapter you will find the living God speaking unto Moses and commanding that the congregation of the children of Israel should put out of the camp every leper, and every one that hath an issue, and whosoever it was that were defiled by the dead. What is so intriguing about this command is that it directly applied both to men and women and was not mutually exclusive based on gender. It made absolutely no difference whether or not you were a male who was unclean in the sight of the living God, or if you were a female who was unclean in the sight of the living God, for both were to be put out of the camp that they might not defile the camps of the tribes of Israel. Perhaps the single greatest truth that is found within these opening verses if the fact that the LORD once more revealed and declared unto the children of Israel that He did in fact dwell in the midst of the congregation of Israel, and that His holy sanctuary and Tabernacle was found to be present among them in their midst.

I sit here this morning contemplating and considering the words which are found within the opening verses of this chapter and my mind quickly goes to the narratives and accounts of the lepers who were present during the days and generation of Jesus, and how according to the law of Moses all lepers would have been thrust out of the camp that they defile not the camps of Israel. What’s more, is that I can’t help but be reminded of the words which describe the woman who had the issue of blood for twelve years and who suffered many things at the hands of many physicians and had spent all she had—only to find and discover that she was in no wise the better because of it. I have to admit that the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ takes on a whole new level and meaning when you consider it in light of the law of Moses, for when you think about the ministry of Jesus you more often than not don’t think about, nor do you consider it in direct connection to the law of Moses. I have read the gospel narratives concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ several times over the years and I have to admit that I have never viewed His ministry through the lens of the law of Moses. As you read the four gospel accounts you will find that there were men and women who suffered demonic oppression and possession, and there were men and women who desperately needed deliverance from that oppression and bondage. Within and throughout the life and ministry of Jesus you will find and discover that there were those who were blind and desperately desired their sight to be restored, as well as those who were deaf who desired that their hearing be restored. What’s more, is there were those who were alive and present during the days of Jesus who were mute and who could not speak and desired to have their voice restored and given back once more. There were those who were lepers and those who were crippled during the days of Jesus, and as such, they desired Jesus to heal them of their infirmity. This is actually quite an astonishing and dramatic truth when you take the time to think about it, for when you come to the twelfth chapter of the epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Romans you will find him writing and speaking about the presentation of our bodies as living sacrifices, which were holy and acceptable in the sight of the living God. If you stick with me on this brief intermission I would like to draw your attention to the restoration of sacrifices which would be presented as holy and acceptable in the sight of the LORD.

As you read the words which are found in the Old Testament book of Leviticus you will find a very specific command given by the LORD God unto Moses concerning the sacrifices which should and could not be offered upon His sacred and holy altar. It’s important to note and recognize that the living God was very specific and particular when it came to His holy altar where the offerings and sacrifices of the people would be made. The LORD was very specific concerning the consecration and holiness of the altar, and He would not suffer that which was not pleasing in His sight to be offered upon it in the midst of the fire. The LORD made it very clear when speaking unto Moses concerning the sacred altar of burnt offering and gave very clear and specific instruction concerning this offerings and those sacrifices which should and which could be offered upon the altar. If you turn and direct your attention to the twenty-second chapter of the Old Testament book of Leviticus and begin reading with and from the seventeenth verse of the chapter you will find the following words which were spoken and commanded by the LORD God of the Hebrews unto Moses the servant of God. Consider if you will the words which are found in this chapter before I call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the first chapter of the Old Testament book of Malachi:

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron, and to his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them, Whatsoever he be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers in Israel, that will offer his oblation for all his vows, and for all his freewill offerings, which they will offer unto the LORD For a burnt offering; ye shall offer at your own will a male without blemish, of the beeves, of the sheep, or of the goats. But whatsoever hath a blemish, that shall ye not offer: for it shall not be acceptable for you. And whosoever offereth a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the LORD to accomplish his vow, or a freewill offering in beeves or sheep, it shall be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no blemish therein. Blind, or broken, or maimed, or having a wen, or scurvy, or scabbed, ye shall not offer these unto the LORD, nor make an offering by fire of them upon the altar unto the LORD. Either a bullock or a lamb that hath any thing superfluous or lacking in his parts, that mayest thou offer for a freewill offering; but for a vow it shall not be accepted. Ye shall not offer unto the LORD that which is bruised, or crushed, or broken, or cut; neither shall ye make any offering thereof in your land. Neither from a stranger’s hand shall ye offer the bread of your God of any of these; because their corruption is in them, and blemishes be in them: they shall not be accepted for you” (Leviticus 22:17-25).

