Thursday, February 06, 2014

If Any of You are Sick.....

Nestled late in the Bible,  in the Book of James comes an important study on healing which many cursorily read and yet seldom connect it to the overall study of healing in the Bible.  The passage in James regards what to do when one falls ill:

[Jam 5:14-15 KJV] 14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.  BLB

In most of the studies in this blog, we have looked at the healings of Jesus and apostolic healings following the ascension of Christ, described in the Gospels and Book of Acts.   In James 5 though, we are looking at an admonition by James for handling physical infirmity in the Church,  the 'Ikklesia' or Congregation or gathering/assembly of God.   Modern thinking,even in the church precludes divine healing too often and will use passages on healing to merely mean one should go see a physician.   Christ's healing though is not just for centuries past for a short time,  but for today,  and many churches and believers are seeing a revival in the gift of healing, even taking it to the streets for the thing it was partially for: a sign to unbelievers, and a platform for the preaching of the 'glad tidings' or Gospel.

Let Him Call for the Elders

Every Church which has Christ as head is supposed to have designated 'elders'.  The Greek word for elders is
                                                       πρεσβύτερος (blb)

The work is presbyteros  or presbyter  from which we derive the name of the denomination 'Presbyterian'. The church like her Savior is supposed to be the same 'yesterday today and tomorrow'  but we have a rather proud and haughty notion today that we can even form and run the church any way we choose: this is the opposite of the scriptures of truth.  The command to have elders or presbyters is obvious

Let the Elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour; especially those who labor in the Word and doctrine. I Ti 5:17.
The word 'elder' may refer to Bishops, deacons or an appointed office of elder,  as well, so the mandates are clearly that they are the leaders of the church,  surrendered to the authority of God.   the term 'elder' is not a new one in the New Testament:  it is clearly a hebrew understanding of authority or guidance in the Synagogue,  which also bears the template of organization of the Congregation of God which is laid down in the NT.  For example 'elders in the temple are referred to in the following passages:

Acts 24:1 And after five days Ananias the high priest descended with the elders, and with a certain orator named Tertullus, who informed the governor against Paul.Exodus 3:16  Go and gather the elders of Israel together....
For this reason for example using the 'Presbyterian' rubric, we are dealing with a form of church 'government', though the church is unique in having 'servant leaders' like in kind to their lord and Savior :  they are to teach, guide, uplift and lead,  but not in a exclusive rule over the congregation,  the pattern of which is condemned in Revelation in the 'Nicolaitans'. (rule over the laity).  In the church,  the elders 'show the way',  or 'set the template' for the way believers are to live their lives, for keeping the congregation on the straight and narrow with the word and with doctrine,  and in this case,  giving direction to the gifts, particularly, here, to healing.

Laying on of Hands

 Those that are sick are encouraged to go and have the elders

1. Pray over them
2. Anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord

and they are confirmed in their faith that they will be healed.   Implicit in this understanding is the laying on of hands, which is referred to as a basic building block of doctrine:

[Hbr 6:1-2 KJV] 1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
Laying on of hands, as has been mentioned several times in these studies was considered such a foundational understanding that when Paul in Hebrews wishes to teach the doctrines of Christ in depth,  he briefly refers to the foundations of doctrine which are considered the 'milk of the Word'.

 [Hbr 5:12 KJV] 12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which [be] the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

The elders 'show how' the gifts are to be done and the doctrines to be taught, and that is why their selection and character is central in the health of the church.   They have to be men of honour and honesty, temperate and good will and knowing the Word and doctrine,  or like an unlicensed driver without skill, the car would veer off the road.  When the passage in James refers to 'praying over them' it is understood that they mean at least much of the time the laying on of hands and not merely 'over' being a synonym for 'about'.    (See Being Made Whole).

Anointing With Oil

Why would God who is Spirit, need for us to have elders in healing 'anoint with oil'?   Isn't this a sort of religious ritual?   There is nothing in the Word that does not make sense or have a purpose.  From the very beginning, God includes the anointing with oil in a variety of circumstances including preparation for the Levitical and high Priesthood, and also on certain sacrifices.

[Exd 28:41 KJV] 41 And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office.
[Exd 29:7, 36 KJV] 7 Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour [it] upon his head, and anoint him. ...
36 And thou shalt offer every day a bullock [for] a sin offering for atonement: and thou shalt cleanse the altar, when thou hast made an atonement for it, and thou shalt anoint it, to sanctify it.
 The laying on of hands and the anointing with oil confers authority to do a thing, and the setting apart of the thing for God's purposes.  For example,  the sweet smelling 'hakatoret' of the temple anoints the holiest of the furniture of the Holy Place,  and is peculiar to the Temple with no duplications allowed:

[Exd 37:29 KJV] 29 And he made the holy anointing oil, and the pure incense of sweet spices, according to the work of the apothecary.
[Exd 30:38 KJV] 38 Whosoever shall make like unto that, to smell thereto, shall even be cut off from his people.

Moving back though to the original passage regarding the prayer for the sick, the anointing with oil and the prayer for the sick,  keeps in tact the organization of the church,  establishes supplication to God for the sick to be made well or whole,  and the anointing is obedience to a command which sets apart the person to God and his purposes, and obeys the Word for we are all a living sacrifice to him.    This leads to the next and critical way the prayer for the sick is to be done:

In the Name of the Lord

[Phl 2:9 KJV] 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

Even after Salvation, even after coming to Christ,  with the indwelling Holy Spirit,  we cannot just consider coming before God to be 'business casual Friday'.   God is holy, a fact we have lost in the modern evangelical Church.   We are not to make him an icon on the wall, or a statue in great cathedrals, but we are also not to for a moment forsake the holy awe with which we are to approach God.  He is our friend and brother, but he is also Creator of the Universe and Almighty God,  and somewhere in the sixties in our zealous attempts to make people not too afraid of God to receive him,  in an attempt for us to make people see his love,  we dismissed his holiness which can be equally dangerous.   Christian liberty never means we can rewrite the Bible and his commandments to suit our purposes, nor does it mean that God is our equal:  that is a crazy notion.  He has the love of a Father and brother,  the comfort of a good friend, our best friend, but he also hung the stars in space and is our sovereign King.  The proper understanding of our place before him requires the idea of both:  even in prayer, even in healing and the other gifts, after Salvation with the indwelling Spirit, we are to use his Holy Name and be in awe of his name in coming into his presence as we would for any earthly sovereign power.  We end our prayers or begin them "In the name of Jesus".  We call out demonic spirits, in HIS name,  since he has given us the authority of his name:

