|Published on Fri, May 22, 2020 3:00 PM|
Meditation for 23 May 2020 by Paula Miller
"Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” Matthew 7:28-8:4
Jesus came down from the mountainside and was preaching to the crowds when a leper asked Jesus to make him clean. Jesus reached out his hand, touched the leper and he was made clean and healed. Jesus then tells the former leper not to tell anyone what Jesus did but to go show himself to the priest who would offer the sacrifices Moses prescribed. I love this passage because it is so wonderful that the man was healed of leprosy, such a dreadful disease. It reminds me of what we currently face with the high contagion of COVID -19 and the lack of a cure.
It is interesting to me that Jesus requested that the healed leper seek the high priest for authentication of the healing, following the Mosaic procedure written in Leviticus (Chap. 13-14). The priests were the gatekeepers who determined those who were “clean” or unclean” among the Hebrews; because the man with leprosy was considered “unclean,” he had to live outside of his community, isolated. When Jesus told the man to show himself to the priest, leprosy no longer present, he did several things. First, Jesus set an example of courageous humility, focusing on the long-term welfare of the man rather than on his own personal exposure to the disease. Front-line workers and caregivers of COVID-19 patients are today’s unsung heroes with that same fearlessness. Jesus also enabled the man to begin the sacrificial rituals, to “offer the gift Moses commanded,” that would allow the man to rejoin his community. This would happen in a three-stage process: first, he would be able to move within community borders; then, he would be allowed to return to his home; finally, he would be able to worship with others in the temple. It seems that the incremental re-entry process we’re projecting in relation to Covid-19 has some ancient precedents.
Finally, the man became a visible testimony to the priests that Jesus could miraculously heal even the most serious of diseases. This reminds me of the power of praying for healing for the sick, and that Jesus is inviting us always to follow the written law. How wonderful that Jesus used his miraculous healing power to save the man who asked him for healing. By our faith we, too, can seek the healing power of Jesus through the Holy Spirit and we can summon this healing power through prayer and supplication.
Numbers 11:16-17, 24-29 Psalm 27, 90 Ephesians 2:11-22 Matthew 7:28-8:4