“A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: If then I be a father, where is mine honour? And if I be a master, where is my fear? Saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is contemptible. And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? Offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? Saith the LORD of hosts. And now I pray you, beseech God that he will be gracious unto us: this hath been by your means: Will he regard your persons? Saith the LORD of hosts. Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? Neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the LORD of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand. For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye have profaned it, in that ye say, The table of the LORD is polluted; and the fruit thereof, even his meat, is contemptible. Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! And ye have snuffed at it, saith the LORD of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? Saith the LORD. But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the LORD a corrupt thing: for I am a great King, saith the LORD of hosts, and my name is dreadful among the heathen” (Malachi 1:6-14).

The living God declared unto Moses that that which was blind, that which was lame, that which was crippled, that which was blemished, and that which was imperfect and unclean could any of the congregation of the children of Israel bring unto Him and place upon His holy altar. In the New Testament the apostle Paul spoke of the presentation of our bodies as living sacrifices which were to be holy and acceptable in the sight of the living God. These two realities bring an entirely new level of meaning when you think about the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ, for within the narrative of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ you will find Him ministering unto the blind, ministering unto the deaf, ministering unto the mute, and ministering unto the lame and the crippled. RESTORING THE SACRIFICES OF GOD! The more I sit here this morning and the more I think about and consider the awesome and wonderful reality of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ, the more I can’t help but be confronted with the fact that if our bodies our indeed to be living sacrifices which were holy and acceptable in the sight of the living God, then the ministry which Jesus the Christ exercised during the three and a half years He was upon the earth takes on a whole new meaning as what He was effectively doing was restoring the sacrifices of God upon the earth. According to the law of Moses that which was blind, that which was lame, that which was crippled, that which was blemished could not be presented as an offering before and unto the LORD, and I would dare say that the ministry of Jesus takes on an entirely new meaning when you think about and consider it in light of the fact that He was restoring the sacrifices of the living God among the congregation of Israel. With each individual who Jesus restored sight to, He was at the same time restoring a sacrifice and offering that could be presented before and in the sight of the living God. With each deaf individual whom Jesus restored hearing to, He was restoring another sacrifice and offering which could be offered unto the living God. With each one that was lame, and with each one that was crippled during that day, and with each one of those individuals whom He healed and touched, He was restoring sacrifices which could indeed be offered before and unto the living God. Oh I can’t help but encounter and come face to face with the truly wonderful reality that the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ was indeed one of the restoration of the sacrifices and offerings which would and could be offered as holy and acceptable in the sight of His Father in heaven.

There is absolutely not a doubt in my mind that when you read the words which are found within the four gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ that what He did for those whose lives He touched was more than simply heal their infirmity and cure whatever disease they might have had. It would be very easy to read the words found within the four gospels and to simply think that all Jesus did was heal diseases and cure infirmities, however, I firmly believe and am convinced that that which Jesus did for the lives of those men and women whose lives He touched was restore the sacrifices of the living God. By restoring sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf Jesus was restoring sacrifices which would and could be offered before and unto the living God. By healing the lame, by healing the crippled and by healing those who were maimed, Jesus was restoring additional sacrifices which would and could be offered before and unto the living God. It’s actually interesting when you read and consider how many of those which were blind and deaf, how many of those who were lame and crippled were at the gate of the Temple, or outside the Temple itself—completely unable to enter in because of their condition. I think of all those at the pool of Bethesda, and how many blind, lame, crippled and impotent folk were there waiting for the waters to be stirred hoping they might be able to step down into the waters and be made whole. As you read the four gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ you will find that there were countless men and women who remained separate from the sanctuary and Temple of God which was present among them in their midst, and were removed from it because of their infirmity, their illness, their disease and their sickness. It is quite remarkable when you think about all those whose lives Jesus changed and transformed and how they would perhaps for the very first time enter into the courts of the sanctuary of the living God that they might worship the living God. I am reminded of the blind man at the gate called Beautiful who was forced to live a life of begging and asking for alms without ever going up into the court of the Temple. It wasn’t until the apostles Peter and John brought healing into his life that he was able to enter into the courts of the Temple and sanctuary of the living God—perhaps even for the first time. Oh how absolutely astonishing it is to think about this reality—not only of the restoration of sacrifices, but also of the restoration of offerings and worship in the midst of Israel as men and women themselves were offerings and sacrifices before and unto the living God.

