Monday, 9 November 2015

Luke 5v12-16 'The problem of popularity'

12 "While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, ‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.’
13 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ And immediately the leprosy left him.
14 Then Jesus ordered him, ‘Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.’
15 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their illnesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed."
We never think of popularity being a problem.  But the distraction the crowds cause is an issue for Jesus.  Jesus is very clear about his mission 4v43 "I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent."  Jesus comes to proclaim, yes the miracles are part of that proclamation, they testify to who he is and give a glimpse of the kingdom that he brings.  But he has not come just to heal.

Leprosy functions as a picture of uncleanness, like sin it meant you couldn't enter the temple, like sin it decimated your relationship with others.  As Jesus heals this man we see his contagious cleanliness.  If anyone else had touched the leper the uncleanness would have been contagious, it would have made them unclean, but not with Jesus.  Jesus cleanses the man and then sends him to the priests to fulfil the law.  To testify to his cleansing.

We don't know but I always wonder how the conversation between this and and the priests went, what exactly it was that the man testified too.  Did he just make the offerings and they testified to his just being clean, or did his give testimony to the healing one who cleansed him.  Action of the Messiah.

(15-16)As the scene closes Luke shows us that Jesus regularly withdraws to lonely places and pray.  Jesus is concerned about his mission, he speaks regularly with his Father, he walks closely with him.  Is it that he knows distraction is a danger?  Or is there more to it.  Luke doesn't tell us, except to record a number of times that Jesus follows this pattern.  His relationship with his Father matters, he enjoys his sonship, a sonship he comes to proclaim and win for all.   

No comments: