The Bible tells us that God speaks His truth to us in many ways. This makes the study of Scripture very exciting and edifying, particularly if we delve deeper than the surface of sections of Scripture that seem to have no relative meaning to New Testament believers. For example, in chapters 13 and 14 of Leviticus we see regulations about dealing with leprosy. Leprosy is one of the many Biblical ‘types’, or pictures, of sin. In a universal sense, after Adam’s fall in the garden, this plague of sin was passed down to every human being. Jesus Christ, in one of His many offices, is our High Priest. He also ‘was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead.’ As Judge, he examines us and detects the plague of leprosy (sin) within us all. As High Priest, He alone can cleanse and declare us clean.
The diagnosis of leprosy meant the individual was ‘unclean’. This uncleanness forbid a person from having any direct contact with anyone else. In fact, the Jewish writing, the Talmud, states that a leper was required to distance himself 100 paces, or 300 feet, from others, issuing the warning, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ No unclean person will ever enter into the Kingdom of God, and the caution about touching the unclean thing still holds true.
This spelled doom for every leper, right? Wrong! Enter Jesus Christ. In Luke 17 Jesus, the High Priest, in response to their cries for mercy, told ten lepers to ‘ Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.’ One of these returned to give Jesus a thank offering, for which he was sent away made whole.
How were the unclean made clean? By throwing themselves upon the mercy of Jesus. How was the unclean publican made clean and justified before God? By asking God to be merciful to him. All who throw themselves upon the mercies of Christ are now clean!
Peter needed to learn the lesson that what God has cleansed he was not to call common or unclean. Righteous judgment is deeper than the eye can see, for it’s according to the work of our great High Priest.