With all of this being said, I find it truly remarkable to think about and consider the fact that while it is true that Jesus did heal the blind and the deaf, and while it is true that Jesus healed the lame and the crippled, He did so much more than that. While it is true that Jesus delivered men and women from their demonic oppression and possession, His life and ministry was so much more than simply healing and deliverance. What I mean by this is that healing and deliverance takes on an entirely new and alternate meaning when you consider it in light of the Law of Moses and the commands which were commanded within it. As you read the Old Testament book of Leviticus, as well as the book of Numbers you will find very specific commands and instructions which were given concerning the children of Israel—specifically concerning those who were lepers among them, and even those had issues. As you read the four gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ you will find and discover that when He ministered for three and a half years among men, He did in fact heal the sick, and He did in fact raise the dead, and He did drive and cast out demons, but I would also dare say and suggest that He delivered men and women from the curse and bondage of the law of Moses—specifically as it pertains to being unclean in the sight of the living God. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that the law of Moses called for those who were lepers to be put out of the camp of the congregation of Israel, as well as for those who had issues in their bodies to also be put out from the camp. Within and throughout the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ you will find that in addition to coming in contact with those who were sick and those who were laden with infirmity, Jesus also came in contact with those who were leprous, as well as the woman with the issue of the blood, which she had for twelve years. It is quite astounding to think about and consider the fact that when you read the four gospels and consider the ministry which Jesus the Christ engaged in—He did bring healing to the lives of men and women whom He encountered, however, I would dare suggest that He did so much more than simply bring healing to physical bodies. Perhaps one of the most astounding instructions that Jesus would give unto certain of those He healed and those He cleansed was to go and show themselves unto the priests. On the surface it might not seem like this command has any significance after Jesus just healed and/or cleansed someone, however, when you think about the law of Moses and what made someone unclean in the sight God, the instruction of Jesus carries with it a greater significance and greater meaning.

GO SHOW YOURSELF UNTO THE PRIEST! This simply instruction might confuse and even perplex those who read the four gospel narratives concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ, however, according to the law of Moses there were certain issues of the flesh and certain things that would cause one to become unclean in the sight of the living God. Within the law or Moses those who were leper’s and those who had the plague of leprosy were unclean in the sight of the living God and would need to be put out of the camp. As you read the words found within the opening verses of the fifth chapter of the book of Numbers you will find the instruction given unto Moses to command the children of Israel to put out of the camp those who were leper’s and those who had issues of the flesh. This has an even greater meaning and significance when you think about and consider it in light of those whom Jesus encountered and experienced within and throughout His public ministry. As you study the life and ministry of Jesus during the finals three and a half years of His being on earth you will find that He did more than simply heal men and women and raise the dead, but He actually cleansed those who needed to be cleansed—those who had spent possibly their entire lives being unclean in the sight of God as well as men. Think about the woman who had the issue of blood and how for twelve years she lived with this infirmity—one which would have made her unclean in the sight of the living God. What’s more, is that this woman—had she lived during the days and times of Moses—would have been put out of the camp as one who was unclean. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that the leper’s which were present during the days and times of Jesus—had they lived during the days of Moses instead of Christ—would have been put out of the camp and out of the city, or town, or village they lived and dwelt in. The narrative of the public life and ministry of Jesus the Christ was one which touched the realm of the unclean, and even touched the realm of the laws and commands which were found within the Law of Moses. Consider the tremendous reality that Jesus did more than deliver men and women from their sicknesses, their infirmities and their illnesses, but He actually came to deliver men and women from the curse of the law which many had suffered under for a considerable amount of time. In order to truly understand the reality and significance of this it is necessary to think about and consider the different accounts and narratives of those whom Jesus encounters during His public life and ministry—those who were unclean in the sight of God and according to the law of Moses. Consider if you will the narratives of the lepers, that woman with the issue of blood, and others whom Jesus not only healed and cleansed, but also delivers and sets free from the curse and bondage of the law of Moses:

“when He was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed HIM. And, behold., there came a leper and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth His hand, and touched Him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them” (Matthew 8:1-4).

