Becoming one with the Savior results in cosmic changes. In Matthew 8:1-4, there’s an underlying message which showcases the Savior’s willingness to become one with sinful people. Here, a leper perceived that Jesus was the gateway to another destiny, and his story reflects the great love of Christ.
Let’s discover its beauty!
An act of Worship
Analyzing verse 2, we discover that:
A leper came worshiping and adoring Jesus and humbled himself. He acknowledged Jesus as the supreme authority of his life, saying:
“If it’s Your choice, desire, and delight, You have the power, and opportunity to purify, and cleanse me.”
What was the Savior’s response?
“And Jesus put forth His hand and touched him, saying I will; be thou clean. And immediately, his leprosy was cleansed.” (Matthew 8:3)
Here, the word for touch is “haptomai,” meaning attach oneself or touch.
So, Jesus attached Himself to the man’s uncleanness and declared that He would gladly purify him. Hence, it was the act of Jesus “becoming one” with the leper that brought about the transformation.
However, the beauty of the story is highlighted in Jesus’ command to the leper:
“Go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.”(Matthew 8:4)
What was the gift?
Jesus was referring to the law of the leper in the day of their cleansing (see Leviticus chapter 14).
A leper had to present themselves to the priest, who would examine whether the plagued was healed. If that was the case, the following occurred:
The leper was instructed to bring two clean and alive birds, cedarwood, scarlet, and hyssop. The priest killed one of the birds in an earthen vessel over running water. The remaining would be dipped in the blood of the dead bird; the priest would then sprinkle the leper seven times with the blood using these.
Afterward, the other bird was let loose in an open field, alive and free.
What happened next?
The person then washed their clothes, shaved all the hair off their bodies, and washed themselves with water. Allowed back into the camp, they remained outside their tent for seven days, and on the last day, they repeated the washing and shaving.
On the eighth day, the cleansed person brought two lambs without blemish, one ewe lamb, an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, and a log of oil. Then the priest would present a wave, grain, trespass, sin, and a burnt offering.
The wonder, however, is that upon killing one of the lambs, the priest took some of the blood and placed it on the right ear, thumb, and big toe of the cleansed person; the same ritual a priest received (see Leviticus 8). Likewise, these areas were anointed with oil, and the oil was also poured on the person’s head.
A Moment of Reflection
The gift of the leper revealed the identity of Christ and pointed to the day God would condemn Jesus in our place. We were dipped in innocent blood and set free because, without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins (see Hebrews 9:22). His gift testified that the earth no longer witnessed a shadow of good things to come (see Hebrews 10:1), but experienced the fulfillment of prophecy.
Touching the leper testified that the Savior, would take our pain, bare our sufferings, be pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities, and the punishment of our peace would be on Him (see Isaiah 53:4-5).
For we know that “He bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness; by Whose stripes we were healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)
A Call to Change
Like the leper, we’re commanded to “put on a new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness…” (Ephesians 4:22-24)
We look to Jesus’ blood because it’s through His blood that becoming one with the Savior transforms our lives. He cleans our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God (see Hebrews 9:14).
Because of His blood, we’re anointed with the oil of the Holy Spirit and are “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that we may declare the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)
Becoming one with the Savior, let our lives testify of the good things that have come!