(Mt. 8:3) Jesus breaking the law in touching a leper?

CLAIM: Jesus healed a leper by touching him. However, the Hebrew law stated that it is wrong to touch lepers. Leviticus 5:3 states, “If he touches human uncleanness, of whatever sort his uncleanness may be with which he becomes unclean, and it is hidden from him, and then he comes to know it, he will be guilty.” Did Jesus commit a sin by touching the leper?

RESPONSE: Jesus could have healed the leper with a word; he didn’t need to touch him. In verse 16, he “cast out the spirits with a word.” So why did he feel the need to touch the leper? The Pharisees were in the crowd, knowing what the law taught.

Of course, the purpose of the law was to quarantine an unclean person. Since Jesus was in no risk of being infected (because he is God), he was breaking the letter of the law, but not the spirit of the law. People weren’t supposed to touch lepers because the disease would be spread, but Jesus touched the man, so that the cure could be spread. Moreover, when Jesus came to establish the church, he replaced the ceremonial law (see “Tips for Interpreting OT Law”).