“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Command the people of Israel that they put out of the camp everyone who is leprous or has a discharge and everyone who is unclean through contact with the dead.'” – Numbers 5:1-2 (ESV)
When I first became a Christian, I listened to a sermon by Mark Driscoll and in it, he held up his copy of the Bible. “This book,” said Driscoll, “is all about Jesus.” Ok, sounds like an obvious statement, but it’s something I think back to often as I read through the Old Testament. It can be easy to forget the big picture when you’re reading through the long lists of laws and regulations in Leviticus and Numbers (as I am now). That’s something I’ve tried to keep aware of in all of my Bible reading – where is Jesus in this passage ?
Yesterday as I read through Numbers 5 and 6, I asked myself again, “What does this point to in the New Testament ?” I flipped over to a book I recently picked up called The Message of Numbers by Raymond Brown and soon realized what I was missing. The three conditions discussed in the above passage – leprosy, discharges, and uncleanness due to death – were three specific conditions that Jesus healed the people of in Luke 5 and 8. Brown quotes scholar Gordon Wenham in describing what Jesus had done in Luke and how it related back to the Old Testament: “In these ways he declared that those conditions which for centuries had separated even the elect people of God from God no longer mattered.”
I think this is just a good, simple reminder to us today to always be asking questions when we are reading the Scriptures.