The Book of Luke, The Healing of the Leper and the Paralytic, Part II – Lesson 54
Luke 5:12-16, And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 13And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him. 14And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and show thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. 15But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities. 16And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.
The Bible has much to say about this disease called leprosy and God in the Old Testament and in the law uses this disease as a type of moral evil.
God, on many occasions, uses the physical to demonstrate a spiritual truth.
The disease of leprosy provides:
a picture of sin in a man’s nature,
a picture of sin as it affects the man’s circumstances of life, and a picture of sin as it affects a community or assembly of men.
The disease itself is not sin, but it pictures sin and we can learn what God thinks of sin by how leposy was dealt with.
The leper was always to be separated from God’s people and was not allowed fellowship until he was pronounced clean by the priest.
We see in the separation of the leper from the assembly a picture of the need for God’s people to be pure, because God’s people is where God dwells.
The priest must be totally immersed in God’s word so as to carry out his important duties responsibly as regarding a person having to go out of the assembly or coming into the assembly.
C. H. Mackintosh in his commentary on Genesis thru Deuteronomy says “Holiness could not permit any one to remain in who ought to be out; and on the other hand, grace would not have any one out who ought to be in.”
The priest must be sure that the marks upon the person are not just some blemish that is superficial but that they are deeper than the skin, and if left unchecked will lead to disastrous consequences for the assembly.
When the leprosy was unquestionably and unmistakably identified the priest was obligated to separate the leper from the assembly, and from his or her friends and family.
Lev 13:45,46, And the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, and shall cry, Unclean, unclean. 46All the days wherein the plague shall be in him he shall be defiled; he is unclean: he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be.
God would suffer infirmity, blemish, and failure but the moment it became a case of defilement it could not be tolerated in the assembly and had to be excluded.
This excluded leper is a picture of a person in whom sin is actually working - one in whom there is the working of evil.
It is that which defiles and shuts out any communion with God and the fellowship of saints.
It is a picture that is given of working sin which cancels any fellowship with God or with God’s people all the days wherein the plague shall be in him he is defiled.
Now what brings about a declaration of cleansing by the priest?
We find the answer in:
Lev 13:12-17, And if a leprosy break out abroad in the skin, and the leprosy cover all the skin of him that hath the plague from his head even to his foot, wheresoever the priest looketh; 13Then the priest shall consider: and, behold, if the leprosy have covered all his flesh, he shall pronounce him clean that hath the plague: it is all turned white: he is clean. 14But when raw flesh appeareth in him, he shall be unclean. 15And the priest shall see the raw flesh, and pronounce him to be unclean: for the raw flesh is unclean: it is a leprosy. 16Or if the raw flesh turn again, and be changed unto white, he shall come unto the priest; 17And the priest shall see him: and, behold, if the plague be turned into white; then the priest shall pronounce him clean that hath the plague: he is clean.
If leprosy is a picture of sin then when the leprosy covers all of the flesh this pictures a sinner in his true state.
It pictures a sinner who sees fully what he is before God.
The moment a sinner is in his true place then the question is settled, there is no further difficulty, the battle is over, the surrender takes place and there is cleansing.
That is what it means to be convicted.
To be convicted is to be convinced of what you are, that is a sinner, without merit before a holy God! A leper, so to speak!
As the leper who may spend his life crying out unclean, unclean, the sinner who does not fully recognize his sin, has not been convicted, also crys out with his life, unclean, unclean.
But the sinner who fully recognizes his condition (has been convicted) is a fit vessel for cleansing and will come to God just as he is, claiming no part of his body clean, no part of his life kept from passing under the shed blood of Christ.
The very smallest speck of leprosy was intolerable to God, and yet when the whole man was covered, from head to food, he was pronounced clean.
He was now a proper subject for the grace of God and the blood of Christ shed on the cross.
Mackintosh writes: Thus is it, in every case, with the sinner, God is “of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look upon iniquity” (Hab. 1:13) and yet the moment a sinner takes his true place, as one thoroughly lost, guilty, and undone-as one in whom there is not so much as a single point on which the eye of Infinite Holiness can rest with complacency –as one who is so bad that he cannot possibly be worse, there is an immediate, a perfect, a divine settlement of the entire matter. The grace of God deals with sinners, and when I know myself to be a sinner, I know myself to be one whom Christ came to save. The more clearly anyone can prove me to be a sinner, the more clearly he establishes my title to the love of God and the work of Christ.
I Peter 3:18, For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
Now, if I am “unjust,” I am one of those very people for whom Christ died and I am entitled to all the benefits of His death. “There is not a just man on earth;” and inasmuch as I am “upon earth” it is plain that I am unjust , and it is equally plain that Christ died for me-that he suffered for my sins. Since, therefore, Christ died for me, it is my happy privilege to enter into the immediate enjoyment of the fruits of his sacrifice. This is as plain as plainness itself. It demands no effort whatsoever. I am not called to be anything but just what I am. I am not called to feel, to experience, to realize anything. The word of God assures me that Christ died for me just as I am; and if he died for me, I am safe as He is Himself. There is nothing against me: Christ met all. He not only suffered for my sins, but He made an end of sin. He abolished the entire system in which, as a child of the first Adam, I stood, and He has introduced me into a new position, in association with Himself, and there I stand before God, free from all charge of sin and all fear of judgement.