“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. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth His hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed. And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away; and saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. But he went out and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in a desert places: and they came to him from every quarter” (Mark 10:40-45).

“And it came to pass, as He went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: and they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at his feet, giving Him thanks: and He was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole” (Luke 17:11-19).

“And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, came behind Him, and touched the border of His garment: and immediately her issue of blood was stanched. And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him, said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. And when the women saw that she was not hid, she came trembling and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, how she was healed immediately. And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace” (Luke 8:43-48).

“And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, and had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, when she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? And his disciples said unto him, Thou west the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And He looked round about to see her that had done this thing. But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague” (Mark 5:25-34).

LEVITICUS 13! LEVITICUS 14! LEVITICUS 15! RESTORED FELLOWSHIP! RESTORED SACRIFICES! RESTORED COMMUNITY! RESTORED RELATIONSHIPS! The more I think about and the more I consider the words which are found within these Old Testament Books of Moses—specifically the books of Leviticus and Numbers—the more I am completely and utterly captivated with and by the fact that they serve as an incredible backdrop for the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ. I have to admit that for years I have read the narrative of the public life and ministry of Jesus the Christ independent and absent from the reality of the Law of Moses, and as I have come to these chapters within the five Books of Moses I have been confronted with the reality that the public life and ministry of Jesus the Christ cannot and must not be read absent and apart from the Law of Moses and the commands and statutes that are contained within in. Please note and please understand that when I make such a statement I am not speaking of in connection with the religious system of that day and how their adherence to the Law or Moses—and evening their own traditions—put them on a collision course with the grace and mercy with the Lord Jesus Christ. As I speak concerning the reality of the life of Jesus the Christ not being read apart from and independent from that which is written in the law of Moses—that which I am referring to is the public life and ministry of Jesus the Christ. That which I am referencing and speaking to is the element of healing which took place within the life and ministry of Jesus. I presented you with three different examples found within the gospel narratives—the account of the lower who cried out to Jesus and believed that if He was willing He could make him clean, the account of the ten leper’s which came unto Jesus and cried out for mercy in the midst of their uncleanness, as well as the account of the woman with the issue of blood who had the issue for twelve years. On the surface each of these accounts and narratives might not seem like they have any significance or relevance, and yet I am completely and utterly convinced that they take on a whole new meaning when you think about and consider them in light or the public life and ministry of Jesus the Christ. The healings and restorations which took place within the lives of these twelve individuals takes on an entirely new meaning when you think about and consider them in light of just what their condition would have meant for them during those days—especially in terms of the law of Moses. Each of these narratives takes on an entirely new level of meaning when you think about and consider the fact that Jesus did more within the lives of these individuals than simply being healing and restoration within their lives.

Upon reading each of these narratives and accounts you will quickly come face to face with the reality that those presented in the midst of those events were absolutely and truly desperate and were desperate to make their way unto Jesus they He might have mercy on them. In the case of the woman with the issue of blood, she didn’t even come unto Jesus and fall down before Him asking for mercy, but rather, she came up behind Him and touched the hem of His garment. Each of these twelve individuals was completely and absolutely desperate for healing and cleanness to take place within their lives. What do intrigues and astonished me about these accounts and narratives is that we tend to think of them in terms of healing alone, and yet the true and underlying reality surrounding these individuals centers upon the fact that according to the law of Moses they were unclean and separated from their people. If and as you read the laws of Moses concerning lepers you will find that not only were they to have their dwelling outside the camp, but they were also instructed to cry out “Unclean, unclean” wherever they went. This is absolutely remarkable when you think about the account of the lone leper, as well as the ten lepers who came unto Jesus, for instead of crying out that there were unclean, they cried out for mercy instead. Pause for a moment and think about this reality, for according to the law of Moses these who were leprous were to cry out in the cities and streets that they were unclean, and yet instead of making such a cry in the hearing of those they came in contact with, they cried out for mercy. Think about what tremendous courage and boldness it would have taken for these who had the plague of leprosy to cry out for mercy from the Lord Jesus the Christ rather than crying out in the cities and streets that they were unclean. I wouldn’t say that they were in violation of the law of Moses by not crying out unclean, but there is something truly powerful about crying out “Mercy” instead of crying out “Unclean.” What’s more, is that in the case of the line and sole leper, he actually went a step further and declared unto Jesus that if He was willing He could make him clean. We dare not and must miss and lose sight of this reality, for it had the awesome and incredible potential to radically alter and shape our view of these events within the gospel narrative and account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ.

