Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - Lev 13
Lev 13 is all about leprosy: the disease is very contagious,
requires separation or quarantine, is never cured by natural means, originates
from within, is not manifest until puberty, grows gradually, and makes one
insensible to pain. It is a fitting "parable" of the "sin" that dwells in each
one of us.
"The principle of contamination recognised in this law was not
understood by societies for many hundreds of years after Israel were taught
about it: 'Among the physicians of classical antiquity we find no consistent
view of transmission of infection by contact. Indeed the whole idea of infection
was effectively absent from them, so that preventive measures based upon them
could not be developed. It was reserved for the Middle Ages to conceive serious
official measures against spread of epidemics. These measures ere constantly
derived from the leper ritual of the Bible with its fundamental concept of
isolation' (C. Singer and E.A. Underwood, 'A Short History of Medicine', 1962)"
(Stephen Palmer, Testimony 71:205).
Reading 2 - Psa 113:7,8
"He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the
ash heap; he seats them with princes, with the princes of their people" (Psa
Our spiritual privileges are of the highest order. "Among
princes" is the place of the most select society. "Truly our fellowship is with
the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ" (1Jo 1:3). There is no "high society"
like this! "We are a chosen generation, a peculiar people, a royal priesthood"
(1Pe 2:9). "We are come unto the general assembly and church of the firstborn,
whose names are written in heaven" (Heb 12:23). The saints have an audience in
the "court of heaven": princes have admission to royalty when common people must
stand afar off. "For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the
Father" (Eph 2:18). "Let us come boldly', says the apostle, 'to the throne of
the heavenly grace" (Heb 4:16).
Among princes there is abundant wealth, but what is the wealth
of princes compared with the riches of believers? for "all things are yours, and
ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's" (1Co 3:23). "He that spared not His own
Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give
us all things?" (Rom 8:32).
Princes have peculiar power. A prince of God has great
influence: he wields a ruler's scepter in his own domain; he sits with Jesus
upon his throne: "He hath made us kings and priests unto God, and we shall reign
for ever and ever" (Rev 5:10).
Princes have special honor. For what is human grandeur to
this, "He hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly
places in Christ Jesus" (Eph 2:6)? We share the honor of Christ, and compared
with this, earthly honors are not worth a thought. Communion with Jesus is a
richer gem than ever glittered in any imperial crown. Union with the Lord is a
crown of glory outshining all the blaze of imperial pomp and
Reading 3 - 2Co 5:20
"We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were
making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled
to God" (2Co 5:20).
Paul considered himself Christ's ambassador -- an authorized
representative of a sovereign. He speaks not in his own name but on behalf of
the ruler whose deputy he is, and his whole duty and responsibility is to
interpret that ruler's mind faithfully to those to whom he is sent. Paul used
this "ambassador" image twice -- both in connection with his preaching work (Eph
6:18-20; 2Co 5:18-20). Paul called himself an ambassador because he knew that,
when he proclaimed the gospel facts and promises and urged sinners to receive
the reconciliation God provided through His Son, he was declaring Christ's
message to the world. The figure of ambassadorship highlights the authority Paul
had, as representing his Lord, so long as he remained faithful to the terms of
his commission and said neither less nor more than he had been given to say.