[Mar 16:17 KJV] 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
There are countless examples and apprisals regarding coming prayerfully and in awe, IN THE NAME OF GOD, in the name of his son JESUS or YSHUA, in order to approach God on this throne: he is our mediator and his son is given 'the name above all names' for he alone prevailed and overcame in the adjudication of mankind against the curse of the Fall.  Hence, it is no surprise that we find the healings, and gifts done 'in his name'.   We do not heal: Christ heals.  We do not 'prophesy' technicallly, Christ prophesies. We do not exhort in wisdom, given excellent explications of the Scriptures etc, Christ does, so what we do, we do 'in his name',  the name above all names,  our mediator, our righteousness and our sacrifice ,the only of which is sufficient to come before a Holy God.  When the elders pray for the sick,  anointing them with oil, it is in HIS name and power, not our own.

The Promise

The Promise to doing things God's Way is quite simply that the sick will get well.

 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.  BLB

There are three points here: the prayer of faith shall:

1. Save the Sick2. The Lord shall raise him up3. His sins shall be forgiven.

The sick shall be healed in obedience to faith.  It is as simple as that, yet we so seldom have the faith to even try it the way the Lord has prescribed.  Yes, there are people with the 'gift' of healing;  technically,  anyone who prays for the sick or infirm who is right with God should be able to pray for the sick or lay hands on the sick and they will get well,  but here, in the church,  the prescription for service and the reward of the faithful is very clearly spelled out.  The word for 'save' is the same used often for Salvation:


'sotzo' or sozo, and connotes a deliverance to safety, a rescue, etc.  No doubt if one were unbeliever healed in this way,  the healing will probably afford salvation in the long run,  but there is never a mistake in the use of this or any other word in scripture,  though here the sick are 'rescued' or delivered from pain and suffering, foreshadowing the deliverance of salvation.   The Lord shall 'raise him up' also foreshadows the resurrection, though here it means raising up from a sick bed,  the word is used in regard to many healings in the New Testament:


egeiro: which is also used of the raising from the dead even by the apostles in the Book of Acts, e.g.:

Acts 3:6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up  and walk
The rising up and 'coming back to life or health' is seen in the case of Dorcas raised from the dead, and in the above passage of the lame beggar being restored to full function,  leaping for joy at the dismissal of years of bondage.  Great joy is had by all in the healing of a suffering person,  reinforcing faith in those who prayed, at the ways and promises of God being true and trustworthy, and in the one who is healed.  This act of healing reinforces faith, and the cohesion of the Church,  and so it is no surprise either that the last point is that "His sins shall be forgiven:

His Sins Shall be Forgiven

Forgiveness of Sins is the culmination of the great plan and harvest of God, in that loosing us from the bondage of the Fall of Adam,  our sins are taken from us,  as though they had never been,  not by our own actions or pleadings, but by the one great work of God in the atonement on the Cross.  The prayer for the sick in literal, natural illness parallels and shows the plan of salvation:  sin has left us 'sick' and diseased, missing the mark, away from God and his love and purpose:  in His Name,  in supplication,  we are made whole by His work and act on the Cross and in his Resurrection we are raised to Life and the wholeness of life in Christ.  This call for prayer for the sick is not the only time that the forgiveness of sins and healing are paralleled, and in fact, one time,  when seeking healing,  the hearers surrounding Jesus are astonished to find that he forgives sin, and that first, before the healing:

[Mat 9:2-6 KJV] 2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. 3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This [man] blasphemeth. 4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? 5 For whether is easier, to say, [Thy] sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? 6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.
Note that first, Yshua forgives sin,  and is accused of blasphemy, for only God can forgive sin.   He makes the point though, that the forgiveness of sin is primary, for it is the thing keeping us from both natural and divine healing and from having whole lives.   To demonstrate that he is in no way 'blaspheming', being the incarnate God,  he then directs the man with palsy to 'Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house': the healing is immediate and presupposed:  he does not even address the palsy,  but in faith extraordinaire' takes the higher ground of the healing having already occurred in the command to 'take up thy bed and go' which would not be possible if the healing had not occurred.


The healing of the sick then upholds

1. The Order and Government of the Church, and heals the body
2. Confirms the basic doctrine of prayer and the laying on of hands
3. Confirms the 'setting apart' of healing as the work of God through the anointing with oil
4. Shows the way of Salvation
5. Imputes the forgiveness of sin,
6. Provides cohesion to the Body of Christ, and
7. Reinforces faith in all, along with a healed person

The Word of God outlines procedures not to call us to religious ritual, but to maintain the ways, teachings and purposes of God in a wondrous work.  When we obey, we see the miracles of God still extant today yet when we go our own way or repetitively mouth the words, 'that was for then, this is now', we miss the great goodness of God in the many gifts he has given us.  The prayer for the sick is a prayer for us all, soon to be healed by the great and good Lord of Life.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

A short note regarding copyright

The bible teaches that the Word of God is not bound. (2 Tim 2:9) I have held to that principle in studies as well, but must make the point that the copyrights of the material on this blog and which has been on this blog, belong to me the author. Though it is a 'restriction', it has been done to keep the work 'unbound' from the crass merchandising of others.

According to the Federal Copyright Law of 1976 and the Berne Universal Treaty, an author or creator of a work owns the work and the copyright from the time the work is a fixed work. No one else may register a copyright on the work. No one else may modify the work without my permission. No one else may sell, or decide on the usage of the work beside myself. No one else may represent the work.

To fill out a form and pay a fee to the copyright office does not mean you own a work, unless it is yours, or you have purchased it from the author. I do not sell the healing studies, and have never worked with anyone else on them, nor ever transferred copyright to another. For this reason, anyone claiming they have a copyright on my work is committing blatant fraud. This has become such a problem in the american church, that is necessary to post this notice, to protect the work.