The apostle John recorded in the opening chapter of his gospel narrative that the law came through Moses, but how grace and truth came through Jesus the Christ. It’s worth considering and thinking about this, for when you come to the narrative and accounts of these twelve individuals you will find that had they lived during the days of Moses they would have been put out of their camp. If these who had the plague of leprosy within their bodies were alive during the days of Moses they would have had their dwelling outside the camp and would have been unable to draw near to the Tabernacle. It is absolutely remarkable when you think about and consider these realities, for these individual would have had to cry out in the midst of the cities and streets that they were indeed unclean. What I would love to know is where these who were leprous lived and what their lives were like before they encountered and came in contact with Jesus. What was it like for these who bore the plague of leprosy within their bodies prior to making the decision to come unto Jesus. What’s more, is I can’t help but wonder how long it might have taken these individuals to come up with the courage to finally draw near and approach Jesus. I wonder how long it would have taken for these individuals to make the decision that instead of crying out unclean in the midst of the cities and streets they would draw near and come unto Jesus and would cry out for mercy. Oh how absolutely wonderful it is to think about the fact that the desire to cry out for mercy became so much greater than the need to cry out that you were unclean in the hearing of all those who were present during those days. There is something truly prophetic and something that is truly astonishing when you think about what is found and contained within these narratives and accounts for these individuals who were unclean according to the law of Moses would have needed to reach the point and place where their need for cleansing and their need to be whole was much greater than their need to cry out that they were unclean in the streets of the cities. Oh consider this reality and what it would have meant for these individuals to cry out in the hearing and presence of Jesus their need for mercy above and beyond their condition of being unclean. For these individuals, they knew they were unclean and they knew that their uncleanness would have separated them from the people—their people—and yet they decided to cry out in the presence of Jesus for mercy that they might not only be cleansed but also restored.

I have to admit that as I sit here this morning I am overwhelmed with and by the fact that what we have within these chapters and these narratives within the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ is absolutely astounding, for when you read and consider the words which are found in the opening verses of the fifth chapter of the book of Numbers you will find that the leprous and those with issues of the flesh were to be put out of the camp. According to the law of Moses those who were unclean were to have their dwelling outside the camp and set apart from the people of God. We know the woman who had the issue of blood did so for twelve years, however, I would love to know how long the line leper had the uncleanness or leprosy within and upon his body. I would love to know how long those ten who came unto Jesus crying out for mercy had their uncleanness of leprosy before they finally had the courage to draw near and approach Jesus the Christ. We aren’t given details concerning these lepers and how long they were in that state of uncleanness, but we do know that such an uncleanness would have cut them off and separated them from the people of God and from the people of Israel. I am absolutely amazed with and by the narrative and account of the lone leper, as well as that of the ten lepers who were alive and present during the days and generation of Jesus the Christ, for it would have taken a tremendous amount of courage for them to be able to make their way through the crowds of people and into the presence of Jesus where they would cry out for mercy instead of crying out concerning and regarding their condition. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely incredible reality, for to do so would be to miss and lose sight of the tremendous significance of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ and how He did more than heal the blind and deaf, how He did more than raise the dead, and how He did more than cause the lame and the crippled to be made whole. The life and ministry of Jesus touched the realm of the law of Moses and that which made a person unclean according to the law of Moses, as was the case with the single leper who came unto Him crying out for mercy, as well as the case of the ten men who were lepers who came unto the presence of Jesus crying out for mercy, cleanness and wholeness.

