Should We Separate From or Include Those Who Are Different?
Leviticus warns against everything unclean, but Jesus has a different response
I’ve never met anyone who likes the book of Leviticus, and many admit to skimming it when it comes up in their Bible reading plan, yet a thoughtful read of this often-tedious book reveals startling insights.
Today’s section talks about the unclean: unclean people, unclean actions, and unclean things. God gives instructions for dealing with the unclean (Leviticus 13:4); he wants to keep his people away from such things so they remain both healthy and pure.
Leprosy, an often-fatal condition, is a grave consideration in that day. If carries both a threat to others and a stigma in society. Physical separation is the only solution in confirmed cases. No one would touch a leper, who would live the rest of his or her life without the comforting pat of another human being.
Jesus, who comes to fulfill the Old Testament Law (Matthew 5:17), has a different idea. When encountering a leper he does the unthinkable; he reaches out and touches the man (Matthew 8:3). Then he helps the inflicted person by healing him.When Jesus encounters a leper he does the unthinkable; he touches the man and then heals him. Click To Tweet
Jesus, not the book of Leviticus, provides our example for dealing with those who society won’t touch, the unclean in our world. We accept them. We help them. They are not unclean. They are part of God’s creation, just like us. We love them just like Jesus.
How do we effectively treat others that society views as unclean? What can we do to touch those who others ignore?
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.