The healing studies are 'free for use' but not to copyright by another person who couldn't care less if they merchandise God's Word or not. Please be aware that the bible studies in this blog may be freely used as often as one wishes within a ministry, church or home study, but MAY NOT BE BOUGHT OR SOLD, OR PUT UNDER ANOTHER NAME, NOR ALTERED IN ANY WAY, ESPECIALLY DOCTRINALLY. The studies are for the benefit of the believer and church, and this is the only way to keep them free and useful, and protect my right to my own work.
In Christ
Elizabeth Kirkley Best

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Healing of the Man with Dropsy: Healing on Shabbat

This study has mysteriously disappeared from an earlier time, so I am republishing the audio for any who are interested.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

All little Lambs: Jesus Raises Jairus' daughter from the dead

Tuesday, January 25, 2011 previous studies, we have already considered the times Jesus raised children of Israel from the dead. In the last study, we looked at the wondrous raising of the Widow of Nain's son, stopping a funeral procession in progress, and granting back to a mourning mother, her one surviving son. With the raising of her son, Jesus brought hope back to the mother in Israel, not far from where Elijah had raised the son of the widow of Zarephath from the dead. 

 The most astounding raising from the dead was that of Lazarus, no doubt, as so many attended, and Jesus raised a man 4 days dead, whose name means 'who God helps'. A reminder also of the admonishment, that raising from the dead is unique among the healings of the Lord, as all other healings are toward the living.  The purpose of both kinds of healing is to be made whole, but the raising from death is even more a sign to Israel, that Jesus, Yshua was "the resurrection and the Life" and not merely of the nature of prophets that had gone before. He showed not only a restoring of life once in centuries, but several times in a three year span, that life and death were held in the hands of the Lord and Savior.

As Jesus travels through the region of Galilee,  he has just prior to this event attended to the healing of the 'madman' of the Gadarenes,  who wandered through the tombs of Israel, insane and distraught.  Restored to health, Jesus sends him to tell what he has done for him,  and returns to the ship crossing back over the Galilee.  As he returns, he encounters a man named Jairus,  of whom we are only told is a "ruler of the synagogue" but certainly also a loving and :


And, behold, there came a man  named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down at  Jesus' feet, and besought him that he would come into his house: Luke 8:41

It is noteworthy that the father seeks Jesus out, and in grief and mourning, leaves the bedside of his daughter and weeping wife, and leaves to find this 'Yshua', the son of David. News of Jesus' healings must have travelled far:  without telephones or broadcasts,  word of the cure of the madman, or the man released from the demonic spirit in the synagogue at Capernaum still must have been heard of by some who went out to see and returned 'the other side of the lake' to tell about this astonishing teacher and healer.  Perhaps it was in desperation or in utter faith, that Jairus comes to 'fall down at Jesus' feet',  a gracious act of humility and supplication.   Now, a ruler of a synagogue if he was less than humble could have approached Jesus in demanding that he come right away,  but the abasement of spirit shows a truer faith, that the Lord could indeed do something even to the point of raising the little girl from death.   This was a remarkable and loving display of great faith in Israel.

The little girl was only 12, and there is no doubt she was dying as the words 'lay a dying' or

ποθνσκω (apothnēskō)

 means to die without dissension, not merely the possibility of it.  Jesus leaves immediately at the father's request and heads to Jairus' house.  

For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But as he went the people thronged him. Luk 8:42

As soon as he turns in that direction though, he is thronged by crowds of people who wish healing, teaching or who have come to see the wonder in Israel.  It must have been a trying experience for Jesus to purpose to go immediately to attend to the death of a little girl and not even be able to get through, for the press of people who confront him:  it is not unlike today that all had their self-interest at heart, perhaps even with a good motive, wishing to be healed of a multitude of diseases and devils,  but the Lord's heart was focused upon the love for a little girl and her sorrow filled family.

This is the one healing out of the Bible as far as I can recall, that is interrupted by a parenthetical healing.  As Jesus leaves to attend to Jairus' household, a woman with an issue of blood touches only the 'hem of his garment', and another healing is recounted while on the way to the little girl's side.  That healing is dealt with in another study.  After the healing of the woman, before the Savior arrives at his destination with his disciples, he is met by either servants or one of the household of Jairus:

Luk 8:49 While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue's [house], saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master.

Consider that they come to tell Jairus that his daughter has died, and to keep him from beseeching the 'Master' or messiah, didaskalos meaning particularly 'teacher' (as in didactics) but as Thayer's lexicon notes, is used of the Messiah as the 'teacher of Salvation'.  Curiously no where and no one in scripture is viewed favorably for trying to stop someone from seeking Yshua. (Mark 10:14).

It took a great deal of faith to even seek out Jesus in this healing:  he was out of favor with the religious hierarchy of the day,  and many had been threatened with disfellowship from the synagogue if they followed after this itinerate Rabbi.
Jhn 9:22 These [words] spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.

  Jhn 12:42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess [him], lest they should be put out of the synagogue:

Jairus, though was undaunted:  he sought the Savior, he humbled himself before the Savior, and even at the news of his daughter's death, he did not lay down his faith. Jesus though, hearing the rebuke, promises a healing beyond death:

Luk 8:50  But when Jesus heard [it], he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.

We see again here, the call of Jesus for the people of Israel to "be made whole",  to come back into the state of wholeness, health, equilibrium, to the right state and condition in which they were created.  Apart from 'wholeness' we 'miss the mark' whether it is due to sin or disease (dis-ease).   We also see again though the command to “Fear Not: believe only…”   What an astounding command that is coming from the Lord and Savior about to stand beside the death bed of a child, to the broken parents.  Truly it would cruel if He had not the power to raise the little girl, but in this healing as in so many he was after their faith.

