Jesus meets a man with leprosy who desired to be healed. The man knew Jesus’ ability to heal and yet after the healing did not follow Jesus words which instructed the man to follow the Jewish law at the Temple. Compassion leads to healing that should lead to obedience but instead the man spreads the word about Jesus. Jesus becomes a “faith healer” drawing crowds. Did the crowds understand the teachings that went with the healing?
The teachers of the Law question Jesus methods and motives. Healing and forgiveness is the realm of God. One can be a conduit through which God can heal, but forgive sins? Impossible. For Jesus, both are part of the word “repent.” The faith of the paralytic shows the desire to repent which is both forgiveness and healing. The teachers of the Law fail to understand the simple teaching of Jesus, as many others will. It is not about sin or sickness but about repentance which is turning, in faith, towards wholeness and healing. It is health in the most complete form possible.
If the teachers of the Law were to understand that the Law as a way of life bringing one to God then they would be less concerned about the Law and more about God. Today we still struggle with the same concept. It is not about right theology or even sin and shame or dogma, but about repentance as turning and walking with Jesus in health and wholeness. And that health and wholeness comes through the words of Jesus. Healing is the first step of repentance. But continuing on the journey of faith through compassion and obedience keeps one heading towards the Kingdom of God. Both the leprous man and the Teachers of the Law failed to grasp the full understanding of Jesus and repentance. Healing or forgiveness is just the beginning of faith, not the end.