I often make the same mistake.
Sometimes we don’t do exactly what God tells us to do because we think we know better. The truth is we don’t know the big picture. Here’s the story of a leper who was healed by Jesus, but didn’t do the right thing.
Jesus Cleanses a Leper (Mark 1:40-45)
40 Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.”
41 Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” 42 As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed. 43 And He strictly warned him and sent him away at once, 44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing those things which Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
45 However, he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the matter, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in deserted places; and they came to Him from every direction.
Andddd…. my comments in bold, ‘cuz that’s what I do:
Jesus Cleanses a Leper
40 Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” I do the same thing. “Pleeeease heal me, fix me, do this thing for my friend/husband/son.” Nothing wrong with that, actually. God tells us to ask, seek, and knock.
41 Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Jesus feels compassion for the leper. Jesus touches the leper, which is not something a person would do, showing that Jesus has power to heal. Jesus could have just spoken it and he would have been healed; but I believe Jesus made the special gesture to touch him so that people would take notice. Biblical leprosy was highly contagious. Lepers were not allowed to live among society.
42 As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed. Jesus touched him first, and then spoke the words of healing.
43 And He strictly warned him and sent him away at once, Jesus warned him sternly and told him to go his way.
44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing those things which Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” Jesus tells the ex-leper “Don’t talk to anyone, go directly to the priest. Offer what Moses commanded, in witness to them.”
Jesus spoke to the ex-leper as if he knew about the offering. The text doesn’t say Jesus explained it to him. But here it is for us:
“This shall be the law of the leper for the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought to the priest. 3 And the priest shall go out of the camp, and the priest shall examine him; and indeed, if the leprosy is healed in the leper, 4 then the priest shall command to take for him who is to be cleansed two living and clean birds, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop. 5 And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water. 6 As for the living bird, he shall take it, the cedar wood and the scarlet and the hyssop, and dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water. 7 And he shall sprinkle it seven times on him who is to be cleansed from the leprosy, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose in the open field. 8 He who is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, shave off all his hair, and wash himself in water, that he may be clean. After that he shall come into the camp, and shall stay outside his tent seven days. 9 But on the seventh day he shall shave all the hair off his head and his beard and his eyebrows—all his hair he shall shave off. He shall wash his clothes and wash his body in water, and he shall be clean.
10 “And on the eighth day he shall take two male lambs without blemish, one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish, three-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering, and one log of oil. 11 Then the priest who makes him clean shall present the man who is to be made clean, and those things, before the Lord, at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. 12 And the priest shall take one male lamb and offer it as a trespass offering, and the log of oil, and wave them as a wave offering before the Lord. 13 Then he shall kill the lamb in the place where he kills the sin offering and the burnt offering, in a holy place; for as the sin offering is the priest’s, so is the trespass offering. It is most holy. 14 The priest shall take some of the blood of the trespass offering, and the priest shall put it on the tip of the right ear of him who is to be cleansed, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot. 15 And the priest shall take some of the log of oil, and pour it into the palm of his own left hand. 16 Then the priest shall dip his right finger in the oil that is in his left hand, and shall sprinkle some of the oil with his finger seven times before the Lord. 17 And of the rest of the oil in his hand, the priest shall put some on the tip of the right ear of him who is to be cleansed, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot, on the blood of the trespass offering. 18 The rest of the oil that is in the priest’s hand he shall put on the head of him who is to be cleansed. So the priest shall make atonement for him before the Lord.
19 “Then the priest shall offer the sin offering, and make atonement for him who is to be cleansed from his uncleanness. Afterward he shall kill the burnt offering. 20 And the priest shall offer the burnt offering and the grain offering on the altar. So the priest shall make atonement for him, and he shall be clean.
— Leviticus 14:2-20
Step 1. So first the priest must inspect the man that the leprosy is gone. I’m guessing this didn’t happen too often?!
Step 2. Get two birds, kill one over running water (cleansing!) and take the live bird and dip it in the blood of the dead bird. A picture of what Messiah did for us by cleansing our sin by the shedding of His blood. Then after sprinkling the man SEVEN times (God’s number), the live bird goes free! (That’s all who believe.)
Step 3. Shave all his hair off. I’m sure this has a significance, but I don’t know it. Anyone?
Step 4: On the eighth day, take two lambs, and PRESENT THE MAN (to the congregation, this would be quite a statement) with the lambs and flour and oil and make a wave offering to the Lord.
It goes on to explain the different kinds of offerings. The bottom line is that this would be done in the door of the tabernacle of meeting. It would be a demonstration in front of the members of the synagogue that this man was healed by Jesus, and that Jesus told him to follow the laws of Moses following his healing. It would have been an expression of Jesus’ words that He did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it.
45 However, he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the matter, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in deserted places; and they came to Him from every direction. However, the man did what he thought was best: telling everyone what happened in his own words. This was not God’s plan. Jesus couldn’t openly enter the city anymore because the crowds would bombard Him. Jesus had to go with Plan B, going outside the city to deserted places, and still the people came to Him from every direction to hear Him.
I find it’s easy to read a story like this, and say, “what was this guy thinking?” but then realize there are times in my own life when I have my own plan to do something, and it is not the same as God’s plan. This usually is a matter of patience for me personally. I hate waiting and tend to try to force things to happen outside of God’s timing, especially things that He has told me will happen, but I try to do it in my own power.