Leviticus 14:3–4: “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, then the priest shall command to take for him who is to be cleansed two living and clean birds, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop.”June 25th, 2016 by Pastor Ed in devotional
In this chapter we find the cleansing ceremony that had to be performed before a healed leper could return to normal society. A bird was killed in an earthen vessel over running water. The blood of that bird was applied to a second, living bird, as well as to cedar wood, scarlet fabric, and hyssop. The priest then sprinkled some of the blood onto the person who was healed from leprosy. The living bird was let go, and the blood spread from its wings as it flew over the land.
There is a clear comparison between the cleansing ceremony of a leper and Jesus Christ’s death on the cross, which served as the supreme sacrifice for sin. Jesus is the heavenly sacrifice just as the bird that died in the earthen vessel was an earthly sacrifice. The sacrificed bird remained clean because of the running water, and Jesus was without sin. The blood and water was then applied to the living bird, in the same way the sinner’s heart must be covered by Jesus’ shed blood, for without its application there is no redemption.
The cedar wood is a picture of the wooden cross Jesus was sacrificed on. Many believe that cross was probably made of cedar, as few other kinds of trees were available in Israel.
The hyssop is also connected to the sacrifice of Jesus. He was offered a drink from a hyssop branch while on the cross. King David wrote in Psalm 51:7, “purge me with hyssop,” probably meaning that he was as diseased as a leper and in need of cleansing.
Finally, after the cleansing ceremony with the birds, the leper was to wash his clothes and shave off all of his hair. He was starting over again as if he were a newborn baby, a clear picture of being born again.
“Thank you, Lord, for new life. Help us to live that life out well today.”