Fear is an often misunderstood concept in the Scriptures.  When we think of fear, we consider the mundane incidents of some threatening occurrence which leaves us frightened.   Fear in the scripture is sometimes used that way, and sometimes used to indicate awe or reverence, as in the admonishments to ‘fear God’  or ‘the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom’.  (Psalm 111:10)  Indeed in the New Testament in the book of Revelation, fear is a sin equated with even murder, as a form of unbelief leading to spiritual death:

Rev 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Fear is a form of unbelief.  That is why Jesus is cautioning or really commanding the parents not to fear:  the fear they have is the fear of suffering the loss and the pain of mourning, of not having their beautiful daughter with them in life.     The word for fear is straightforward:


The word from which derives our word ‘phobia’ or ‘phobic’.  It is speaking of raw fear, terror, or a sort of horror.  When Jesus says ‘fear not’ it is because he knows that within moments, the little girl will be back with them, alive,and the sorrow will cease, but he is looking for their faith.  “Believe only” and she shall be made whole is the prescription for fear.  ‘Believe’ and that with nothing added in: no words, no actions, no rituals or candles,  but belief:  that is what the Savior exacts from those he heals.   Fear and unbelief go together.  Belief goes with boldness and a lack of fear.  To the natural mind, this is an insurmountable task at the thought of a daughter who has just died:  to the spiritual mind, it is trust in the living God.

As Jesus approaches the bedside of Jairus’ daughter, he allows in with him only Peter, James and John, and the parents. (Luke 8: 51)   Even in this Jesus’ thoughtfulness and love for people is seen:  12 year old little girls are often very modest and concerned about what others think:  Jesus has thought ahead to her waking, and must have known it would have been too traumatic to waking from death to find a crowd staring down, not to mention the parents need for quiet and privacy at such intense emotions and act of faith.   We often read over the healings and miracles as though they occur in a vacuum,  as though Jesus perfunctorily performs the miracle or healing and then walks away.  Yet just as he is always eliciting faith from the Children of Israel and the others he heals, he also is constantly showing the love of God.

The love is God is what the whole Gospel is about, surely what the whole Bible is about.  The love for others that Jesus shows in the Gospels attend every healing though his words and actions at time may seem a little exacting:  his ultimate concern is for their health, wholeness and wellbeing,  in the context of the tenderloving kindness of God.  He turns no one away, he is not offended by the sick, or lame, or those with grotesque deformities: he does not see the people he heals as the disease nor affliction they carry but as the person afflicted by the disease in need of liberty and wholeness.  This is what the Lord offers, as he does here to mourning parents.  He is also attendant on the wholeness of the young maid.

The Raising of Jairus’ Daughter

As Jesus draws near to the little girl though,  the thing he says further confounds expectations:

Luke 8:52  And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not: she is not dead, but sleepeth.

There was no doubt here that the little girl was dead:  Jairus’ father knew she was near death when he sought Jesus; Jairus’ servants knew when they sent for Jairus to tell him not to bother the Master,  and as Jesus leaves to go to Jairus’ house and enters we find grieving parents and that “all wept and bewailed her..(Luke 8:53)”   The little girl had just passed away.   Jesus’ word then “Weep not: she is not dead, but sleepeth” seem utterly preposterous to the  crowd standing around,  yet seemingly contradictory : sleep is not death.  Jesus,  I do not believe was saying that she was not dead, only that as a point in comfort,  that death, in the hands of God, is but sleep and that further, what begins as death, in his hands becomes sleep.    In ancient mythology sleep and death were seen as ‘twins’,  and while the context is certainly not that,  Jesus though somewhat misunderstood,  is speaking life into her:  “she is not dead”.  The Life, speaks life, and life comes back from death, and indeed, ‘sleepeth’.   It was hardly the faith of the scorners who exacted the miracle of resurrection.

Jesus puts the crowd out in the room where the daughter lies,  and does two things:  he takes here by the hand, and he commands her to arise:

Luke 8:54  And he put them all out, and took her by the hand and called, saying, “Maid, Arise”.

One renown ministry, Chuck Smith in a curious word study notes through the origin of the word, that maid bears the connotation of ‘lamb’,  as in ‘little lamb arise’,  and while I truly hold to the perfection and inerrancy of the word,  there is a root for both.

 While there is no error in translation,  it points again to his merciful and tender nature, and shows the magnificent concern for the life-from-death of all of the Good and Great Shepherd’s lambs.  We have noted in other studies this command ‘arise’.     In Mark 5: 41, the exact command in Aramaic is given:

And he took the damsel by the hand and said unto her, Talitha cumi: whi is being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee,arise.  Mark 5: 41.

“Talitha” or more closely ‘talita’ comes from the origin ‘taleh’ meaning lamb or a young lamb.  ‘Cumi’ comes from ‘kuom’ meaning ‘arise’ but when the interpretation is given in the scripture the word is
which is the word that indicates arise in other healings, meaning ‘arouse from sleep’  or raise from the dead, and its use as rise or raise is the eminent useage.    Curiously both phrases reflect back on the dual usage and reference of Jesus to sleep and death.

Little Lamb Arise

The culmination of the astonishing encounter,  is that she is made immediately well:

Luke 8:55  And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.  56 And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.

The spirit of the little girl ‘comes again’ meaning it had departed , also indicating that she had indeed died,  and the healing from death is immediate.   Many modern healers lay hands on the sick,  often without even being born again believers,  and claim that though the healing does not show, it will come about.  The healings of Jesus and the apostles were immediate:  not only does this little lamb arise ‘straightway’  but Jesus, in the love of God he has walked in,  commands that she be fed,  a rather complete healing with no recovery period.   The astonished parents . Mark 5: 42 notes also that she walked. 

The fame of the incident according to Matthew 9:26 spread abroad though in the other two accounts of the gospel in which the raising is spoken of,  Jesus commands that no one should spread it abroad.   This comes up with several healings, and has always been a point of discussion:  why would Jesus not want people to tell of the healing?

It is clear that regardless of any admonition of Jesus not to spread it abroad, almost every time the command went out in Israel it was disobeyed.   I have always suspected it was because the crowds were already growing out of control,  and it was very difficult for Jesus to find the quiet and rest he needed to draw near to the Father (he was one with the Father, but the quiet and prayer were still necessary in a tabernacle of flesh),  and the clamor of the noisome world must have been almost painful to him.  

The little girl arose though, returned to her parents, and the news of a raising from death spread across Israel.  It was the foreshadowing with the other resurrections, of one yet to come, which would astonish the world for the next 2000 years.

Till next time.  Grace and Peace from the Lord and Savior, Blessings.


