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For Bible Study Nerds

Ever wonder what happened to the former leper after Jesus healed him? It probably went something like this:

After healing the man with leprosy, Jesus told him, “Go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” This would have forced the religious leaders of the time to acknowledge that Christ had indeed performed a miracle—something that none of the priests had been able to accomplish for this man.

Leaving Jesus, the former leper would have gone to the Temple, into the Court of Women. In one corner of this Court was a walled enclosure reserved specifically for lepers who believed they had been healed. A priest would’ve met the man in that corner, and then either examined him there, or taken him outside the city limits for a new examination. Once pronounced clean, the following would have happened, though not necessarily in this order (see Leviticus 14:1-32):

The priest would’ve brought in two live clean birds, cedar wood, scarlet yarn, and hyssop. One of the birds would’ve been killed as a blood sacrifice. The remaining live bird, the cedar wood, scarlet yarn, and hyssop would’ve been dipped into the blood from the sacrificed bird, and then used to sprinkle blood on the healed man. This process would’ve been repeated seven times, with the priest declaring the man clean each time. At the conclusion of this ritual, the live (albeit bloodied) bird would’ve been released into the wild. The healed man would’ve shaved off all his hair, washed his clothes, and taken a ritual bath (called a mikveh).

After that, the healed man would’ve been quarantined outside the city for seven more days while they waited to see if the disease returned. If he was still symptom-free after a week, he would’ve shaved off all his hair again—including beard, eyebrows, and the rest. He would’ve washed his clothes again, and bathed himself again. On the eighth day he would’ve gone back to the Temple and the priest would have performed another animal sacrifice (a sin offering and a burnt offering), putting blood of a lamb and some oil on the man’s right ear lobe, as well as on his right thumb and on the big toe of his right foot.

After the new offerings and sacrifices had been made, the healed man would’ve finally been welcomed back to new life within the community, fully restored to all physical, social, and religious functions. Whew!

 

Works Cited:

[JHT, 132-134]

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