Mark 1:40-45English Standard Version (ESV)
Jesus Cleanses a Leper
40 And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” 42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 43 And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, 44 and said to him,“See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” 45 But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.Accompanying John MacArthur sermon: Jesus Trades Places With a Leper
Accompanying David Legge sermon: The Touch of the Servant's Hand
Accompanying Robert Rayburn sermon: Healings and Healing
We saw Friday that Jesus' miracles were performed, not for the purpose of making sick people well, but to prove that He was who He said He was - the Son of God, and therefore, His message should be believed.
But this story, among others, does bring up an interesting point. Jesus could have chosen many ways to make His supernatural power known - but He did so in a way that helped people, because He was/is compassionate.
V41 says it - He was moved with pity or compassion.
Are we moved with pity or compassion to the plight of those around us? There are so many people that are hurting - are we moved?
And then one step further, does our compassion cause us to actually do something about it? Because Jesus did. He was moved by compassion, and He healed him, by touching him, something that man hadn't experienced in years. It's all well and good to feel compassion, but our compassion needs to have some hands and feet attached to it in order for it to do anybody any good.
It's interesting to note the ending of this passage. Jesus gave the man two commands - to show himself to the priest and to tell no. Why? Jesus didn't tell him, but it isn't difficult to figure out. First, showing himself to the priest would show them that Jesus was obedient to the ceremonial laws of the time, and it would be a proof to the priests of His deity which would force them to a crossroads of choice about Jesus and who they believed He was. And He did not want them man broadcasting the miracle because of the hysteria that would, and did, follow. The man, no matter how understandably, disobeyed, and it was a detriment to Jesus' ministry and to the ability of other people to be healed. Jesus' intention had been to go to all the towns, and now He would no longer be able to due to the mass hysteria that resulted, in part, from this man's disobedient testimony.
Are we guilty of the same thing? Has our disobedience been a detriment to what Jesus wanted to do in our lives? When He tells us to speak, do we remain silent? When He tells us to curb our tongue, do we lash out? When He tells us to go, to help, to give, to preach, to build up, to encourage, to contribute, to love - do we obey? Or do we, perhaps even with good intentions or understandable though unjustifiable reasons, disobey and thereby hinder the work of Christ?
Is it just me or is there a lot of toe stepping in this passage today?
MacArthur had another interesting comparison....
Jesus exchanges or trades places with the leper. The leper started in the wilderness in isolation and after meeting Jesus, was able to mingle in the city. Or Jesus started in the city after meeting the leper, was isolated to the wilderness. So Jesus trades places with a leper.
And I think that's a metaphor in closing for what He did at the cross, is it not? We are the spiritual lepers who lived in alienation and isolation from God. We met Him, we were brought into the presence of God in the Kingdom. But the only way we could ever be taken from our isolation and brought into the presence of God was if He left the presence of God and went Himself into isolation. And that's what He did on the cross because Jesus was forsaken, because Jesus was treated as an outcast we are accepted and welcomed into the presence of God.I am thankful for His compassion, for His action, for His love, for His willingness to endure isolation on my behalf. Will I act on that thankfulness with obedience?
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Mark 2:1-12
Toe-steppin', uh-huh, yep.
"It's all well and good to feel compassion, but our compassion needs to have some hands and feet attached to it in order for it to do anybody any good."
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