At the very beginning of the book of Mark, we read of a number of miracles that Yeshua (Jesus) performed. One of those was the cleansing of the man with Tza-arat (the leper). The following verses tell of the event:
Mark 1:40 A man with tza’arat comes to Him, begging Him and falling on his knees, saying, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” 41 Moved with compassion, Yeshua stretched out His hand and touched him. He said, “I am willing. Be cleansed.” 42 Immediately, the tza’arat left him, and he was cleansed. 43 Yeshua sent him away at once, sternly warning him. 44 He said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go show yourself to the kohen. Then, for your cleansing, offer what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
Leprosy in the Bible is viewed as a result of sin and not simply a disease. As we recall in the book of Numbers 12 when Miriam speaks out sinfully against Moses and is struck with tza-arat. The understanding of tza-arat being caused by sin is why when this man came to Yeshua. He was asking to be made clean and not asking to be healed. This is also why when Yeshua touched him, He proclaimed that the man was cleansed.
To often in our hurried reading of the Scriptures we don’t notice what words were used in the text, and in missing these word choices we also miss some of the most powerful messages in the text. In this case, when we miss the use of the word “clean,” instead of “healed,” we miss our introduction into the priesthood of Yeshua, and we are blinded to the depth of this miracle. In order to fully understand the cleansing of the man with Tza-arat, we have to turn back in our Bibles to the book of Leviticus chapter 14 where Israel is provided the commandments concerning the purification or cleansing of one with tza-arat. In these five verses in Mark, we are introduced to Yeshua as a priest in the order of Melechizedek. Because only a priest can pronounce someone with tza-arat clean. When we miss the word choice used in these verses we miss the entire message of Mark chapter 1. Mark purposefully introduces his readers to Yeshua as Messiah, by revealing examples of Yeshua fulfilling the 6 prophesied roles of the Messiah.
In Mark 1:1-8 Yeshua is revealed as a Prophet.
In Mark 1:8-13 Yeshua is revealed as the Son of G-D.
In Mark 1:14-20 Yeshua is revealed as one like Moses a delivering leader.
In Mark 1:21-28 Yeshua is revealed as King of All with complete authority.
In Mark 1:29-39 Yeshua is revealed as our Healer.
In Mark 1:40-45 Yeshua is revealed as our Priest.
In the very first chapter, Mark establishes the Messiahship of Yeshua by provided examples of Yeshua fulfilling every role required for Him to be the Messiah. Yet because most readers today don’t pay attention to the words in the text most do not understand how powerful Mark’s first chapter really is.