Luke 5:14

ESV And he charged him to tell no one, but “go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”
NIV Then Jesus ordered him, 'Don't tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.'
NASB And He ordered him to tell no one, saying, 'But go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, just as Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.'
CSB Then he ordered him to tell no one: "But go and show yourself to the priest, and offer what Moses commanded for your cleansing as a testimony to them."
NLT Then Jesus instructed him not to tell anyone what had happened. He said, 'Go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.'
KJV And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

What does Luke 5:14 mean?

Jesus has just healed a man "full of leprosy" (Luke 5:12). This implies a man with advanced, obvious sores and ulcers. These would have been painfully obvious and obviously painful. Leprosy makes a person suffer physically but it also separates the victim from their family, friends, and religious ceremonies. People with leprosy are not allowed in walled cities, including Jerusalem, which means they can't attend feasts or offer sacrifices. They are the walking metaphor for "unclean"—a state of dysregulation compared to the rest of one's people.

The man is healed and physically he is clean, but to be restored, he must be declared clean by a priest after going through a week-long ritual. Leviticus 14:1–32 describes this ritual. The first day, the man would need to show himself to the priest outside the Israelite camp, make a brush from cedarwood, scarlet yarn, and hyssop, kill one clean bird and drain the blood, dip the brush and a live bird in the blood, be sprinkled by the priest with the blood-covered brush seven times, let the live bird go, and shave all his hair and wash himself and his clothes in water. On the second day, he would live outside his home. On the seventh day, he would have to shave off all his hair from his head, his beard, and his eyebrows and wash his clothes and himself in water. Finally, on the eighth day, he would offer two male lambs, one ewe lamb, and a grain offering with oil, then be consecrated by the priest through some of the blood and oil.

The phrase "for a proof to them" means as testimony. Only a priest can declare someone unclean, so the man would have to show his skin to a priest as proof he is clean again. It's clear Jesus wants the man to relate what he has experienced to a priest as opposed to the public, which has been crowding around Him, trying to get their own miracles. Many scholars think Jesus wants the priests to have an eyewitness account that God is working through Him.

Unfortunately, the man ignores Jesus' command. Finally healed, he spreads the news of his good fortune freely, and Jesus finds He must avoid towns and stay in more desolate places (Mark 1:45).
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