Friday, December 27, 2013

Martyrion Obedience

And He ordered him to tell no one, "But go and show yourself to the priest and make an offering for your cleansing, just as Moses commanded, as a testimony to them." (Luke 5:14 NASB)

Jesus had miraculously and immediately healed this man who was filled with leprosy. What you would expect is that Jesus would want the good publicity, and send him to tell everyone. Instead, Jesus said not to tell anyone, and He sent him to the priest. 

There was an entire ritual associated with a leper who was healed. The seven day ritual of cleansing helped the cleansed person transition back into the community. According to Leviticus 14, the priest was to go outside the camp with the leper, examine him, and, if he appeared to be healed, begin the ritual of cleansing that would restore him to fellowship in the community. 

When Jesus sent him to the priest, he said it was "as a testimony to them". Who is the "them" to whom He is referring? The priests. Jesus wanted the healed leper to testify to the priests. The word He chose for testify is "martyrion". It's a Greek word that comes from the root word "martys", indicating a legal witness as well as one who is willing to bear witness to the truth of the testimony by their very lives. 

Jesus was sending this man to the very people least likely to want to hear of Jesus's miracle and asking him to testify of Jesus's healing power regardless of the cost. He would be going to the ones who had the power to exclude him or bring him home cleansed, and to tell them what they did not want to hear. It took considerably more faith and courage to tell the priest than to tell his friends and family. 

Obedience was not optional if he wanted to be restored. There's a mouthful of truth right there, isn't it? It bears repeating. 

Obedience is not optional if we want to be fully restored. 

With what bit of obedience do you struggle? What is Jesus asking of you that seems insurmountably hard?  Pray today for hearts willing to obey no matter the cost and feet that hit the road running to get the job done.