Why did Jesus ask the leper not to tell of his healing?

Author: BibleAsk Team


The Leper and His Healing

This story of the leper is found in the gospel of Mark: “A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!”  Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them” (Mark 1:43,44).

There are different instances and reasons for why Jesus forbade people from publicizing the miracles He performed for them (Matthew 9:30; 12:16; Mark 5:43; 7:36; 8:26). As for the story of the leper, Jesus forbade him from telling what had happened to him for the following possible reasons:

A-Jesus asked the man with leprosy to go “forthwith” (verse 43) to present himself to the priests. According to the Mosaic law, the priests who served as public-health officers diagnosed leprosy and ordered segregation. They were also in charge of diagnosing whether leprosy had left a previously infected individual. The man with leprosy had to go quickly to the priests for clearance before the news of Jesus healing him would reach the priests, who did not favor Jesus. If the priests found out that it was Jesus that healed him, they may have refused to certify his cleansing. Thus, Jesus wanted to protect the leper from any wrong or biased judgement.

B- Lepers were considered unclean and were required to announce their presence so that other people had time to withdraw from them to avoid contact. If other lepers had heard of this incident, they would have flocked to come to Jesus, maybe even regardless of His spiritual mission, and would have caused difficulty for others to approach the Master (Mark 5:34; John 4:49, 50). It only took one leper to announce that he was unclean to cause a whole crowd to be dispersed. Jesus wanted to make sure He had a wide range of influence and was not restricted to healing just leprosy. He wanted to reach and heal as much people as possible (Matthew 11:28).

C-Jesus avoided the reputation of Him being only a miracle-worker and desired that people would come to Him to hear the Word of God. Jesus’ first goal was to preach the truth and set the captives of sin free. His second goal was to heal their bodies from all disease and sickness, being in line with His teaching: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).

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In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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