Thursday, March 19, 2009

Messianic Miracles-- Leprosy Part 3

The First Messianic Miracle Performed

With all of this information in mind, we can now go to Luke's account (5:12-14) of the first leper being healed and begin to sense the significance of this monumental event. As a physician, Luke includes an interesting detail in his account. He said that the leper was a man "full of leprosy." In Greek, this implied that his affliction was so far advanced that he was near death. This healing made a very dramatic statement.

The leper recognized the Savior's authority and had faith in him when he sought out Jesus saying, "Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." Then Jesus touched the leper saying, "I will; be thou clean." and immediately the leprosy departed from the man. In verse 14 we are told what happened next.

"And he [Jesus] charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them."

By saying "tell no man," Jesus was not telling the man to keep his healing a secret; but that first it needed to be reported to the proper authorities. He meant, "Don't linger and discuss your healing with the masses."

By the phrase ­ for a testimony unto them ­ Christ meant the leadership at the Temple. According to their own standards, only the Messiah could heal leprosy. This man would be a walking witness of Christ's power and Messiahship.

Can you imagine the consternation of those priests at the temple as the former leper related his story? This first Messianic miracle set in motion the process by which the leadership of Israel would be required to fully follow, for the very first time ever (since the Law of Moses went into effect) the procedures in Leviticus 13 and 14 and begin an in-depth investigation of the Savior's claim to be the long awaited Messiah. They would be forced to come to a decision regarding that claim.

Unfortunately, even after this miracle and several others- ­ which again, according to their own Rabbinic rules could only be performed by the Messiah, ­ the leadership of
Israel repeatedly rejected Jesus as the long awaited Savior. The result of this rejection is stated in John 15:22-24. Jesus explained:

If I had not come and spoken [to] them, they [they would not be guilty of] sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man [ever] did, they [would not be counted guilty]: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.

Tomorrow...the best way to annoy false leadership.


  1. Great post. Good insight into the healing of the leper.

  2. I like the way that Elder Bruce R. McConkie witnessed that the healing of the Leper who was "full of leprosy" testified of Christ's Divinity. He wrote:

    "Both of these manifestations of divine power add a new dimension, not so far seen, to his miraculous performances: the healing of the leper because of the nature of the disease, the secrecy he enjoined upon the recipient of his blessing, and the stipulation that the healed person conform to the provisions of the law of Moses; and the curing of the paralytic because it was preceded by a forgiveness of sins, showing that Jesus was Jehovah, who alone can forgive sins. Each of these miracles was performed not alone for the benefit and blessing of the suffering Israelite whose body was affected, but as a witness to the growing group of opponents that he whom they opposed came from God and had divine power. The wicked and rebellious in Israel, word upon word and miracle after miracle, were being left without excuse; their sins were being bound securely upon their own heads; the Light they were rejecting was shining forth everywhere in word and in deed."

    . . .

    "Healings there have been in profuse abundance, but none—up to this point and as far as we know—has involved a leper, "a man full of leprosy." None has dealt with a body and soul plagued with a living death, one whose body was in process of rotting, decaying, and returning to the dust to gain merciful surcease from the torments of the flesh. Before the Second Coming, "the Lord God will send forth flies upon the face of the earth, which shall take hold of the inhabitants thereof, and shall eat their flesh, and shall cause maggots to come in upon them; . . . and their flesh shall fall from off their bones, and their eyes from their sockets." (D&C 29:18-19.) Before and at the time of his First Coming, there were many in Israel who were lepers, possessors of such a vile and degenerating disease that they were anathema to everyone and a curse to themselves. Except for the extent of the coming latter-day plague, it can scarcely be worse than the hell and torment and physical affliction suffered by the lepers of Jesus' day." --Bruce R. McConkie, Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, vol. 2 (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1980)

    Steven Montgomery

  3. Wonderful quotes, Steven!

  4. "Except for the extent of the coming latter-day plague..." eek.