We also saw that as a result of this time in prayer, a leper was miraculously healed from his condition. The Lord gave him some interesting instructions when the leper was healed.
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.”
This aspect of Christ’s ministry always fascinates me. Why didn’t He want those who were healed to go out and spread the news to everyone they met? I think that there are some important truths that we need to understand about this.
I’ve always felt uncomfortable around believers who think it’s their mission to evangelize everyone who comes within earshot of them. They try and force others to do the same. They teach that all Christians should tell everyone they meet about Jesus.
You would think that the Lord would want everyone to know that this man was healed. After all, leprosy was one of those diseases that Israel believed you only got if you lived a particularly sinful life.
To be healed of leprosy meant that you had repented and were forgiven of the sins that had caused it. At least that’s what the normal Israelite of that day believed. This would prove that the Messiah was sent to forgive sin.
You would think that everyone should hear this news. Wouldn’t that bring the crowds to Jesus? Isn’t that what’s needed to grow a ministry? Apparently not according to how Christ thought about it.
The fact is, that we all have a certain group of people that we are called to reach. Those who will listen to your testimony won’t necessarily listen to mine. We all have a different field to work in.
This man originally had to go to the priests for his diagnosis. The priests were the ones who pronounced him a leper in the first place. They recorded his name and condition for future reference.
Now, when he shows up at the Temple a healed man, he’d have to explain the healing to them. In the priests’ minds, to be healed of leprosy was to be forgiven of sin. They, of all people, would understand the importance of this man’s testimony.
This is how people should be won to the Lord. Each of us must go to those we’re called to reach. That’s the best way to grow the Kingdom of God.
The outcome was the same for the Lord.
Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.
For obvious reasons, the former leper didn’t follow Jesus’ instructions to the letter. On his way to the priests, he told everyone about his healing.
Jesus didn’t need a huge advertising budget. He didn’t need social media or a cable TV program. He did what He was called to do and the ministry increased.
We need to learn this lesson. I can’t do what you’re called to do. Neither can I strong arm you into ministering the way that I do. We’re called to be ourselves and live for Christ in our own circles.
Question: Who do you find it easiest to share the Gospel with?
© 2017 Nick Zaccardi