Yesterday’s post discussed the healing of a leper by Jesus in Mark 1:40-42, which says: “And a leper came to [Jesus], imploring him, and kneeling said to him, ‘If you will, you can make me clean.’ Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, ‘I will; be clean.’ And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.”
However, the story continues in Mark 1:43-44 – “And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, and said to him, ‘See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.’”
Jesus, while unconcerned that this leper was not following Levitical law to remain quarantined, He was concerned that he testify to the priests. What might the priests learn from performing the cleansing rites for a recovered leper? The procedure is detailed in Leviticus 14:1-20, which I’ve pulled from below:
“if the case of leprous disease is healed in the leprous person, the priest shall command them to take for him who is to be cleansed two live clean birds and cedarwood and scarlet yarn and hyssop. And the priest shall command them to kill one of the birds in an earthenware vessel over fresh water. He shall take the live bird with the cedarwood and the scarlet yarn and the hyssop, and dip them and the live bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the fresh water. And he shall sprinkle it seven times on him who is to be cleansed of the leprous disease. Then he shall pronounce him clean and shall let the living bird go into the open field…on the eighth day he shall take two male lambs without blemish…And he shall kill the lamb…The priest shall take some of the blood of the guilt offering, and…put it on the lobe of the right ear of him who is to be cleansed and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot. Then the priest shall take some of the log of oil and…shall put [it] on the lobe of the right ear of him who is to be cleansed and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot, on top of the blood of the guilt offering…Thus the priest shall make atonement for him, and he shall be clean.”
While this probably seems confusing, Warren Wiersbe says that “Leviticus 14 presents a beautiful picture in type of the work of redemption.” How?
“The two birds represent two different aspects of our Lord’s ministry: His incarnation and death (the bird put into the jar and then killed), and His resurrection and ascension (the bird stained with the blood and then set free). The blood was applied to the man’s right ear (God’s Word), right thumb (God’s work), and right great toe (God’s walk). Then the oil was put on the blood, symbolizing the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit cannot come on human flesh until first the blood has been applied.”
After Jesus was sacrificed on the cross, died, and then was raised from the dead, perhaps Leviticus 14 made more sense to the priests who cleansed the leper healed by Jesus. Perhaps they saw a picture of their Savior.
 Wiersbe, Warren. Be Diligent (Mark) (1987). P. 28.