Weekly Drash - Tazria
Compliments of First Fruits of Zion
Tazria - תזריע : “She Conceived”
Leprosy in the Gospels
Thought for the Week:
In the Torah, leprosy is an archetype for all human sickness. Sickness results from the breakdown of the flesh. Death follows. Leprosy graphically represents that progression. In God’s eternal sanctuary there is no sickness, no death and no decay. His sanctuary on earth is meant to be a reflection of that eternal reality. Therefore, lepers are banned from the sanctuary.
Why was the healing of lepers such a central concern in the ministry of the Master? Not only did He heal many lepers himself, but He gave His twelve disciples authority to heal leprosy as evidence of the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 10)
Aside from leprosy, no other human disease or ailment renders a person ritually unclean. Why is leprosy associated with uncleanness? The symptoms described in the Torah that might potentially be diagnosed as biblical leprosy involve decomposition, decay and putrefaction—corruption of the flesh.
The Temple worship system seems to shun corruption and decay. In keeping with that tendency, the Torah commands that the flesh of the sacrifices must be burned up after two days. If the sacrificial meat is allowed to turn rancid, the entire sacrifice is invalidated. The same impulse toward incorruptibility lies behind the laws of the grain offerings. The grain offerings are all made without leaven. Leaven represents corruption because the leavening process is actually a fermentation of the dough. For the same reason, the sacrifices were all salted. Salt is a preservative, which slows down the decomposition process.
God’s sanctuary is about immortality and incorruptibility. In His presence, there is no death, no decay, no decomposition. Therefore, the disease that represents a living decomposition is banned from the sanctuary. Leprosy is an ongoing, visible progression toward physical corruption. It is the antithesis of the immortal and incorruptible world represented in God’s sanctuary.
Yeshua is the solution to the leprosy problem. Spiritually, He did not suffer the leprosy-like infection of sin. Physically, His flesh did not suffer corruption. “For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay,” Psalm 16:10 prophesied about Him. Through His resurrection from the dead, His flesh passed from the mortal to the immortal, from the corruptible to the incorruptible. His body is still real human flesh, but it is regenerated as an imperishable spiritual body.
Leprosy symbolizes the sin-laden human condition, destined for death and decay. Each time the Master healed a leper, it betokened a reversal of that corrupted, mortal state. Every leper healed of his affliction was a testimony that the kingdom of heaven had indeed appeared among men.
Shavuah Tov! Have a Good Week!
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