PASSAGE: “Once, when he was in one of the cities, there was a man covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.” Then Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do choose. Be made clean.” Immediately the leprosy left him. And he ordered him to tell no one. “Go,” he said, “and show yourself to the priest, and, as Moses commanded, make an offering for your cleansing, for a testimony to them.” But now more than ever the word about Jesus spread abroad; many crowds would gather to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray” (Luke 5:12-16).
QUESTION: I don’t understand why Jesus tells the man to obey the law of Moses.
COMMENT: Well, I think there are several possibilities, and perhaps all of them were involved in some way. Jesus makes it clear in his Sermon on the Mount that he has no intention of abolishing the established Law, but clarifying it and deepening our understanding of it. “I have come not to abolish, but to fulfill” (Mt. 5:17). The presentation of an offering was the accepted means of showing gratitude—and gratitude is an essential element in any healing, indeed in any expression of the divine in our lives. It was not important to Jesus Christ that an offering be made, but it would be important to the healed man, as an expression of his gratitude. It would also be important to the society in which he lived, because only the priest could officially declare him free of leprosy and thus welcome to rejoin the community from which he had been barred for many years.