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Posted by Elizabeth K. Best, PhD at 1/25/2011 02:29:00 PM

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Second Widow's Son: The Messiah to Nain

According to the city of Nain was located just 7 miles outside of Nazareth, where the Lord and Savior was raised, and one could see it from Nain. Nain lay just on the north side of Moreh, the hill of the Rabbi, the place Abraham had set the first altar of God, between Sichem and Moreh. The authority and sovereignty of the 'shoulder' (Sichem or Shechem) and the hill of the Rabbi leave little doubt, that this place was ordained one day for a great work of God, and the history of Israel had already proven it: long before Jesus came to Nain, Elijah had already raised the son of the Shulamite widow, the Widow of Zarephath, in a city nearby[] many centuries before the day the Lord and his disciples came to the gate of Nain.1

Jesus and his disciples have just been in Capernaum the day before, where he encountered a Roman Centurion, a friend of the local synagogue, who pleaded on behalf of his servant who was sick. Healing the soldier's servant by the word of his mouth, Jesus commended the Centurion, a gentile, for faith greater than he had found in Israel: a remarkable commendation.The authority of the Lord and Savior was comprehended by a representative of brutal Rome, who understood power and authority.

Leaving Capernaum, on the next day, Jesus and his disciples come to the gates of the city of Nain, meaning 'pleasant'.
Luke 7:11 And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people.

Jesus walked always in sovereign paths, so it would be error to suggest that they 'happened on' a funeral in a random city, nonetheless Jesus and his disciples,as they enter the gate of Nain on the North side of Moreh, encounter the weeping and mourning of a death procession for the only son of a widow of Nain.

Funeral processions in those days in Israel were not the sanitized ceremonies we have now in the 21st century, with brief memorials. Death and life were important in Israel, and even though death was all around in Roman-occupied Israel, through open killings and crucifixion, and even live burnings. Remembering the deceased person, though was not an hour long quiet memorial: it often lasted days, especially for an important person. When Jacob [Israel] dies, Joseph leads a band of Egyptian government officials back to Machpelah and 'AbelMizraim' {the sorrow of Egypt] to make mourning for his father, lasting some time:
Gen 50:9And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen: and it was a very great company. Gen 50:10 And they came to the threshingfloor of Atad, which [is] beyond Jordan, and there they mourned with a great and very sore lamentation: and he made a mourning for his father seven days. Gen 50:11 And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning in the floor of Atad, they said, This [is] a grievous mourning to the Egyptians: wherefore the name of it was called Abelmizraim, which [is] beyond Jordan.

The death of the great man and father Jacob was mourned first seven days with a small army and entourage in attendance, even commemorating with a name change the place of mourning. As Jesus enters into Nain, though the son's name is not mentioned, nor is there knowledge of his eminence, there does appear to be a great attendance on the death of this only son:
Luk 7:12 Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.

Widows and only Sons

The plight that met the widow on that sad morning, caused Jesus to be greatly moved: it is not made clear when his own earthly father Joseph died, but it appears to have been before his ministry, so Jesus both from the mind of Messiah as well as from experience growing up knew how hard it was for a widow in Israel. These were the days long before welfare systems and retirement homes: a woman whose husband died was remanded to family members to care for her: if the man had brothers or a living father, they were to provide for her, and in both testaments, 'raise up seed' for the deceased son. If a woman had no living relatives, her children were to care for her if she was of a certain age, for it was hardly a day of women's rights, and women were seldom hired for more than menial tasks. A widow therefore would hardly be able to take care of herself, and given the rebuke of Jesus to the Pharisees regarding the 'devouring of widow's houses' it was highly likely, that little help was to be found at the Temple, though this was their charge. (e.g. Anna the prophetess who abode at the temple).

One can only imagine that the hardship for this widow in Nain was even worse than for most, for having lost her husband, she now was losing her son, which meant a very sorrowful life of want and trial in old age. Jesus had compassion. He comforts her and admonishes her not to weep; this would certainly be insensitive, unless he intended a great work of God to follow:

Luk 7:13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.

Much of what Jesus does in the New Testament does not require words, or only requires words. As Jesus comforts the widow, the admonition not to weep is with great cause: he walks over to the bier that the pallbearers are carrying and with only a touch, they stop, and Jesus commands the son who has died, to rise:

Luk 7:14 And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare [him] stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.

It is interesting to note that the pallbearers stand still with Jesus' touch of the bier. It is also interesting to note that Jesus is touching death: if the son did not arise at command, this would have been an unclean act for a rabbi in Israel. Jesus does touch the bier though, and gives the command so often heard "Arise".
The word 'arise' seems very clear, and certainly is, just as it is accurate. The greek word for arise is


The meaning can range from getting up from a static position, to rising from death,  and is used in many of the healings Jesus and later the apostles performed.  At the very least, the implication is a change in state.

No sooner are the words spoken by the Lord,  the young man from Nain sits up in his coffin and begins to speak.  The dead son is no longer dead, and is delivered to his mother:

"And he that was dead sat up and began to speak.  And he delivered him to his mother"  Luke 7:15

The reaction of the people at the funeral,  wailing in the procession,  is understandably one of raw astonishment:  they had no doubt heard of Jesus and the miracles he was performing in the region:  having just arrived from Capernaum,  a short distance,  he had just healed by word alone the Centurion's servant, and previously cast out devils in the synagogue there.  Similarly, his fame was spreading rapidly,  as he healed a man of palsy,  Peter's mother-in-law,  and a multitude of others:  even John the Baptist in Herod's prison, sent messengers to ask him if he were the Messiah or were they to look for another.   As the disciples walked into Nain, and as Jesus spoke the words that healed the mother's only son,  the fulfillment of their expectations was solidified.

The passage regarding their reaction mentions that they were struck with fear.

"and there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people." 7:16
There is a healthy fear of God that often confronts one who encounters God in a 'theophany' or 'christophany' such as when Daniel is confronted by an angel from Heaven, or similarly, Ezekiel.  The awe and glory of God is great, unexpected,  and beyond the range of normal experience.   In the venue of 'normal' experience, we adapt easily to things within a general range of experience.  When something unexpected or even phenomenal happens, we still have the ability to assimilate or accommodate the new information:  e.g. if someone sees an object in the sky that is not an expected one,  they 'adapt' the idea to the category of 'flying objects'  and until more is known, are satisfied with the general comfort zone of what they believe will be explained.

