This is another post in the thinking the unthinkable series. You may ask what does this have to do with the woman with the issue of blood and Jairus’ daughter? It was part of the Mosaic Law that when a person who had been declared unclean was restored to health they had to prove it by showing themselves to a priest along with the required offerings and sacrifices. When Jesus called out the woman with the issue of blood to show herself to him he pronounced her clean. As such he was acknowledging that he was the person prophesied in Psalm 110 as the one who would be a priest in the order of Melchizedek. Few of his contemporaries recognised Him as such, and one of those who did only did so inadvertently. I am referring to the Samaritan leper who along with nine other was healed by Jesus (Luke 17:11-19). He had told them to go an show themselves to the priests and as they went on their way they were healed. But only one of them returned to Jesus to thank Him. In doing so he showed himself to the priest in the order of Melchizedek.
But have you ever wondered about what happened to the other nine? They were heading for the Temple in Jerusalem, and it would have taken them several days to get there. From Galilee Jews usually travelled down the east bank of the Jordan to avoid Samaria and the Samaritans, before crossing over near Jericho and heading up to Jerusalem along the road of which the Parable of the Good Samaritan was set. But they had a problem, though they were free from their leprosy as far as the Jewish religious laws they were still unclean until the required ceremonies were performed. And Jericho was populated largely with members of the priesthood and Levites who did not want to be in contact with those who were still officially unclean. They would, therefore find it difficult to find accommodation among clean people but at the same time they did not want to risk coming into contact with those who were still suffering from conditions which had made them unclean. As the same would have applied when they reached Jerusalem, but in addition they had to offer “On the eighth day he must bring two male lambs and one ewe-lamb a year old without defect, along with three-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil for a grain offering, one log of oil (Leviticus 14:10). Each one of the nine had to present this for himself as there was no provision for a bulk cleansing. This might have provided a sticking point for the nine. Firstly, because as beggars they would be unlikely to own livestock themselves nor have the money to buy those fit to be sacrificed. Moreover the Temple authorities had been guilty of deliberately making money by insisting the Roman money was unacceptable and insisting it was exchanged into shekels at a disadvantageous rates thus turning the Temple into “a den of thieves.” If they unable to find the resources to afford to be ceremonially cleansed then two possibilities arise:- (1) They failed to provide the necessary offerings because of the cost and were still hanging around the Temple when Jesus arrived there following His triumphal entry into Jerusalem and this enraged him into the cleansing of the Temple. Or (2) somebody else came along who was wealthy enough to pay the costs. Could this be how a rich man like Joseph of Arimathea came to hear about Jesus and believe in Him. Either way Jesus’ instruction to show them to the priests had implications beyond the simple order. One wonders how many others who were healed by Jesus were also sent to be ceremonially cleansed. There may have been quite a crowd hoping to be formally cleansed in the vicinity of the Temple. No wonder in such circumstances the likes of Caiaphas and Ananias were saying that something had to be done about this Jesus. Was Jesus deliberately trying to show up the short comings of the Old Covenant by jamming up the system with people waiting to be ceremonially made clean. One of the problems those such as the nine lepers would have faced was because they were officially unclean anything they made or handled was also considered unclean so they would have found difficult to earn any money. Whereas the woman with the issue of blood touched Jesus became clean, the very opposite of what Judaism taught and practised. Unthinkable to the Temple authorities.
David Rose, 2017.