White as Snow

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When Jesus healed the man with leprosy in Matthew 8, it was more than just an “ordinary” miraculous sign. This act demonstrated powerfully His authority and sovereignty. It also made a social statement – Jesus loves everyone, even lepers. Though not Jesus’ first miracle, cleansing the leper sent a deep spiritual message and pointed to His eternal majesty.

Leprosy haunted mankind since before the Mosaic Law addressed how to deal with lepers. An old and dreaded disease, Jews viewed it as a particularly poignant mark of God’s displeasure. Even the hint of leprosy made a person both a physical and spiritual pariah.

In the Old Testament, Miriam, Gehazi, and Uzziah are notable examples of those receiving God’s wrath through this frightening affliction, each for a particular sin. Miriam was punished after she and her brother Aaron opposed Moses (Numbers 12:1-8). “The anger of the LORD burned against them, and He left them. When the cloud lifted from above the Tent, there stood Miriam – leprous, like snow.” (Numbers 12:9).

Gehazi also felt God’s temper when he tried to enrich himself inappropriately. Elisha caught him and rebuked him, saying, “’Naaman’s leprosy will cling to you and to your descendants forever.” Then Gahazi went from Elisha’s presence and he was leprous, as white as snow.” (2 Kings 5:27). Similarly, Uzziah was punished for burning incense on the altar of the temple. When confronted, he became angry, causing God to become angry, and “leprosy broke out on his forehead.” (2 Chronicles 26:19).

Because of these incidents, the Jews considered leprosy as a wrath that came directly from the hand of God. The flip side was that leprosy was supposed to be removed immediately by the hand of God. Therefore, physicians were not to attempt to cure the disease; rather, it was under the inspection of the priests, the LORD’s ministers, who waited to see what God would do.

To demonstrate His authority as the One who came to turn away the wrath of God, Christ healed the leprous man on the spot. When the man asked to be cured, Jesus responded, “Be clean!” Immediately the man was cured of his leprosy (Matthew 8:3). No quarantine, waiting period, or priestly inspection was required. This offered good news to the common man, but instilled job security fears in the religious elite.

Christ proved Himself God by healing many from the plague of leprosy, and authorizing His disciples, in His name, to do so as well. This ability is just one proof of His Messiahship. Others had tried or had been asked to try. Joram, the King of Israel said, “Am I God, that I am sent to cure a man from his leprosy?” (2 Kings 5:7). Only Jesus Christ succeeded.

Jesus showed Himself to be the Savior of His people from their sins. Although every disease is both the fruit of sin and a figure of it; it is the disorder in our soul that separates us from Holy things. The Law (Leviticus 13-14) treated leprosy in a special manner, as no other disease was – not a sickness, but as uncleanliness. The priest was to pronounce the party either clean or unclean according to the indications. The honor of making lepers clean was reserved for Christ, who was to do it as our High Priest, the One who could do that which the Law could not do. The Law revealed sin and pronounced sinners unclean, but could go no further. It is only through Jesus Christ that our sins may be cleansed as white as snow.

It is not normal to be white as snow on your skin because you are leprous and unclean if you suffer this condition. It is normal, however, to be cleansed with the pure white robe of righteousness offered by grace through faith in our LORD Jesus Christ, a purification and sanctification only He can offer. Sin is a black or crimson stain, permanent without the cleansing blood of Christ. Be sure you are white as snow due to your divinely-given apparel, not your dreaded skin disease.

“I’m Normal.™  I AM.”
It’s God Talking to You

Jeff Myers
A servant of Jesus Christ



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