Here, though,  the crowd is at a funeral:  they are headed in the direction of a burial,  and instead of a burial and mourning,  the intrusion of life over death enters in,  defying description or understanding and causing fear:  Israel was no stranger to at least some miracles by this point, they were the 'children of the prophets' and through the centuries there had been many unusual events,  including the raising of a child to life by Elijah, (1 Kings 17:21-22) or the miracle of the 8 days of oil for the Maccabees.  However, the one raising from death was many centuries before, and oil lasting 8 days, while astonishing, is not the same, as a boy sitting up at his funeral,  raised from death by the touch of the Messiah.   Fear is often a reaction to what cannot be understood or comfortably fit into any mental or emotional framework we understand.   Certainly also, the presence of Messiah was so astounding that even the touching of his hem in one instance brought healing: there was a sense of his glory.   The first assumption though, was that Jesus was a prophet, or 'nabe' for at least the office of prophet still existed and was comprehended. (e.g. Anna and Simeon, at Jesus' birth both gave prophetic utterances and blessings).

In any event, the fear was more of an awesome fear,  equated with 'God visiting his people':  the people who witnessed the raising from death did not see it as some mere 'rousing from sleep',  but as a real coming back to life,  which indicates that there was no question in the minds of all that the son had indeed died.

In the end,  restored to life and his mother,  Jesus had brought unspeakable joy and hope to the bleakest of situations.   Rumors regarding the event stirred though, and also travelled throughout all Israel:   as mentioned, when John the Baptist heard, he immediately dispatched his disciples to inquire of Christ's Messiahship.    They ask:

Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? 7:20b

Before Jesus even answers,  the answer comes in the events before them: 

7:21  And in that same hour, he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight.

Opening the eyes of the blind was a sign of Messiah,  and here, Jesus raises the dead, cures disease, casts out evil spirits and heals blindness,  in addition to the opening of the eyes of the man blind since birth in John 9.  These miraculous events were for a purpose in Israel:  they were to confirm and declare the Messiah by signs which were prophesied in the Torah over the centuries.  Jesus answers the question of whether he is the Messiah or not for John's disciples succinctly:

"Go you way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the ded are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.  23 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me." Luke 7:22-3

Here in Nain, the Resurrection and the Life shows his sovereign power over life and death:  there is no power death holds, than he holds one greater.  This son of God, son of David, and son of a mother who by then it is assumed was alone in the world,  understood completely the plight of woman attending her son's funeral.   Beyond mere Love (as if it is 'mere'),  the love of God is demonstrated in the raising from death and countless other healings,  which declare that the power and presence of God is among men, and there for a purpose.  The one who affirms, "I am the Resurrection and the Life"  and " I am the Way, the Truth and the Life"  gives life, and before the end of his ministry,  will show the great triumph, of life over death.

Till the next. ekbest.

1"Nain", in Ancient Sandals[]

Saturday, October 09, 2010

She Glorified God: The Woman with the 18 year Infirmity

A Daughter of Abraham is Healed on Shabbat
Note: The first half of this study was erased while I was writing it. Please be patient in its reconstruction.
Jesus has recently left Bethany where Mary and Martha lived. He also has, before the healing at hand, cast out devils. En route from Bethany to Jerusalem, Jesus confronts a tragedy, which is on the hearts and minds of all who are attending to his teaching: a tower has fallen and crushed many to death in Siloam, and Pilate has killed worshipers and mingled their blood with their sacrifices.

Luk 13:1 There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
The question at hand was whether it was their sin or not which had caused the tragedy:
Luk 13:2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?
Luk 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
Luk 13:4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?
Luk 13:5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish

Israel throughout its history, had a sense of immanent justice: that sin brought judgment, and they conversely reasoned that if sin brought judgment, then when one suffered tragedy or severe consequences, there must have been an antecedent sin. Jesus though seeks to teach the principle that "the rain falls on the just and the evil alike". He warns Israel, that whether or not the grave consequence is judgment or part of the natural occurrences of life, that repentance from sin should be ever at hand, as should the 'handbreadth' of our days: repentance is required always as we do not know the moment of our death.

The Lord turns to teach the parable of the fig tree, also right before the healing, with relevance both for the healing and the wellbeing of Israel. A man has a fig tree, and it is left with the vinedresser to care for. The man comes looking for the figs in the third year. (In Levitical law, the third year of a tree, the first fruits, belong to God). Finding no fruit, the owner is willing to have the tree cut down. The vinedresser, though begs the owner for one last chance at the fruitfulness of the tree, when it is given proper loving care, and carefully attended to.
Luk 13:7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?
Luk 13:8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung [it]:
Luk 13:9 And if it bear fruit, [well]: and if not, [then] after that thou shalt cut it down.
Note that the owner finding no fruit, declares that the tree, without its right purpose of fruit, is 'missing the mark': it 'cumbereth the ground' or essentially is taking up space for no reason. The vinedresser though begs for one more year: when the tree is properly tended, then it will bear fruit or not: the vinedresser begs for mercy. The tree is Israel, and the Lord has come looking for fruit in the third millennia, finding none, the Messiah begs for the fourth year, when healed and loved, it will bear the expected fruit in its right purpose.

The Synagogue and the Woman with the 18 year Infirmity

It is no small coincidence that immediately prior to this healing, that Jesus tells the parable of the fig, and points to a lack of repentance toward God in the prior passage. Jesus takes his place teaching at the Synagogue this Shabbat, and the woman with the 18 year infirmity is there. The word for 'infirmity' in the Greek is:

or astheneia which refers to a weakness or illness of a bodily sort, or generally a disease or sickness.

Eighteen years is a long time to be plagued with a condition which keeps one weak and unable to live life unencumbered---just as the fig tree did not have the proper ground and care to grow, so the woman was being held captive in her condition. Her condition was so serious, that she could not lift herself up:

And behold there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity of eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. Luke 13:11

Some physical conditions are so debilitating that they bind a person in a literal prison of flesh: this woman was so bent and weak that she could not stand nor sit.
There is no witness that the woman sought help, probably assuming that the lengthy condition was beyond the healing of God. In this healing, unlike many others, it is Jesus himself who reaches out to her:

And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman thou art loosed from thine infirmity.

