Moved with pity, Yeshua reached out his hand, touched him and said to him, “I am willing! Be cleansed!” Instantly the tzara‘at left him, and he was cleansed.
Tzara’at or Biblical Leprosy is a condition brought on by sin. The context is lost if one only studies the gospels and apostolic writings, but lepers were not incurably diseased people. Instead they were people who had fallen into some sort of sin. The conclusion from Judaism is that the sin was most likely evil speech, but greed and stinginess were ruled to be top contributors to opening someone up to being blighted with tzara’at. Tzara’at could inflict garments and houses as well. Regardless, the root cause of it was sin. Once the person was fully repentant the tzara’at would recede, at which point they would need to go to the cohen who would declare them clean. The ritual aspect is a certification of the reality that the person is now clean. Interestingly, a person is not declared to have tzara’at until time elapses and the cohen decrees that they do indeed have it.
The fact that this particular leper was healed is proof that he truly had repented. He was forgiven for his sins and had to ask for healing to be able to go back to his people and family. I wonder why he and other lepers at the time of Messiah were stuck in this odd place. He would not have healed them if they held fast to their sins and the tzara’at should have gone away, but it didn’t. Were they there in that miserable state for him to heal them? To magnify the glory of The LORD? Or were these people stuck in doubt and unable to move on? Were they unsure they were worthy to be, so to speak, born again and able to enter back into society? I can’t be sure, but we meet them at the point where they are faithful that this man can bring them new life and they are only healed after they have the courage to ask for it. As the good book says, if we ask, we shall receive.