1 When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him.
2 And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”
3 Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
4 And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
These miracles (Matthew 8-9) of Jesus, so far from being violations of the law, were restorations of men to the life, according to law. Leprosy is unlawful; cleansing is lawful. Fever is due to violation of the law; and this Man by a touch restored to law. The King came to restore a lost order. — Morgan, page 83.
What He did is seen in the Old Testament in connection with the Kingdom. In Isaiah 35 we have a description of the Kingdom as the King is to set it up. He came, and that He is the King and His Kingdom at hand, is proven by Him in doing the signs enumerated in the 35th chapter of Isaiah. — Gaebelein, page 167
leper (v.2) — If Israel had been right with God, there would not have been lepers among them (Exodus 15:26).
Leprosy is a slowly progressing and intractable disease. This disease in an especial manner rendered its victims unclean; even contact with a leper defiled whoever touched him, so while the cure of other diseases is called healing, that of leprosy is called cleansing.
It should be observed here that the attitude of the Law toward the person, garment or house suspected of leprosy is that if the disease be really present they are to be declared unclean and there is no means provided for cure, and in the case of the garment or house, they are to be destroyed. If, on the other hand, the disease be proved to be absent, this freedom from the disease has to be declared by a ceremonial purification. This is in reality not the ritual for cleansing the leper, for the Torah provides none such, but the ritual for declaring him ceremonially free from the suspicion of having the disease. This gives a peculiar and added force to the words, “The lepers are cleansed,” as a testimony to our Lord’s divine mission.
As the leper passed by, his clothes rent, his hair disheveled, and the lower part of his face and his upper lip covered, it was as one going to death who reads his own burial-service, while the mournful words, “Unclean! Unclean!” which he uttered, proclaimed that his was both living and moral death.
Contrary to what Jewish tradition allowed, a leper boldly approached Jesus and petitioned Him for help. We can now in some measure appreciate the contrast between Jesus and His contemporaries in His bearing towards the leper. Or, conversely, we can judge by the healing of this leper of the impression which the Savior had made upon the people. He would have fled from a rabbi; he came in lowliest attitude of entreaty to Jesus …
There was no Old Testament precedent for it: not in the case of Moses, nor even in that of Elisha, and there was no Jewish expectancy of it. But to have heard Him teach, to have seen or known Him as healing all manner of disease, must have carried to the heart the conviction of His absolute power.
Jewish tradition demanded that one abstain from any contact with a leper, but Christ actually touched the leper. The hand of Jesus was not polluted by touching the leper’s body, but the leper’s whole body was cleansed by the touch of that holy hand. It was even thus that He touched our sinful human nature, and yet remained without spot of sin. — Pentecost, pages 148-150.
Lord (v.2) = Master — the first time in Matthew He was directly addressed so
touched him (v.3) — Lepers were not to be touched (Leviticus 13)
tell no one (v.4) — The Mosaic law required one who had leprosy, or was suspected of having it, to undergo an elaborate ritual of cleansing in order to be accepted in society. If this man tarried in Galilee to be a witness to Christ without undergoing the proper ritual of cleansing, he would have been deemed unclean and therefore his witness would have been nullified. — Pentecost, page 151
the gift that Moses commanded (v.4) — Leviticus 14, the entirety of which concerns dealing with lepers
testimony to them (v.4) — There was an additional reason why Christ sent the cleansed man to the priest. The man was to be a testimony to them (Luke 5:14). When the man went to the priest and claimed to be a cleansed leper, the priest would have to investigate whether the man had been a leper and then determine his present condition. The priest would make inquiry as to the means by which the man had been cleansed. This would give the cleansed man an occasion to present to the priest the evidence that the One who claimed to be Messiah had power to cleanse lepers … The evidence would then be presented to the Sanhedrin for its investigation and final declaration. Thus Christ was bringing evidence to those in high authority in the religious realm. — Pentecost, page 151
If one looks for these miracles in the Gospels of Mark and Luke, and traces our Lord’s movement in them, he will be astonished to find that they are put in these Gospels in an entirely different setting. The Holy Spirit as the writer of the first Gospel has taken certain events in the life of our Lord and grouped them together in such a way that they not only show us how the King proved Himself King and how He was rejected, but to show in the grouping of these miracles the purposes of God, and bring out some very rich yet simple dispensational teachings. The Gospel of Matthew as the Jewish Gospel is the proper place for it. — Gaebelein, page 169.
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