The leper typified a sinner; the healed leper that sinner repentant and believing; and the cleansed leper the believer in his peace with God, and his freedom of access to Him. Note:—
I. There was no cleansing apart from healing; so man cannot have any part in Christ who is not truly repentant—is not born of the Spirit.
II. Healing was not cleansing: regeneration is not justification. Be repentance ever so real, we still need the atoning blood. It was the cleansing, not the healing, that gave the leper his freedom of access.
III. The two birds typify our Lord’s death and resurrection, and also our death and resurrection in Him.—As the liberated was free of all the fields of air, so is the believer free for evermore in all the boundlessness of the love of God his Father.
IV. The dipping of the living bird in the other’s blood symbolises (a) the believer’s freedom from the curse of the law, and (b) the holiness of this resurrection life: it is consecrated by the blood of Christ.
V. The touching with blood of right ear, and thumb, and the great toe of the right foot gave still further and more solemn emphasis to the same truth; indeed, the mere fact that this lesson is thus taught twice over, is most significant of the absolute surrender which is but our ‘reasonable service.’
VI. The oil upon the blood—(not the blood upon the oil)—typifying that fulness of the Spirit by which alone the consecrated life is possible.
(1) ‘Some have not so keen an appreciation of Christ’s work for them as others, and they are represented by the poor man, who brought as much as he was able to get; but he must also pass through the same routine, for there is but one way for us all.’
(2) ‘Only Thou canst cleanse me, O Purity! Only Thou canst touch the foulness of my sin with healing efficacy, stay the mad riot of my blood, bid the hideous impulses depart, restore the torn and bleeding life. I fall at Thy feet. My tears run like rain. I can do nothing but beg for recovery. And at length—with what transports of joy!—I hear Thy tender words: “I will; be thou clean.” ’
(3) ‘Ceremonial uncleanness involves ceremonial guilt, and demands an atonement. So moral impurity involves moral guilt, which requires a propitiation. The uncleanness and the guilt mutually imply each other; yet they are totally distinct, and must be removed by totally different means. The Spirit of God by the truth of Revelation removes moral impurity; the Mediator, by His undertaking for the guilty, relieves him from the consequences of his guilt.… The symbols of purification and propitiation come together in the ceremonial connected with the leper’s re-entrance into communion with God. The water and the blood meet in the initial sacrifice; the oil and the blood are associated in the final one.’