Date: Tue, 4 Apr 1995 16:59:14 +0100 Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From: Teus Benschop Subject: The Scriptures opened, 25 Contents ------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Weekly reading, Lev.14:2 2. Psalm 51:7 3. New Testament, Matthew 6:1, Your alms 1. Weekly reading, Lev.14:2 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest. Here, we have the law of the leper, when he will be cleansed. He will be brought unto the priest, to be declared clean by him, after he has brought his offering. The leper will be brought unto the priest, but not into the camp. For, the priest shall go forth out of the camp, to look at the former leper. When he sees that the plague of leprosy is healed in the leper, then he will command to take an offering for him who is to be cleansed. The offering consisted of two birds, alive and clean, and cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop. When we read this, we are immediately reminded of the behaviour of Jesus, when He healed lepers. He obeyed Moses' laws, for when He healed a leper, He sent him to the priest to be declared clean, and to offer the offering. Let we turn to the New Testament, and read an example. Matt.8:2-4 And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 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. Jesus travelled around, doing well, healing the sick, cleansing the lepers, but above all, preaching the gospel of God's grace and righteousness. Concerning His cleansing, that was foresaid by the prophets. Isaiah, for example, has said it: "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert." (Isa.35:5,6) In our example of the cleansing of the leper, we see several things therein. 1. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him. The leper, knowing that Jesus was God, and having belief in Him, came and worshipped Him. This is a good example. Coming unto Jesus, to worship Him. The leper had learned this from the Father. Everybody who has learned the truth of the Father, comes unto Jesus, like this leper did. He came unto Jesus, according to what the prophet had written. "It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me." (John 6:45) We see, that we is taught of God, will come unto Jesus. 2. And, behold, a leper, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. The leper had belief in Jesus. He was assured that Jesus could make him clean. If Jesus but was willing, then He could make the leper clean. The leper had heard already so much of Jesus, that he became more and more convinced of the fact, that Jesus was able to cleanse him. Each time, when the leper heard a story of one who was healed by Jesus, his belief in Him grew. And than came up in his mind the wish, that Jesus would heal also him. He made the decision, that when Jesus came close to him, that he then would go out to Him. And in this way, his belief daily increased. He looked forward to Jesus' coming, and yes, one day, He was there. He decided to go unto Jesus, did it, and said: Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean. This was the result of his belief in Jesus. And also we, when we are loaded by our sins, let we be assured that Jesus can take this burden off from our shoulders. Jesus, if Thou wilt, Thou can forgive my sins. Who comes unto Jesus, with this belief, I assure him that his sins will be forgiven. 3. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. Jesus put forth his hand, and touched the leper. Normally, who would do that, would be unclean himself. But with Christ, it was otherwise. When He touched the unclean, not He Himself became unclean, but the touched became clean. That was His task, wherefore He came into this unclean world. He came to make clean all who believed in Him. Further, He says: "I will, be thou clean". This sentence, "I will", reminds us of the first days of the world. In the beginning, "God said, Let there be light: and there was light." (Gen.1:3) Likewise here, Jesus said: "I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed." One of the many clear signs that Jesus is God. Let there be light; and there was light. Be you clean; and he was clean. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, here again shows His godly power. Everyone, who sees this, let him believe. But also for this, God's power is needed. We need that Jesus says to us: I will, believe you; and immediately, you will believe. 4. 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. Jesus was not one of the wonder-doers, for whom Moses warned us. There are false prophets, about whom Moses says the following: "If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them.; thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul." (Deut.13:1-3) These are the false prophets, given us to proof us. But Jesus Christ was not one of them. He was a prophet, yes, also He did a sign or a wonder. Even more, He not only did one sign, or one wonder, but He gave a multitude of them. So, He is not a common prophet, but the chief of the prophets. Yet, the people could ask themselves if He were a true or false prophet. The test was to look, if the prophet brought the people to the service of the one true God, or to the idols. Here, Jesus said to the cleansed leper, that he had to go to the priest. We see that Jesus observed Moses' law; in other words, that He admonished the people to the service of the one true God. For this reason, Jesus said that this was a "testimony unto them". Let them know, that I am a true prophet, send by God. We know, however, that the most of the Jews of those days did not believe in Him. Why not? He was not according to the idea, that they had invented about the Messiah. In the preceding centuries, that had invented their own, wrong image of the coming Messiah. And when He indeed came, He was of course not according to that distorted idea, and was therefore rejected. But, through God's grace, some believed. What will we do now? Will we still reject Jesus? Will we not believe in the true prophet, about who was so abundantly prophesied? Reader, will you reject Him to your eternal damage? Therefore, while you still live; while you still are in the times of grace, believe in Him. It is still not too late now. This belief can be given you by God. Yes, He will give it to His elect. 