I read the narratives and accounts of these twelve individuals and I can’t help but see some semblance of significance in the fact that there were twelve individuals whom Jesus encountered who were unclean according to the law of Moses—ten lepers, plus one single and lone leper, and one woman with the issue of blood. I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that there might very well be some prophetic significance in the fact that there were twelve individuals who were unclean according to the Law of Moses, and unclean in the sight of the people before and around them, and how when you look at the nation and people of Israel you will notice that there were twelve tribes which made up the people of Israel. Is it possible that there were twelve individuals who were unclean according to the law of Moses as it was a symbol and sign that Jesus Christ came to bring cleansing and restoration to the twelve tribes of Israel? Is it possible that these twelve individuals were a prophetic symbol and sign concerning the twelve tribes of Israel, and how the Father sought to bring cleansing to the twelve tribes of Israel, thus indicating bringing cleansing and wholeness to the nation and people as a whole? I realize that when and as you read the words which are found within these chapters there is nothing that specifically states or even expresses this, but it would be just like the Father and just like Jesus the Christ who brought grace in truth in the place of the law of Moses to also bring cleansing and healing to the twelve tribes of the nation and people of Israel. I find it absolutely remarkable and astounding to consider how there could very well have been a prophetic symbol and sign within the lives of these twelve individuals who quite possibly could have stood as representatives of the twelve tribes of Israel, and how the Father sought to bring cleansing and wholeness unto these tribes through the person of Jesus the Christ. How just like the living God it would be to use the lives and narratives of these individuals to present and paint a picture concerning the twelve tribes of Israel, and how the living God desired to bring cleansing and restoration to the twelve tribes of Israel during those days. We must not forget and must not ignore the fact that the living God has never cast off, nor has He ever forsaken His people, and these twelve individuals could very well have stood as a wonderful and powerful symbol of the cleansing and restoration the living God desired to bring among them in their midst.

With all of this being said I am absolutely gripped and captivated by the fact that for those eleven who were lepers—not only were they unclean according to the law of Moses, and not only would they have had to cry out wherever they went that they were unclean, but according to the law of Moses they would have been put out of the camp. I have to wonder where these eleven individual had their dwelling and where they had their abode as it pertains to the people of Judaea, Galilee and Samaria. Where did these individuals who were unclean according to the law of Moses have their abode since they were each unclean and had to cry out in the cities and streets that they were unclean? I wonder what their lives were like as they lived as lepers in the midst of a culture and society that was dominated by religious folk who placed a great amount of emphasis on the law of Moses, as well as their traditions. Oh I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like, and what it must have been like to have the plague of leprosy within your flesh and to do so in the midst of a generation that was dominated by Pharisees, Sadducees, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of Israel. Consider how many times the religious system accused Jesus and His disciples of violating the commands within the Law of Moses, and how many times they accused them of breaking their traditions which they placed such great emphasis on? I can’t help but wonder how incredibly difficult it must have been to be unclean in the midst of a generation that was dominated by a religious system that placed a great emphasis on the Law of Moses, as well as their traditions. Is it possible that the religious system and the religious leaders completely and utterly ostracized those among them who were unclean, and completely isolated them from the people in Judaea, Galilee and the land of Israel? I would imagine it would not and could not have been easy to be unclean during a time when religion so dominated the culture and society of that day. I am sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that the religious leaders and the religious system did not make it easy for those who were unclean to live with their uncleanness, and a perfect example is how they isolated that one with a withered hand who was in the synagogue on the sabbath day. When we think about and consider the religious system that was present during the days of Jesus we must understand that not only did they accuse Jesus and His disciples of violating the law of Moses, as well as their traditions, but they also isolated and ostracized those who had a condition—even those who were guilty of the law of Moses as was the woman who was caught in the act of adultery.

