Date:         Tue, 4 Apr 1995 16:59:14 +0100
Sender:       Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From:         Teus Benschop 
Subject:      The Scriptures opened, 25
  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.
     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
     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."
     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  -
                      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