When the Lord does a miracle, it is never for you alone. At the very least it is a testimony to those nearby of His care, His presence and His mercy. Perhaps it was for that reason that the Lord instructed Moses that whenever someone who was unclean was cleansed, a priest needed to examine them, a ceremony needed to be completed and an announcement needed to be made. Leviticus 14:1-32 details the lengthy and rather complicated process, involving two birds, three lambs, flour and oil. A guilt offering, a sin offering and a burnt offering must be made, and the cleansed individual must wash, shave and stay outside the camp for 8 more days. It was a very public act, deliberately done over time so that no one could miss what was happening. It was also a very structured event, so that no one could mistake it for something other than the Lord’s work. Miracles are never private favors. They are divine acts of power and providential grace, meant to bring much glory to God. They are never random, and never without purpose.
So when Jesus cleanses a leper, it is not a random event. It is not only for the diseased person’s personal betterment, and neither is it to be mistaken as a fluke, or anything other than an act of God. Like a glorious sunrise after a difficult evening, it is profoundly meaningful for those who see it, but it is for all, not just some.
Matthew writes, “Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” Matthew’s readers can clearly see that Jesus wanted the man to follow the instructions of Leviticus 14. “In conforming to the law, the cured leper becomes the occasion for the law to confirm Jesus’ authority as the healer who needs but to will the deed for it to be done.” After all, Christ Himself had said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Additionally, “Because the leprosy was looked upon, among the Jews, as a particular mark of God’s displeasure: hence we find Miriam, Gehazi, and Uzziah, smitten with leprosy for some one particular sin; and therefore Christ, to show that he came to turn away the wrath of God, by taking away sin, began with the cure of a leper.”
So although it may look like a random act done in response to a random circumstance, it was actually a very deliberate act. It was done in response to God’s purposeful and providential circumstance. It was recorded by the Spirit of God in a very deliberate and purposeful way. Not only that, but we know that Jesus had performed miracles before (see John 2), so we can know that Matthew specifically records this miracle as His first for a reason; It was because Matthew is building a case for the Jewish reader to understand Jesus as the fulfillment of the Law, in accordance to what and how the Spirit instructed him (Matthew). Even its record in Scripture is deliberate, purposeful and strategically placed to bring glory to God!
Though the Lord’s work sometimes seems random, unclear and at times quite contradictory, He is none of those things. His ways are merely beyond our limited understanding. Time eventually reveals just how purposeful, straightforward and focused He always is. As Romans 8:28 proclaims, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Human reason may not be able to understand the mysterious ways of God, but faith knows that the sorest disappointments and the heaviest losses are among the “all things” which work together for our good.AW. Pink
What is the Lord strategically doing in this season of your life? How can you participate today in that?