Oh I find it absolutely astonishing and incredible to think about the fact that during the days of Jesus the Christ there were those who were unclean according to the Law of Moses, and yet we have three accounts of how a total of twelve of them dared cry out in the hearing of Jesus the Christ for mercy rather than crying out that they were unclean. We aren’t told that those who had an issue of the flesh needed to cry out that they were unclean, but I am sure life for the woman who had the issue of blood for twelve years must have felt completely isolated and alone, as anything she touched and anything she came in contact with would have been defiled and made unclean. Oh, I can’t help but wonder how many would have avoided this woman with the issue of blood knowing that if they came in contact with her they would have been unclean in the sight of the living God, as well as unclean in the midst of the people according to the law of Moses. This is what makes this woman’s courage and bravery so absolutely remarkable when you think about and consider it, for this woman was willing to push her way through the crowd which thronged round about and upon Jesus in order that she might touch by the hem of His garment. I have to admit that I am completely and utterly fascinated with and by the lives of those men and women who had tremendous courage and bravery to step out—even in the midst of their uncleanness—in order that they might find cleansing and wholeness. What I so love about the narratives and accounts of these individuals is that through their lives we encounter and realize that Jesus came to bring more than healing, more than deliverance, and came to do more than simply raise the dead. I am absolutely and wonderfully convinced that the lives of these individuals present us with the absolutely wonderful and powerful picture of how Jesus came to bring cleansing and restoration into the lives of those who were unclean according to the law of Moses, and how Jesus’ public life and ministry even touched the realm of the law of Moses and that which made one guilty and unclean according to it. Within the narrative and account of the woman who was caught in the act of adultery, she was indeed guilty according to the law of Moses and the penalty for such a sin was being put to death. The lepers were to not only cry out in the cities and streets they were unclean, but they would have also had their dwellings outside somewhere as they were separated and cut off from the people of God. The woman with the issue of blood was unclean for twelve years, and would have undoubtedly found relationship difficult during those days and at that time, for anything and everything she touched and came in contact with would automatically and immediately become unclean. Oh, I can’t help but wonder how many would have avoided these individuals for fear of themselves becoming defiled and themselves becoming unclean. How many men and women during those days would have completely isolated these individuals for fear of themselves becoming unclean and being defiled in the sight of men and according to the law of Moss.

WHEN CLEANSING BRING RESTORATION OF RELATIONSHIP! WHEN CLEANSING BRINGS RESTORATION OF COMMUNITY! WHEN CLEANSING BRINGS RESTORATION OF FELLOWSHIP! I firmly believe that when Jesus cleansed these individuals, and when He cured them of that which caused them to be unclean, He was doing more than simply making them clean according to the law of Moses, but was also restoring them unto a people whom they were undoubtedly cut off and separated from. There is not a doubt in my mind that these individuals would have been completely isolated and completely ostracized during those days—not only because they were unclean, but also because those days were dominated by the religion and hypocrisy of the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel. I believe without a shadow of a doubt that it would not have been easy to live as one who was unclean in a culture and society that was dominated and controlled by a religious scene that placed such great emphasis on the law of Moses, and even on the traditions of which they had developed and created. I am sure the religious system would have ensured that these individuals would have been cut off from the people of Israel and from the people in Judaea and Galilee, and would have made it absolutely and incredibly difficult for them to have fellowship with those which were present during those days. There is not a doubt in my mind that being unclean according to the law of Moses, and even being guilty according to the law of Moses was not easy during days and in the midst of generation that was dominated by religion as religious leaders would have made it incredibly difficult to live in such a state among the people of God. I firmly believe that what the Pharisees and scribes did with the woman who was caught in the act of adultery was to set a trap for Jesus whereby they might accuse Him, however, I am absolutely convinced that we see a picture of how they would have viewed—and not only how they would have viewed, but also how they would have treated those who were unclean and guilty during those days. The narrative and account of the woman taken in the act of adultery is a tremendous picture of how religion and how the religious system of that day would have treated those who were guilty and those who were unclean in the sight and presence of the people of God, and even according to the law of Moses. Undoubtedly they would have quoted the law of Moses and would have used the law of Moses to remind them of their uncleanness, and even of their guilty before and in the sight of the living God. There is not a doubt in my mind that those who were present during those days which were not only unclean according to the law of Moses, but also those who were guilty according to the law of Moses found themselves in a tremendous place of vulnerability, for the religious system would have completely and utterly ostracized and isolated them.

