“No shirt, no shoes, no service” signs came about in the 60s as a combination of southern Jim Crow laws (legal segregation) and an attempt to ban hippies. In order to receive service one had to clean up!
Old Testament ritual laws worked in a similar fashion. In order to worship, one needed to be clean.
Jesus experienced ups and downs, acceptance and rejection. Last week, his miraculous provision of fish > the calling of disciples.
Here we see the prevalence of people in need of cleansing created an opportunity for Jesus to reveal his priority.
Read Luke 5:12-16
Jesus Has the Power to Cleanse (12-13)
The leper was ceremonially unclean and had to be quarantined, even though we know now that leprosy is not contagious (Lev. 13:45-46).
Lepers were cast off by society, unable to enjoy worship or fellowship, unable to experience/feel touch (numb).
Seeing Jesus brought hope, humility, and determination.
The leper knew Jesus could accomplish whatever he desired. And Jesus’ desire matched the leper’s desire for cleansing. Not only that, but Jesus was willing to touch him!
Just as the evil spirits must depart at Jesus’ command, so sickness must depart.
The leper didn’t make Jesus unclean, rather, Jesus’ touch brought the leper cleansing.
In order to receive cleansing you must become like the leper, realizing you have a fatal disease that affects your whole body, and that Jesus is your only hope.
Thankfully, Jesus heals the humbled.
Cleansing led to instruction.
Jesus Has the Authority to Command (14)
Jesus fully expects the man to re-enter the covenant community. His cleansing is followed by obedience, which the leper is excited to do.
Priests could certify whether a person was clean and therefore readmit them to temple worship (Lev. 14:1-32).
Maybe it feels duplicitous for Jesus to follow his cleansing with a command. We don’t typically appreciate people with agendas. They do one thing to get us to respond in a certain way.
But that’s not happening here. Jesus knew that the cleansing was not the end, but only the beginning.
Jesus never leaves a person where they were before coming to him. He sets them on a new path. When he becomes our Savior, he also becomes our Lord. We now walk in obedience to his commands. Jesus desires to see those cleansed following his commands.
But the culmination is fellowship.
Jesus Has the Need to Commune (15-16)
People had to spread the news. We shouldn’t assume they had impure motives. They came both to hear Jesus and be healed by him.
Despite the need, Jesus withdrew. Why? He didn’t despise the crowd, he routinely showed his compassion for them.
Jesus withdrew because there was a higher purpose for him to fulfill. We find Jesus getting away to pray on several other occasions (6:12; 9:18, 28-29; 11:1).
Prayer revived and empowered Jesus for ministry. It was more important to please his Father, than to please the crowd.
Jesus desires to know and do his Father’s will. Jesus is our example. He rescued us, instructed us, and shows us how to live.
As we observe his need for communion with his Father, we recognize our desperate need as well.
The climax of our cleansing is the privilege of communing.
Communing with God takes priority over healing. I have been cleansed so that I might commune. When communion with God is our aim, it’s not enough to simply be cleansed of our disease, we want to enjoy the relationship that cleansing affords.
- Jesus Has the Power to Cleanse (12-13)
- Jesus Has the Authority to Command (14)
- Jesus Has the Need to Commune (15-16)
Maybe you like the idea of having Jesus as your Savior, but not as your Lord. From this passage we learn: Jesus only brings up to his table those who have been brought low by the Spirit.