Tazria (She Conceives) Vayikra/Leviticus 12:1-13:59
Haftorah Reading: II Kings 4:42-5:19
This Torah portion may seem at first glance to have little to do with us or our world. However, as we go over it tonight I pray each of us will see the biblical truths within these verses, truths that will give us a far better understanding of how it speaks exactly to us today.
To begin, let us look at Luke 2:22-24. In these verses Mary and Joseph brought their new son Yeshua to the Temple in Jerusalem to present Him to the L-rd as it is written in the law of Moshe. They were exactly following the commandment set out in our portion today in Leviticus 12:1-4. We even have some idea of their economic situation by reading what type of offering they brought to the L-rd. They brought a pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons.
We can also see that the author of the gospel Luke was very familiar with the Torah commandments and wanted to make sure that the readers of his writings would see that everything had been done according to scripture.
One of my questions I asked this week was why do you think Luke went into such detail about what occurred following Yeshua’s birth while none of the other 3 gospel writers mentioned it? One obvious reason was, he was a doctor and maybe more qualified to explain what went on. He also was not Jewish but wanted to be sure it was understood that Yeshua and His family followed the law exactly. He wanted there to be no doubt that Yeshua was Jewish. He wanted there to be no room to argue this point. I think this was important considering the later history of the church and its opinion of the Jewish people. Even in our day some Palestinians have stated that Yeshua was a Palestinian.
This ceremony of purification that we read about in Luke was carried out after 33 days following the birth of a son. It was also to represent a dedication of the first born son to the L-rd. My purpose in going through this with you is to fortify us in our faith as Messianic believers today. We are in the unique position to emphasize the Jewishness of Yeshua and to give a fuller understanding of the Messiah. We can encourage others to not lose sight of His Jewishness. It is still important for people to grasp this truth. Without these truths we miss so much of who the Messiah is and who we are in Him.
Now, I want to move on to another topic that most of us have a hard time understanding. We have little or no contact with leprosy in our world today. Because of this we sometimes overlook the spiritual lessons found here in these verses and also in the Messianic scriptures.
To help us I want to look at the Haftorah reading for this Sabbath. It is found in II Kings 4:42-5:18. In this reading we read of a man who was the commander of the army of Syria. He is described in II Kings 5:1 as a “great and honorable man in the eyes of the king because by him the L-rd had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valor, but a leper.” This set the stage for a meeting between Naaman and the prophet Elisha. Naaman was a great man but he had a problem, a serious problem. This problem greatly limited his life. Much like what we read in our portion, leprosy was a disease that was a serious affliction. It separated the person from society, family and any contact with healthy people.
However, G-d was involved in this case. In II Kings 5:2, “And the Syrians had gone out on raids and had brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel. She waited on Naaman’s wife.” This young nameless girl had a solution for Naaman but she could not talk to him. However, she could talk to his wife. II Kings 5:3-4recounts what she said. Naaman’s wife related what the young unnamed Hebrew slave girl told her to her husband. Naaman went to the king and asked for a letter to the king of Israel, asking for assistance in allowing Naaman to visit Elisha the prophet and seek his help for healing.
When Naaman arrived at the house of Elisha, the prophet did not even come out to greet Naaman. II Kings 5:10-12 gives us a summary of the message Elisha sent to Naaman. Naaman was not impressed and left Elisha’s home in a huff. Elisha’s message directed him to go wash in the Jordan river seven times and he would be clean.
The Jordan was not a great river such as Naaman had in Syria. He passed the river on his way home and his servant said, we’re here, why not give it a try. Naaman listened to his advice and was healed.
My point in all this is to help us understand how G-d works. Many times G-d uses the small insignificant people to speak truth to the world. Here an unnamed slave girl put this entire story into play. She spoke what she believed and G-d honored it. We read in James 2:5-9 this exact point. We all must never discount the truth we have just because of who we appear to be to the world. G-d has a plan, a will for each of us. We are called by our faith to be a light. Never feel that the truth you possess is of little value.