Tuesday, August 21, 2012


    WHEN JESUS came down from the mountain, great throngs followed Him.
2 And behold, a leper came up to Him and prostrating himself, worshipped Him, saying, Lord, if You will, You are able to cleanse me by curing me.
3 And He reached out His hand and touched him, saying, I will; be cleansed by being cured. And instantly his leprosy was cured and cleansed.
4 And Jesus said to him, See that you tell nothing about this to any one; but go, show yourself to the priest, and present the offering that Moses commanded, for a testimony [to your healing] and as an evidence to the people. (Matthew 8:1-4). [Amplified Bible].

1. Healing miracles (8:1-17)

a. A leper (8:1-4)

1 Jesus came down out of the hills (Matt 5:1), where the Sermon on the Mount had been delivered; and the great crowds (Matt 4:23-25; 7:28-29) still pursued him.

2-3 Matthew now starts to elaborate on some specific miracles of Jesus, beginning with a leper (on leprosy, see Mark 1:40). This man "knelt" before Jesus, though this verb can also mean "worshiped." Clearly the former is meant in this historical setting. Yet as with the title "Lord" (see Matt 7:22-23), Christian readers of Matthew could not help concluding that this leper spoke and acted better than he knew. "If you are willing" reflects the leper's great faith, prompted by Jesus' healing activity throughout the district (Matt 4:24): he had no question about Jesus' healing power but feared only that he would be passed by. In affirming his willingness to heal, Jesus proved that his will is decisive. He already had the authority and power and only needed to decide and act. Jesus reached to touch the leper, probably because the leper did not dare come close to him.
    By  touching an unclean leper, Jesus would become ceremonially defiled himself (cf. Lev Ch 13-14). But at Jesus' touch nothing remains defield. Far from becoming unclean, Jesus makes the unclean clean. Both Jesus' word and touch (Matt 8:15; 9:20-21, 29; 14:36) are effective, possibly implying that authority is vested in his message as well as in his person.

4 Jesus' command for the leper to keep silent shows that Jesus is not presenting himself as a mere wonder-worker who can be pressured into messiahship by crowds whose messianic views are materialistic and political. His authority derives from God alone; he came to die, not to trounce the Romans. The people who disobeyed Jesus' injunctions to silence only made his mission more difficult.
     Jesus commanded the cured man to follow the Mosaic prescriptions for lepers who climed healing (cf. Lev Ch 14). Why? Partly because Matthew wants to show that Jesus did submit himself to God's law. But the result is startling: the law achieves new relevance by pointing to Jesus. In conforming to the law, the cured leper becomes the occasion for the law to confirm Jesus' authority as the healer who needs but to will the deed for it to be done. Thus the supreme function of the "gift" Moses commanded is not as a guilt offering (Lev 14:10-18) but as a witness to others concerning Jesus.
[NIV BIBLE COMMENTARY Volume 2: New Testament].




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