If there is one thing I absolutely love about what is found within the narratives of the lone leper, as well as that of the ten lepers, is that in the case of the lone leper Jesus not only stretched forth His hand and touched the man, thus cleansing Him of His leprosy, but He also instructed him to go and show himself unto the priest. What’s more, is that Jesus instructed Him not to speak of what had taken place within his life—only to go and show himself unto the priest as was customary according to the law of Moses. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that not only did Jesus cleanse one who was unclean according to the law of Moses, but then he sent that one who was unclean according to the law of Moses back to the law as a testimony unto the law. WHEN CLEANSING STANDS A TESTIMONY TO THE LAW! I absolutely love how Jesus the Christ not only cleansed those who would have been unclean according to the law of Moses, but Jesus also sent those who were cleansed back to the law as a testimony unto the law that He had brought cleansing. Oh I can’t help but wonder what it must have been like for that woman who had been caught in the act of adultery after Jesus had delivered her from her accusers, acquitted and forgiven her of her guilt and transgression, and even sent her on her way with the command to go and sin no more. What was it like for this woman as she might have seen some of those same ones who stood to accuse and condemn her? What would it have been like for this woman as she walked the streets of Jerusalem in the company and presence of those who would have accused, condemned and stoned her, and how she was delivered from their hands—even delivered from the law of Moses—and permitted to live free and forgiven from guilt, shame and condemnation. Oh the lives of these men and women demonstrate and prove the absolutely incredible reality that Jesus the Christ came to directly confront the law of Moses and to bring cleansing to those who would have been guilty according to the law, and even those who would have been guilty according to the law. SENDING THE CLEANSED BACK TO THE LAW AS A TESTIMONY! SENDING THE ACQUITTED BACK TO THE LAW AS A TESTIMONY! Oh how absolutely wonderful and remarkable it is to think about and consider the fact that not only did Jesus cleanse those who would have been unclean according to the law of Moses, but Jesus also delivered that one who was guilty according to the law of Moses. Jesus sent those who were unclean according to the law of Moses back to the law and unto the priests as a witness and testimony unto them, and Jesus would have undoubtedly sent the woman caught in the act of adultery back into the midst of a culture and society that would have stoned and put her to death.

It is quite remarkable to think about and consider the absolutely remarkable truth that not only did Jesus cleanse those who were unclean according to the law of Moses, but He sent some of those same ones who were unclean back to the law completely clean and made whole as a witness and testimony unto the law. TESTIFYING TO THE LAW YOU ARE CLEAN! TESTIFYING TO THE LAW YOU ARE FORGIVEN! Through the lives of these men we encounter and come face to face with the reality that it was possible to return to the law—the same law that pronounced you unclean, and the same law which pronounced you as guilty—and pronounce that you were clean. What’s more, is it would have been possible for Jesus the Christ to send those who were guilty back to the law as a witness and testimony unto the law that they were forgiven, that there was no longer any condemnation, and that the stones had no sway against and upon them. WHEN GRACE TESTIFIES TO THE LAW! WHEN GRACE SPEAKS TO THE LAW! WHEN GRACE SILENCES THE LAW! WHEN GRACE BRINGS A TESTIMONY TO THE LAW! How absolutely remarkable and incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that Jesus would have sent those who were unclean to the law back to the law and unto the priests as a testimony that they were clean and made whole by and through grace—and not only this, but Jesus would have sent this woman who was guilty according to the law back into the midst of the culture and society as one who was no longer guilty, and as one who was delivered from her accusers and those who would have condemned her. Oh how absolutely wonderful and amazing it is to think about and consider the fact that this woman who was caught in the act of adultery would have been sent right back into the midst of the culture and society as one who was delivered from the law by and through the grace that is found in the person of Jesus the Christ. The lepers who were cleansed by Jesus the Christ would have been sent back to the law and unto the priests as a witness and testimony that they had been cleansed and made whole according to the law of Moses by One who was greater than the law, and one who was greater than the commands and traditions. What’s more, is Jesus would have sent the woman who was cleansed of her issue of blood back into the midst of a culture completely and utterly cleansed of her issue of blood and clean according to the law of Moses. Undoubtedly the woman who had the issue of blood would have had to present herself to the priest as a witness and a testimony unto them concerning her cleansing, and how absolutely wonderful it is to think about and consider that Jesus sent individuals back to the law as a witness and testimony to speak to the law concerning grace, mercy, truth, cleansing, healing and restoration. Oh how wonderful and powerful is the testimony of grace and mercy in the face of the law of Moses which pronounces men and women guilty and clean.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s