Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, "I will; be clean."
Rabbi Yeshua touched the leper, declared him healed and therefore cleaned, then told him to go through the purification process as instructed by Moses (Mark 1:41–44). Doing so, Yeshua purposely made himself ritually unclean thus fulfilled the Messianic hope, "Adonai has laid on him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53:6).
The ritual to declare a healed leper ritually pure is very mystical and the Torah does not give us any explanation to help us understand it. We are therefore left to define it by association. The ritual required that a bird should be killed over a vessel of water thus creating a blood and water mixture. Another live bird was tied up with a scarlet yarn and bound with hyssop to a cedar wood board. The entire package was then dipped into the clay pot of blood and water. The priest then sprinkled the leper seven times with the blood and water mixture, then released the live bird who did not need any more encouragement to quickly flee the scene.
It was not finished. The priest then had to shave the healed/cleansed leper from head to toe and anoint him with the same markings as those of a priest. It is only after our now shaved and anointed man went to offer the required offering at the Temple that he was restored to full fellowship in the community (Leviticus 14).
Looking at this whole ritual, it is hardly possible to miss the messianic symbolism. The live bird tied to a piece of wood with a tie of red (blood) yarn then dipped in a vessel of blood and water of a dead bird (Messiah shed blood and water from his side after is death), and then released to fly to the heavens, speaks so clearly of the death and resurrection of Messiah. This event creates in us a rebirth represented by the totally shaved man, and an anointing into the priesthood call promised through of Moses seen in the particulars of the oil application. Biblical leprosy representing death, corruption and sin, the issue of the leper is therefore a good illustration of how we are to God in our unredeemed state.
Yeshua, as he touched the lepers took upon himself our sins and iniquity. The Messiah became a leper as the Talmud points out. He then subjected himself to stripes and his bloody body was tied to a wood from where he died shedding blood and water to finally rise and ascend to the heavenlies where he sits, interceding for us at the right hand of his and our Father (Luke 24:26).
P. Gabriel Lumbroso
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