2. Psalm 51:7 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. In this week's reading, we read about the leper, who was cleansed by several ceremonies, through the priest. Among other things was hyssop necessary, and a washing, Lev.14:4,7. It is to this ceremony that David refers. In Leviticus 14, the laws were concerning the real leper. David, here, makes the spiritual application of it. He knows that he is like a leper, namely a spiritual leper before God. The causes were his great sins. He asks God for forgiveness. "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean". He does not come to the priest to be cleansed of his sins, but he goes unto God. He knew that the priest could not give forgiveness, but only God was able. The priest, through the ceremonies, showed spiritual things in visible signs. The spiritual cleansing was depicted by the visible leper being cleansed. The leper himself showed the sinner. David, being very grieved over his sins, prays to God for forgiveness. Purge Thou me, O God, for I am utterly unable to purge myself. Like the leper was unable to put off his leprosy, David was unable to put off the burden of his sins. He went there, overloaded by that great weight of his crimes committed. And when the leper was freed from his leprosy, he still had to go to the priest, to be declared clean. Likewise David goes to God, asking for cleansing. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean of my sins. Also, O God, wash me, and I shall be whiter than show. Have you ever seen something whiter than snow? I have not. Yet, the sinner, who is cleansed by God, is whiter. Have you ever seen such people, whiter than snow, cleansed by God? I have seen them. Their sorrowful face was bettered, and it could be said to them: "thy youth is renewed like the eagle's." (Ps.103:5) They became whiter than snow, for their heart was renewed. It is for this, that David prays. When one is washed from his sins, his spiritual leprosy, all will become new. All the old has passed away, behold, all has become new. To those people is the promise fulfilled: "And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt." (Hos.2:15) Have you already experienced this? I ask not if you have experienced some happy feeling. For, our nature is also delighted through some worldly goods. But this has nothing to do with the purifying of sins. It is only a temporal delight, which speedily vanishes away. Many people are blinded by the splendour of some invented outward rites, but this is not what I mean. I ask you if your days are renewed like in your youth, not because of temporal things, but because you feel that your sins are forgiven. These things are necessary to be righteous before God. We need to be purged with God's hyssop, and then we shall be clean. We have need of being washed by God's blood, and we shall be whiter than snow. Pray: wash me, o LORD, by the blood of Thy Son Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah, and I shall be whiter than snow. Then my sins will be blotted out Thy book, and I shall be clean in Thy sight. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which Thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide Thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 3. New Testament, Matthew 6:1, Your alms ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Take heed that ye do not your alms in the sight of men. The alms are the works of charity, especially the work done to the poor. When you do those works, do them not before men, to be seen of them. When you help the poor, that is a good work in itself. But when you speak thereof, to get honour in the sight of the people, you turn it into a bad work. The work itself is not bad, but you make it bad for yourself. When you do so you have no reward of your Father in heaven. Your reward is the present honour of the people, so there remains no more future reward of God. "Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward." (Matt.6:2) So, when we go to help the disable, or the old, or the needy, we will do it in silence. We will not boast in it before our friends, lest that is our only reward. By the way, boasting therein is a clear sign of pride, which is abhorred by God. "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble." (James 4:6) And also Jesus gave this good example of being lowly, when He said: "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." (Matt.11:29) Being proud was the first sin of man, when he wanted to be like God, as happened in Paradise. Adam and Eve, and we in them, wanted to be like God, and they ate of the forbidden fruit, and fell in sin. Trying to be high, they became lower then low. Jesus did it just otherwise. He, being God's Son, and being high, made Himself low, taking upon Him the human flesh. He was in the form of God, yes, He was equal with God. "But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men." (Philip.2:7) Men was on earth, but wanted to be raised up, and fell in sin. God was in heaven, but humiliated Himself, in order to save the lost human race. Being a Spirit, he took upon Him the flesh, to save us. We see, though we all know Adam's fall, we have nothing learned of it. Also this day, the warning against pride is necessary. Therefore, Jesus said "Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven." (Matt.6:1) It is nearly unbelievable, what God has done, and still does, to save unwilling sinners, like we are. But we, being spiritual blind, keep doing our alms before the people. Thereby we show that we are the same as Adam. Also we want to be high. When we had been in Adam's place, also we would have done the same sin. Our present works show it, that we have delight therein, that we are seen by the people. Examples enough. We boast of our deeds, of our work, about what we have managed. We are proud on our house, car, wife, children, and what not. The women like it to show their beauty; and they forget that their body will once be laid under the ground, and will be eaten by the worms. We are proud on what God has given us, and often abuse it. When will the time come that the people will learn to worship God in humility and truth? The people who are busy in that so called worship of God (what is not more than some empty outward rites) are in fact busy in giving the honour to themselves. The singer tries to sing as nice as possible, not to give honour to God, but to be seen and spoken of by the people. Therefore, when you do something good, do it not before men, lest you have not another reward than the temporal, vanishing glory of the people. Try to the everlasting inheritance in heaven. "But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly." (Matt.6:3,4) ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Chr-Exp, a Christian explanation of the Tanach and the New Testament Editor: Teus Benschop - firstname.lastname@example.org No copyrights on this publication Institution Practical Bible-education, the Netherlands End of The Scriptures opened, 25 -------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/so: s-open-025.txt .