It is one of the healings that involves the Laying on of hands:

And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. Luke 13:13

One can barely imagine the joy of being suddenly free of a lifelong affliction. The response of the healed in Israel was almost always joy and praise. She glorified God. Who beside God could have healed such a permanent ailment?

The Healed Woman's Reaction vs. The Ruler of the Synagogue

Consider the utter joy and praise of the healed woman whom Jesus encounters in the synagogue. He is there teaching like no other, and in the midst of the teaching, the great work of God is done, and the healed woman rejoices. That is drawing near to God: that is a relationship with God. Consider also though, the reaction of the Ruler of the Synagogue near at hand. His concern? The healing took place on Shabbat. Is it right to heal on shabbat? We have seen this dilemma elsewhere in many healings; the man with the withered hand is healed on Shabbat, and so are several others. Jesus makes it clear, though, that Shabbat and healing go together: Shabbat was for healing. The Ruler is displaying 'religion'; the woman is displaying the joy unspeakable of being in the presence of the Lord and Savior, and seeing his work. It is the dichotomy and conundrum of the ages in the Church: that a miracle of God occurs in front of all, and the religious want to assess instead of praise God. The ruler is very austere in his condemnation, using the Word itself to find fault, a practice known since the Garden:

And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work; in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.

The Ruler is concerned that healing is work, but the command of the sabbath regards 'servile' work. Jesus is master of the Sabbath, of Shabbat: he is the 7th day rest: healing is rest and restoration. Healing is the work of God. Jesus is just as succinct though in the defense of the healing:

The Lord then answered him and said, Thou hypocrite, doth noth each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? 16 And ought not this woman being a daughter of Abraham whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed form this bond on the sabbath day? Luke 13:15-16

Notice that the Lord refers to her as a daughter of Abraham. Why shouldn't mercy be shown on Shabbat? With the Lord right there intrinsically declaring the righteousness of the healing? She was set free from a Satanic binding: she was delivered, on Shabbat into fullness of right purpose, because the proper ground had been given her, just as with the fig tree.

On more than one healing when the issue of healing on Sabbath is brought up, Jesus notes that the religious of the day will pull an ox out of a ditch, to protect their pocketbooks and the animal, and yet they find fault with showing mercy on the day of rest. This woman had been in captivity 18 years! Under the worst of taskmasters! The Lord of Abraham, healed a daughter of Abraham to her right purpose. How could we not even still glorify God for restoring his people to wholeness!

The People Rejoice

Until this point, the people in attendance at the synagogue are not mentioned, but now, seemingly with permission, they rejoice:

And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed; and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him. Luke 13:17

The ruler of the Synagogue, the Pharisees and Sadducees, and other religious officers, had such a legalistic bind on Israel, that the fulfilling of ordinances and interpretation of ordinances was more important to them than the fullfilling of the Covenant, the everlasting Covenant. Their binding of the people was as serious and as lengthy as the 18 'astheneia' or infirmity: they had Israel bowed and bent in a permananent palsy, unable to look up, stand up or sit up. Jesus was out for faith and love: the Rabbi from Nazareth and heaven wanted them delivered, healed and free, properly nutured to be the fullness of who they were: sons and daughters of Abraham.

Till next time.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Leper in Israel: Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

Leprosy was not a new disease in Israel, for by the time of the Messiah, it had been contended with over the ages. Early Levitical laws dealt with careful prescriptions regarding how to deal with the disease, and how a cure might be affected. One thing was certain though, a person, house or garment assessed with leprosy was deemed 'unclean' and the person had to be separated, the house possibly destroyed, and the garment burned. The status of 'uncleaness' was more than ceremonial: it designated a person as unfit to live among others, and became down through the history of Israel a metaphorical ensign for sin, the spiritual uncleanness which separates man from God, and men from other men.

Jesus Heals a Man with Leprosy

It is after Jesus has healed the demoniac in the synagogue, casting out a devil and after Jesus heals Peter's Mother in Law of a great fever, that Jesus encounters the man with leprosy. The healing follows also the immediate healing of a multitude at the door of Peter's house on that evening, and the healing follows also the Sermon on the Mount: Jesus, having shown God's glory in his home region, now turns to "the next towns" (Mk 1:38) where he preaches throughout Galilee, casting out devils Mk1:39)

On his journey, he encounters a Leper:

And behold thee came a Leper and worshipped him, saying, LORD, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." Matthew 8:2

Luke 5:12 describes the man as "full of Leprosy", and as such, the desperate man was probably not to have been out and about, for lepers were segregated in Israel, and were required to call out to passer-byes to circumvent their pathway. (Lev 13:45) Leprosy as mentioned is found both in the Old and New Testament. The term in Hebrew for leprosy is


and included multiple skin diseases, and is probably a broader term than the New Testament


Leprosy in both Old and NT times was seen as an infection of the skin, but in the Old Testament could extend to a sort of mildew of the house or clothing.

In the New Testament, "Lepra" seems more specific: Lepers were colonized and had to cover their skin and face, and alert all of their condition. They were "unclean" ceremonially and physically, as described in Leviticus 13 and could not be touched: their exile was one of separation. The word in Hebrew, zara-at is related to words suggested as a 'depression' of the skin, having a 'march' or progress.

Lev 13:2-3 When a man shall have in the skin of the flesh a rising, a scab or a bright spot, and it be in the skin of his flesh like the plague of leprosy; then he shall be brought unto Aaron the priest, or unto one of his sons the priests."

If the skin is depressed and the hair in it turns white, "...
it is a plague of leprosy..."

The symptoms require declaring the person 'unclean'.

Cleanness vs. Wholeness
We have spoken for the past five years in these studies on healing about the idea of 'wholeness' of which Jesus spoke, of 'being made whole'. Most healings require the person with an infirmity moved back to an 'equilibrium' where all is right and as it should be: words like 'health' or 'wholeness' are equitable. 'Be made whole' is a frequent command of the Savior in the healings he performed. However, in two conditions, there are additional concerns: in vexation and the casting out of devils, there is a release from demonic control, which brings about healing and a whole state, and in Leprosy, in addition to simple healing, the exists the issue of 'cleaness'.

Being made whole in the Hebrew is 'rapha', a healing associated with God, which restores one to a 'right state'. In Greek, the word for the same idea is 'sozo' as in save (salvation), to save from judgment, or also to "keep sound".

The word 'clean, though, is "Katharizo" (same root as the English word 'catharsis')which carries the connotation of cleansing or purifying from sin, or to 'make clean'. While both dovetail in the healing of leprosy, the unclean state is of importance, because one of Jesus' works was to deliver from sin, and to purify Israel and believers to come. Jesus readily touches the man to heal him. This is a most unusual act for a Rabbi of the time, for according to Levitical law it would have left him unclean for a period of 7 days, unless he bore the exemption of a divine condition, the only such case in history or the Bible.

The Request for Healing: The Worship of a Rabbi named 'Salvation'

Down from the mountain, this healing is occurring in front of all those who have seen other healings and heard the words of this life, of the Kingdom of God as never before in Israel. They must have indeed have been astounded at the Rabbi from Capernaum who was willing to touch a Leper of no social standing whatsoever right after preaching the most famous sermon ever given.

More astounding however is the remarkable way the man approaches Jesus of Nazareth, of Galilee. No one in Israel, in a sound mind, would ever have fallen in worship to a man: it was basically unspeakable- it would be blasphemy against God and a violation of the first commandment, to "have no other gods before me". This man though, having only recently encountered Jesus, and most likely having seen his healings and works does exactly that:

"And behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying Lord if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean" (Mt 8:2)
"And there came a leper to him, beseeching him and kneeling down to him,

"...who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him saying Lord, if thou wilt, thou cast make me clean" Luke 5:12

Why would any Jewish man in any condition fall prostrate before another in worship? Something in Jesus evoked this response, not only in this healing but in several others (samples from Matthew):
Matthew 2:11
And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.

Matthew 8:2 (already given)
And, behold, there came a leper and worshiped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

Matthew 9:18
While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.

Matthew 14:33
Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

Matthew 15:25
Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.

Matthew 28:9
And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.

Matthew 28:17
And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.

These Jewish believers (a a few gentiles) knew that to worship a mere man would disfellowship them from the Synagogue and most likely the community, but they were compelled to worship him, and more than that in one instance, to declare him the "Son of God". The power of God in this one was so eminent, that the act of worship was natural.

Now, any normal Rabbi would have immediately rebuked the worship, but Jesus responds with healing. He does not rebuke them. Even after Pentecost, where Paul and Barnabas are treated as 'gods' they express their heartfelt sorrow:

Acts 14:14

Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out,...

Jesus receives the obeisance and responses to the man's cry for mercy:

And Jesus put forth his hand and touched him,saying I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was clean Matt 8:3

Like all of the healings, the man with leprosy is immediately cured after having shown, of his own initiation, faith in the Lord and Savior to perform the healing. In many of the other healings, Jesus asks if they believe, but this man 'full of leprosy' runs to the feet of the Lord, falls down, and worships him in humble supplication. The reward for his faith is immediate: the leprosy is cured.
The worship of the Messiah is never chastised or punished by God or his Messiah: however the religious elite threaten many who did with expulsion, for even saying he was the Messiah. (e.g. John 9)

The command of Jesus of Nazareth

Levitical law was very clear that after a healing for Leprosy in Old Testament times, the leper was to present himself before the priest(s) and only the priest could declare him clean:

2 This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest:

3 And the priest shall go forth out of the camp; and the priest shall look, and, behold, if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper;

4 Then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop:

5 And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water:

6 As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water:

7 And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field.

8 And he that is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, and shave off all his hair, and wash himself in water, that he may be clean: and after that he shall come into the camp, and shall tarry abroad out of his tent seven days...(all of Lev 14)

Jesus, the author of grace does in no way contradict nor supercede the Torah, or law, but commands the healed Leper to present himself to the priest in accordance with Levitical precepts and Mosaic law:

And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded for a testimony unto them. Matt 8:4

Two issues are here: one apparent and one hidden: the apparent one, is that true to his word, Jesus (Yshua) Christ (Meschiach or Messiah) did not come to do away with the Law but to fulfill it. His command to the Leprous man cleansed is evidence of this, and he admonishes obedience to the law in several other places in the New Testament. The High priest was commending the man to the lower priesthood in order to fulfill and glorify the law in its proper place. He did this even knowing how the priests at the time felt about him and vice versa. He maintained the dignity and respect for the Law, the Torah, and the office of priest, even while openly rebuking the corrupt priesthood of the day: all must still be fulfilled according to the Word of God. Messiah would not contradict the Law.

The more obscure issue though, is that the fulfillment of pronouncing 'cleanness' involves a detailed passages regarding water, blood, and doves, a sacrifice and a sanctification: the purification of leprosy healed is a Messianic expression, a similtude if one will understand. One becomes clean from leprosy (sin) by a blood sacrifice, and the living water, and is cleansed, the sin and disease gone, and separated (sanctified). The leper so willing to humble himself in great faith before the Lord and Savior, is purified,cleansed, made whole, and the great grace is given, of his healing pointing to the prophetic sign in Levitical Law of the Messiah, whom he has recognized, trusted and received.

The one leper that day as Jesus travelled down from the mount called upon the Savior and healing God, without regard to the consequence. Mark 1: 44 notes additionally that Jesus charged him:
See thou say nothing to any man; but go thy way....

The faith filled leper, however, committed the gracious crime so many who were healed did when confronted with this charge: he published widely what had occurred, unable to contain the joy and amazement of the great healing of Jesus, the Messiah.
But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter so much that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in the desert places; and they came to him from every quarter. Mk 1:45

Faith and Joy begets faith and joy in Israel. Jesus was not admonishing with some false humility for the leper cured to tell no one: He simply knew what would happen and sought the orderly spread of the Gospel and the presentation of the King of Israel to his own. The Sovereignty of God is bound up in the healing of the man with Leprosy.

Till next time,
Elizabeth K Best